Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.
Today (April 9, 2017): Top 10 world’s best castle & palace hotels.
All around our beautiful planet, historic manors, lavish palaces and medieval castles have been renovated and transformed into some of the world’s most astonishing luxury hotels. Castle hotels are so popular – particularly among travelers from the Middle East and Asia – that some have even been built from scratch with the sole purpose to please travelers in search of a fairytale getaway. Even just a one night stay in any of these fabulous palaces and castles will make you feel like the kings, queens, emperors and sultans who once laid their heads there. I hereby present you my top 10 list of the world’s most magnificent castle and palace hotels.
There is more information below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Share your favorite castle or palace hotel in the comments section, or take my poll below.
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10. INVERLOCHY CASTLE HOTEL, SCOTLAND
Inverlochy is Scotland’s finest luxury hotel and restaurant uniquely located amongst the glens, lochs and mountains of the West Highlands of Scotland. During a trip to Balmoral in 1873, Queen Victoria spent a week at Inverlochy sketching and painting where she wrote in her diaries ‘I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot’. Each of the 17 bedrooms, all with private bathroom, have their own individual design and character, along with splendid views of the grounds and surrounding mountains. Dining is in any of the castle’s three dining rooms, each decorated with period and elaborate furniture presented as gifts to Inverlochy Castle from the King of Norway, creating a unique experience in unrivalled surroundings.
- Hotel website: Inverlochy Castle Hotel
- Tip: get complimentary VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, and a choice of luxury picnic including a half bottle of wine or a full afternoon tea including a glass of champagne once during your stay).
9. UMAID BHAWAN PALACE JODHPUR, INDIA
Perched high above the desert capital of Jodhpur, Umaid Bhawan Palace is the last of the great palaces of India turned into a luxury heritage hotel that will leave you spellbound. The Palace was built, between 1928 and 1943, for H.H. Maharaja Umaid Singh Ji, who had benevolently commissioned a new palace in 1923 to replace Mehrangarh Fort as the symbol of a new Jodhpur and to give employment to the people of Marwar during the period’s great droughts and famines. Set amidst 26 acres of lush gardens, with dancing peacocks and a subterranean Zodiac Pool, the luxury five-star Taj heritage hotel offers 64 utterly breathtaking Art Deco- style rooms and suites. The lavish interiors with gilt furniture and elegant artwork follow the Art Deco style, complemented by the exotic murals of the self-exiled Polish artist Stefan Norblin.
- Hotel website: Umaid Bhawan Palace
- Tip: get complimentary VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, and one lunch or dinner for two).
8. THE EMIRATES PALACE, ABU DHABI, UAE
The Emirates Palace was created with the aim of showcasing Arabian culture. It is located on 1.3 km of private beach, amidst 85 hectares of lawns and gardens, and features no less than 114 domes, some of them 80 meters high. Abu Dhabi’s famous Corniche runs from here all the way north. The Emirates Palace is the second most expensive hotel ever built, only surpassed by Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. The hotel also had higher construction costs compared to the Burj Al Arab in neighbouring Dubai. The hotel has 394 accommodations, 302 of which are rooms and the remainder are suites, all of them furnished in gold and marble. The hotel is managed by Kempinski.
- Hotel website: The Emirates Palace
- Tip: get complimentary VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, and $100 USD resort credit).
7. THE CASTLE HOTEL, DALIAN, CHINA
Managed by Marriott’s The Luxury Collection, The Castle Hotel commands an imposing presence as a palatial Bavarian-style castle set amid lush foliage on Lotus Mountain in Dalian, Northeast China. Overlooking Xinghai Square and the Yellow Sea, the hotel offers 292 luxurious guest rooms and suites as well as 67 residences, offering stunning ocean views with meticulous interior designs. Reimagined by HBA Interior Design, the hotel boasts an opulent, contemporary design where each detail – from the wall decorations and furniture to the ornaments and art collections – tells a story. Following the hotel’s extensive renovation, the exterior of the hotel remains true to the original European-inspired architecture with hand-selected stones gracing the façade of the castle.
6. DROMOLAND CASTLE, IRELAND
Dromoland Castle – one of Ireland’s finest castle hotels – was once thehome of the O’Briens of Dromoland who were the Kings of Thomond and whose lineage goes back 1,000 years to Brian Boru, the only High King of Ireland. Here, guests descend grand staircases under glittering antique chandeliers, meander through elegant hallways and beautifully furnished state rooms, and luxuriate in plush, sink-in sofas in front of large, ornate fireplaces with blazing log fires. Dromoland Castle offers its guests deluxe accommodations and the experience of living like landed gentry, surrounded by breathtaking scenery, absolute luxury and exceptional service.
