Why castle hotels? As children, we love to fall asleep with a bedtime story. Preferred are the fairytales, for their drop of magic. Dungeons and dragons, adventures and happy endings ensured a good night’s sleep, allowing us to take part to an even better turn of events in our dreams. Most stories end the same: a great celebration inside the king’s castle, drinks and dishes prepared for the astonishment of the guests. As children, we would have given anything to be in one of those castles.
This post goes out to those of you who preserved that wish into your adult life. Below you have 10 of the most beautiful castles that open their gates for a magical night’s stay, 10 castle hotels that provide a sense of wonder.
#1. Bohemian Thorngrove Manor Castle Hotel, Australia
Thnorngrove Manorin Australia is an idyllic castle which was turned into a luxurious hotel. Each year, thousands of guests are welcomed to discover the history of this architectural jewel.
This time you are not reading bedtime stories, you are part of one. Knights and fair damsels, fortified stone walls, dragons and dungeons add magic to the place, while you are enjoying the romantic atmosphere given by the French tapestries, silken tassels, antique furnishings, colorful hand painted centrally vaulted ceilings, a grand ornamental stone working fireplace and an ensuite spa bath feature.
There is no public places around this hotel. All of the areas of this hotel are private, making it great for a secret romantic escape. You have your own dining room and an enormous bedroom with the handcrafted bed-head, small windows that provide the needed lighting in the most subtle way and our favorite: the balcony that looks stolen from Romeo and Juliet’s story. This is clearly a luxury hotel, outstanding for its creative architecture and the marvelous way the artists were inspired both by contemporary art and the baroque style. This place steals your heart at the first sight, making you feel like it transcends time.
Designed with a sense of wonder, it provides unique engaging experiences for the soul. This romantic castle escape is „everything dreams and fairytales are made of”.
#2. Medieval Charm at Thornbury Castle, England
For over 900 years, this magical place has been hidden away from curious eyes. Placed near a small village, the Thornbury Gloucestershire is one of those rare castle hotels in England open to anyone who wants to live a unique experience. Gorgeous landscapes of fresh gardens, old medieval architecture and the overall feeling of peace and tranquility are only a few reasons why you should visit this part of England soon.
Dramatic events happen throughout the history but they could not ruin this castle. It belonged to Edward Stafford, the Duke of Buckingham. He got arrested for betrayal and lost the ownership of it for several generations of the royal family, until the castle was given back to Duke’s descendants. Today, its surroundings are peaceful and they offer a fresh breath, away from the hustle of the modern life. Comfortable beds, cozy fireplaces, a dining room placed right into the dungeon and the Tudor styled grand hall invites you to dance exactly how the royals did at their feasts.
If you get a chance to get a room, you should know that years before you, Henry VIII and his new bride, Anne Boleyn spent their honeymoon here, enjoying the vineyard and the delicious meals, made with fresh vegetables harvested from the unspoiled gardens around. Besides enjoying the view, you can fill up your time with a lot of activities: try croquet, have a go at the archery or get introduced into the world of falconry.
Another element that takes you back to life back in the golden days are the Tudor Gardens that surround the castles. Ladies dressed in the softest cashmere were holding sun umbrellas while watching the little prince riding his first horse. This property has forged an enviable reputation for uncompromising service and cuisine.
#3. Homey stay at Augill Castle, England
It is time to step back in time with this extraordinary Castle in the Upper Eden Valley. Centuries have passed, but this elegant building hasn’t changed a bit. Located in the open country, between the charming Yorkshire and the Lake district, this is the place to spend your weekend in a valuable manner. You will get the impression that it is Eden where you landed. After all, a castle is the best pick for people who want a taste of paradise. Rolling hills, meadows filled with colored flowers, the sound of rivers winding away are the ones who fill up the frame of what is called to be a perfect view.
Built in 1841, designed to be the country residence of Victorian gentlemen, you can only imagine that it provides maximum comfort. Fourteen bedrooms await new guests, being individually decorated. Inspired from the French architecture, the four poster bed is the star of each room. Hand carved wood is seen in every piece of furniture, oak floors match perfectly with the exquisite rugs and the bathrooms are so appealing that the baths take longer during your stay.
Breakfast and dinner are served in the Gothic blue dining room where evening meals become a can memorable occasion, especially when the house is full. Traditionally cooked lamb, beef and pork, supplied right from the house’s farm located just a mile away, as well as Yorkshire tasty cheeses and locally grown fruit and vegetables always feature on the innovative dinner menus. Their sausages and bacon are award-winning and the baked bread has the smell of a family bakery, where products are made with love and dedication.
Augill Castle is not just a hotel but a truly family friendly castle where parents can relax and kick off their shoes knowing their children are welcome and entertained.
