Many of us have a fascination with medieval castles, wanting to walk the very halls that prominent lords and ladies once did.
In the following castles, palaces and luxe hotels, not only can you walk the halls — you can also sleep in them. Relax in a tower room furnished with period antiques, try your hand at traditional sports such as falconry and archery, or peek out the window at the same sweeping views kings and queens have savored.
Read on to discover nine places to sleep like royalty on your next vacation.
1. Scotland: Auchen Castle Hotel
Auchen Castle in Beattock, Scotland, is so ancient that no one is quite sure who built it and when. It’s believed to date back to 1220; King Robert the Bruce was likely a frequent guest of the noble family who owned it.
Located on a country estate covered with lush woods and meandering gardens, the castle hotel specializes in falconry programs and has hosted many royals and celebrities, including the Beatles.
2. Morocco: La Mamounia
La Mamounia in Marrakesh is undeniably chic, yet it perfectly blends the old with the new in its guestrooms, which feature luxurious antique furnishings and decor. For a splurge you can rent an entire riad, or traditional Moroccan villa, in La Mamounia’s gardens. There are four restaurants on site.
Once the palace of a sultan’s son, La Mamounia dates back to 1923 and was a beloved retreat of Winston Churchill after WWII.
3. Canada: Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac
Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac is a hilltop beacon in Quebec City, commanding views of the Old City below. This beautiful hotel features 611 guestrooms and suites (many facing Old Quebec City or the St. Lawrence River), a deluxe spa, several restaurants, and a wine and cheese bar.
The hotel was built in the late 19th century for the elite who traveled via the Canadian Pacific Railway. Famous guests have included everyone from Queen Elizabeth and Princess Grace to Alfred Hitchcock and Ronald Reagan.
4. Ireland: Ashford Castle
Ashford Castle isn’t just a castle hotel — it’s a destination resort, stretching across 350 acres in County Mayo, Ireland. Guests can stay in regal rooms, some with four-poster beds, or opt for the new lakeside cottages (complete with butler service). Activities range from falconry and archery to boating and horseback riding.
While much of the castle looks modern, it actually dates back to 1228 and has been home to numerous lords and ladies, including the Guinness family.
5. Malta: Xara Palace
Xara Palace is the regal centerpiece of Mdina, a fortified medieval city in Malta. While the palace dates back to the 17th century, when it housed a prominent noble family, the five-star hotel is fairly new, having opened in 1999.
Xara Palace features just 17 luxurious suites that overlook the countryside; some rooms even have terraces with private Jacuzzis. The hotel also offers an outdoor pool and three exquisite dining options. Be sure to try de Mondion, which serves up innovative dishes and panoramic views alfresco.
6. India: Neemrana Fort Palace
Tucked into a mountain near Delhi, Neemrana Fort Palace is surrounded by lush vegetation and lovely views. Dating back to 1464, the fort served as the capital (one of three) for the descendants of the warrior king Prithviraj Chauhan III.
The fortress deteriorated over time but was brought back to its original grandeur (and then some) in 1991. Today, it features grand suites with antique furnishings, two pools and a holistic spa. It also touts the first zipline in India.
7. Spain: Parador de Oropesa
Spain’s Parador de Oropesa once housed the wealthy Alvarez de Toledo family, as well as soldiers, nobles and prominent religious figures. It’s been a hotel since 1930, the first in the Spanish government’s popular parador program.
Surrounded by greenery, the hotel has a lovely outdoor pool and terrace from which to enjoy the mountain views, with rooms also providing pretty vistas. An on-site restaurant serves up traditional local cuisine.
8. Australia: Longitude 131
Longitude 131 is a modern castle for today’s royalty — and by castle, we mean “glamping” lodge — with recent guests including William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
The upscale property features 15 “tents” (pavilions with glass walls) overlooking the famous Uluru, or Ayers Rock, in Australia’s Northern Territory. You’ll feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere, but there’s really no need to go anywhere else; on site are a gourmet restaurant, a spa and a view that never gets old.
9. Wales: Ruthin Castle
Ruthin Castle was built for England’s King Edward I in 1277 as a thank-you gift for his leadership during an invasion of North Wales. The castle has seen many changes over the years, even serving as a clinic for those with inexplicable diseases in the early 1920s before becoming a full-service hotel in the 1960s. Prince Charles is one of the castle’s more famous past guests.
The hotel features deluxe rooms and suites, the latter of which are individually decorated and named after royalty. For an extra special treat, book a stay in the Prince of Wales Suite, which sprawls across an entire tower floor. The castle hotel also has a day spa and hosts medieval feasts a few times a month.
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–written by Amanda Geronikos Norcross
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