- Hotel website: Dromoland Castle
- Tip: get complimentary VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, and a one way or roundtrip airport transfer to Shannon International Airport).
5. HOTEL DE LA CITE CARCASSONNE – MGALLERY BY SOFITEL, FRANCE
The walled city of Carcassonne stands high on a hill above the River Aude, overlooking the valley of Laurageais and the lush Minervois vineyards. It is Europe’s largest fortified citadel, each stone a mute witness to its romantic past. Standing between two historic landmarks, the Roman Chateau Comtal and the Gothic Basilica of Saint-Nazaire, the Hotel de la Cite is set in its own glorious gardens. Each of its 60 rooms and suites is individually furnished and decorated in traditional style – matched by modern comfort, and all rooms feature the most up to date facilities including air conditioning, sound-proofing, direct dial telephone and television. The redecoration of the hotel has been coordinated by the celebrated designers Gerard Gallet and Jean-Michel Ley.
4. CASTELLO BANFI – IL BORGO, TUSCANY, ITALY
This ancient stone hamlet rose in the 1700s under the nurturing shade and protective walls and towers of Castello di Poggio alle Mura and served as the dwelling of farmers who toiled for the noble landowners. Today is has been re-styled into the luxurious rooms and suites of this crown jewel of Tuscan hospitality. At Castello Banfi – Il Borgo you will find a refined and exclusive atmosphere where you can relax immersed in the Tuscan countryside, in one of its most historic, evocative and best preserved sites. The hotel offers 9 rooms and 5 suites, each different in dimension, position and decorations, but all endowed with carefully selected furniture, fabrics, and luxury accoutrements. Since Castello Banfi – il Borgo is set on top of a hill, all rooms enjoy a spectacular view onto the surrounding valleys with their constellation of noble vineyards.
- Hotel website: Castello Banfi – Il Borgo
- Tip: get complimentary VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, bottle of Cuvée Aurora Rosé in room upon arrival, and a two course lunch paired to Castello Banfi wines).
3. CHATEAU SAINT-MARTIN & SPA, COTE D’AZUR, FRANCE
Chateau Saint Martin & Spa – member of the prestigious Oetker Collection – sits on 13 hectares (approximately 32 acres) of a rugged hillside and overlooks the medieval village of St.-Paul-de-Vence. The blue Mediterranean can be seen in the distance, so if you’re looking for a romantic and private place to stay along the Riviera look no further. The property dates back to 1115, when the Knights Templar were granted the land by the Count of Provence. Chateau Saint Martin was built in 1936, but part of the Templar castle—a battered wall and the remnants of a drawbridge—stands as a potent reminder of this parcel’s rich history. All the guestrooms have exquisitely refined interiors, with the owner’s personal attention to detail and there are fabulous views over the sweep of the Côte d’Azur from Nice to Cannes.
- Hotel website: Chateau Saint-Martin & Spa
- Tip: get complimentary VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, and $100 USD spa credit).
2. ASHFORD CASTLE, IRELAND
Unrivalled service and five star luxury await at the magnificent five star Ashford Castle, part of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection and a member of Leading Hotels of the World. Situated in a spectacular 350 acre estate on the picturesque shores of Lough Corrib, the castle dates back to 1228 and features splendid interiors brimming with antique furniture, fine fabrics and unique features at every turn. With 82 spectacular rooms, suites and the Hideaway Cottage, a wealth of activities and plenty of thoughtful touches, guests will enjoy acclaimed Irish hospitality on a grand scale. From fine dining to a wealth of activities on the doorstep, a stay at Ashford Castle is perfect for romantic breaks, family escapes and elegant private events.
- Hotel website: Ashford Castle
- Tip: get complimentary VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
1. TAJ LAKE PALACE, UDAIPUR, INDIA
The Taj Lake Palace is a marble fantasy that floats magically on the still blue waters of Lake Pichola. The hotel has 83 centrally air-conditioned rooms including 17 suites, some of which are breathtakingly beautiful. It was built in 1746 as the pleasure palace of Maharana Jagat Singh II. Restored to its pristine glory, this spectacular palace became world-renowned when the James Bond film ‘Octopussy’ was filmed at it. This heritage hotel has 66 luxurious rooms and 17 grand suites. Its location on an island in the midst of a lake affords every room breathtaking views of the neighbouring City Palace, Aravalli Hills, Machla Magra Hills and Jag Mandir. Probably the most romantic hotel in the world, this 262-year old palace offers guests a unique blend of serenity and opulence.
- Hotel website: Taj Lake Palace
- Other accolades: Taj Lake Palace features in my top 10 list of luxury hotels made famous by movies.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, and one complimentary lunch or dinner ).
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