#4. Acclaimed Irish hospitality at Ashford Castle
The magnificent Ashford Castle spreads over 350 acres and takes in views of Lough Corrib lake. Among the most shiny castle hostels in Ireland, this jewel dates back to 1228. A full house is always a joy, when all the 82 spectacular rooms host people who want to embrace the royal lifestyle for a few days. Visitors here will enjoy Irish hospitality on a grand scale.
Ashford is declared to be one of Ireland’s oldest castles. This true pride of Ireland was closed for renovation and reopened to the public only after spending 67 million euros on the process.
Ashford fits everyone’s fantasy when thinking of a medieval fortress. Breathtaking views, stories of ghosts, turrets and dungeons are exactly what one needs to keep the rivers of the imagination flowing. The rooms have a traditional design, keeping the original Irish design, yet beautifully restored. The added value were the luxurious features which provide extra comfort to the guests. Speaking about opulence, we have to mention the castle’s own private 350-acre estate, perfect for activities such as fly fishing, playing golf, horseback riding and many others.
To end the active hours, one can be spoiled in the treatment rooms or dine in one of the two restaurants, either George V Restaurant or the elegant Cullen’s at the Cottage.
The castle offers all guests a myriad of ways to enjoy the warm hospitality of Ireland. With its colorful 700 year history, guests can savor the wealth of long-lost eras filled with Irish culture throughout their stay, from the grand castle exterior to the richly decorated interior that speaks of centuries of care and love of fine craftsmanship.
#5. Sea Views from Ackergill Tower, Scotland
Ackergill Tower is a striking Scottish castle dating back to the 15th-century. The uncommon accommodation unit is situated just 3 meters away from the waters of Sinclair’s Bay . You can book individual rooms, or rent the entire tower building and enjoy living in one of UK’s most unspoiled locations.
No one is exactly sure when the Ackergill Tower was built. Looking back at the documentation, only the expression ”lands of Ackergill” were mentioned, with the emphasis on Sir Reginald de Cheyne and his lands (almost half of the Caithness county, where the castle is located, belonged to him). However, the architects believe that the tower was built around 1480.
Ackergill Tower is easily reachable from the Wick Airport, located nearby. This is a perfect venue for spending your holidays, hosting a wedding or celebrating a family event.
Character and history are the keywords defining the rooms of this unusual hotel. Each of them has its own story, ready to be discovered.
Modern life blends perfectly here with antique architecture. Built on a vineyard site, the castle looks like it was recently renovated, when in fact it was just beautifully preserved. A parking lot, Wi-fi connection and controllable heating are just a few of the comfortable features you will enjoy during your stay. Choose a date and allow yourselves to discover the peaceful home that spoils you like kings.
#6. Royal Atmosphere at Dornoch Castle, Scotland
Dornoch Castle Hotel lies in the historic town of Dornoch, opposite to the famous 12th century Dornoch Cathedral. Surrounded by private, beautiful gardens, this Scottish Castle has an air of grace. This could be the reason why it is such a popular wedding venue in the Scottish Highlands.
Every room has its own special theme and ambiance, each bringing out a piece of history. All bedrooms are tastefully decorated, with focus on comfort and tranquillity, but still having the aristocratic home atmosphere.
The Dornoch Castle Hotel has his very own Dornoch Distillery Company, producing an Organic Gin, very appreciated by the guests.
Among the outdoor activities you can enjoy here, the renowned Royal Dornoch Golf Club takes the lead. It is the world’s 3rd oldest golf course and proves to be both challenging and fun to all players. The course is situated along the shoreline with views of the stunning beach, and all within 10 minutes walking distance from the Castle.
Only an hour north, guests can enjoy a panoramic trip through the Scottish Highlands before settling in to enjoy a gourmet dining experience. The Castle’s restaurant has maintained exceptional work of chefs who work extremely hard making sure to incorporate all that the North of Scotland has to offer in a matter of taste. Ready to pack your bags?
#7. River Views at Burghotel Auf Schonburg
High up on a hill overlooking the Rhine river, close to where The Lorelei used to lure sailors onto the rocks, there is the Castle Hotel Auf Schoenburg, a middle-aged romantic building. Being one of the most expressive German castle hotels on the Rhine river, it is very intimate and genuine.
The castle was burned down in 1689 by French soldiers during the Palatinate wars. It remained in ruins for over 200 years until a German-American family had the heart and financial power to restore it.
Nowadays, a fancy hotel and restaurant opens its gates for numerous guests worldwide. Behind the ramparts and towers of Schönburg, people enjoy their breakfast while getting absorbed into following the river traffic. The view is amazing and is worth climbing the German hill for it.
