You don't have to be royalty to live in a castle -- at least for a few nights. These 10 castles offer the royal experience for surprisingly low prices.
Live like royalty, at least for a night, by staying at a castle hotel. Along with history, the stately lodgings come with towers, turrets, secluded gardens, plus panoramic views of the countryside. Most feature noted restaurants.
TripAdvisor’s recently released list of its reviewers’ top 10 castle hotels include three in Italy, two in Ireland, and one each in Scotland, Germany, England, South Africa, and the Czech Republic.
Visit in the off-season and a stay won’t cost a king’s ransom. At these properties, “…guests can surround themselves in Old World elegance…”, says Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications for TripAdvisor. “With nightly rates on TripAdvisor starting at under $200 during the coming months, travelers can book an autumnal escape without breaking the bank.”
Here are TripAdvisor’s princely picks along with their average rates for the least expensive months to visit.
1. Fonab Castle Hotel, Pitlochry, Scotland. The baronial castle (see image, left) on Loch Faskally, Perthshire, offers 26 rooms, divided into “classic castle” or “modern woodland.” November rates average $378 per night.
2. Castle Hotel Auf Schoenburg, Oberwesel, Germany. Destroyed by French soldiers in 1689, the castle (at right) was restored in 1914 and decades later converted to a 24-room hotel. Ask if you can climb the prison tower, then relax in the gardens overlooking the Rhine River. December rates average $174 per night.
3. Hotel Castello di Sinio, Sinio, Italy. The 12th century fortress offers 14 guest rooms combines comfortable décor and modern amenities within centuries-old walls. Chef Denise Pardini, who grew up in the US learning Italian cooking from her grandmother, calls her cuisine “an imaginative but unpretentious take on cucina Piemonte.” December rates average $260 per night.
4. Castello di Petroia, Gubbio, Italy. Antiques and 18th century paintings adorn the hotel which offers guests panoramic views of the Umbrian countryside. November rates average $153.
5. Castello di Monterone, Perugia, Italy. Started as a military stronghold in the 13th century, the 18 room property offers an outdoor swimming pool and restaurant known for its homemade pasta. November rates average $135.
6. Rowton Castle, Shropshire, England. Situated on 17 acres, the nearly 800-year-old castle offers 19 guest rooms. Seven of these are large and have four-poster beds. The rest of the rooms, while smaller, feature antiques and comfortable pieces. The property specializes in castle weddings. November and December rates average $124.
7. Castle in Clarens, Clarens, South Africa. Not a historical castle, the Castle in Clarens takes its design from the fairytales that feature princesses locked in towers. One can imagine Rapunzel looking out a small window. The tower offers two bedrooms. November rates average $155.
8. Chateau Heralec, Heralec, Czech Republic. This 13th-century hotel was confiscated by the government in 1945 and turned into a textile factory. The restored property features contemporary décor and contains the first L’Occitane Spa in the Czech Republic. December rates average $219.
9. Ashford Castle, Cong, Ireland. Dating to 1228, Ashford, situated on 350 acres, offers 82 guest rooms. The castle’s recently completed multi-million dollar refurbishment returns the castle to a state of grandeur. Falconry, horseback riding and shooting clays are among the princely pursuits on property. November rates average $270.
10. Castle Durrow, County Laois, Ireland. Located an hour from Dublin, Castle Durrow dates to 1716 and offers lovely gardens. (Image at the top of this page) The castle specializes in weddings. November and December rates average $195.
Have you ever stayed at a castle? Would you consider it? What other unconventional lodgings have you stayed at? Answer in the comments or connect with me on Twitter, @familyitrips.