Each of the high-end rooms features old-world, antique decor ranging from 19th-century stained-glass, bespoke fabrics, canopy beds, French tapestries and vaulted ceilings. Blending antiques with contemporary fittings sourced from worldwide collectors. Dramatic architecture, updated with modern conveniences – resonating with creative artistry.
There is no more ingenious fusion of the contemporary and the antique anywhere!
#8. Lost pirates of Parador de Cardona, Spain
Straight out of a fairytale, this majestic castle stands out to be unique. Stories surrounding the Parador de Cardona have gone from one generation to another. It is said that its tower, dating back to the 2nd century was the prison of Adeles, the daughter of Duke de Cardona. The reason she was kept here is that she fell in love with a leader of the Moors who converted her to his religion. To stop this love story, her brothers locked her down so she would never see him again.
Set beside the River Cardoner, Parador de Cardona offers the best views of the region. The castle retains all of its historical charm with its towers, walls and gothic elements preserved in all their glory. Its ”prison-like” appearance only adds to the mystery. Panoramic views of the town and the lands along the river are visible from every corner, making this a special accommodation experience.
With vaulted ceilings, stone walls and gorgeous courtyards, the decor blends in perfectly with the lifestyle of Spain’s ancestors. Bedrooms have charming canopy beds, designed to have unique Gothic features. The furniture is hand carved, having accents from the Catalan Medieval period and are highlighted by exquisite, rich fabrics to fill up the frame.
In order to have a better feeling of how it is to dine like a king, you should really enter the dining room and allow the chef to surprise you with the Catalan cooking. Some of his specialties have fascinating names: “Butifarra con mongetes” “Lomo de cerdo ahumada con ensalada”, or “Espinacas a la Catalan” which you don’t really need to know what they to make sure it is all very good and delicious.
Filled with incomparably beautiful spots and narrow side streets, Cordoba will surprise you at every step, At the inviting Parador de Cardona, you are offered a one-of-a-kind experience: tranquility, nature and history plus the delights of Catalan cuisine.
#9. Italian views at Castello di Pavone
Castello di Pavone is considered to be among of the most beautiful castles in Italy. Moreover, it is one of the few historical monuments where you can have freshly cooked meals in an in-house restaurant.
The Castle rises on the top of the village of Pavone, offering a lovely panorama of the mountains and the hills of Canavese and Valle d’Aosta. The rooms and the halls can be described as having charm and incommensurate beauty with majestic paintings and stylish furniture, guaranteeing romanticism and magic.
An aura of luck is covering this whole castle. Thanks to its history, people have created legends around it and they say it transmits love and prosperity to all those who spend a short period of time here. Nowadays, it received a new face, being restored by the Giodice familia, with a modern level of comfort.
Around the kitchen, beautiful aromas invite guests to eat all the painfully delicious dishes, filled with extraordinary flavours and prepared only with qualitative supplies. When you walk out of the aristocratic dining halls, take a walk between the solid wood chairs, the precious carpets that fill the floors, admire the exposed china, crystals and see how it all blends into the castle’s theme.
The powerful and fascinating walls around the castle give a feeling of protection, within an oasis of peace and serenity. Hidden behind the walls is a beautiful park that nests rare plants, evergreens and the Fountain of Mysteries, designed to increase guest’s fascination.
#10. Restored Frescoes at Château de Bagnols, France
This French castle hotel lies in heart of the Beaujolais, reigning over the land. Château de Bagnols is a historical 800 years old monument surrounded by vines and gardens that heard stories and witnessed stolen kisses.
The walls host stylish rooms, each having their own design, adapted to its history. Mural paintings and restored furniture can be seen at each step as well as unique carvings for the beds in each room. The whole place can steal your heart easily, but two particular areas stand out. The Paradise Suites have an arched ceiling and frescoes dating from the 17th century, where a chapel used to be. Secondly, Les Seigneurs d’Albon room has a circular bathroom adapted to the existing tower architecture.
The Salle des Cardes is serving tasty cuisine and French specialities, mixed up with candle light decor for the romantics. In this area of the castle, the largest gothic chimney of France can be found and admired, blending perfectly with the surroundings. Your dinners will consist mostly out of traditional food with a contemporary twist. The chefs are encouraged to mix up ingredients since they are inspired by the abundant local market. Hand-caught fish is a common dish, mixed up with all sorts of delicious cheese.
During summer, the outdoor swimming pool is heated and quite inviting. If the weather does not allow it, there is an indoor pool which is also appealing. Book worms may choose from the royal library and romantics can borrow a bicycle to visit the gardens and discover the surrounding views.
From castle hotels in Ireland and Germany, all the way to Australia, we hope you’ve enjoyed this immersion into royal architecture. Stay tuned for more uncommon accommodation units soon to be presented on Tourism on the Edge and feel free to help out with suggestions by living a comment below or on our Facebook page.