Going on an overseas holiday, wouldn’t you love to spend some time in historic castles “” with staff and chefs should you so desire? I guess we can all only dream!
Here’s 20 of the grandest ones we could find!
Where: Mayo-Galway, Ireland
Once owned by the Guinness family, the Ashford Castle of County Mayo, Ireland, whose oldest parts date to 1228, was home base for director John Ford while he was filming The Quiet Man. This huge palace, which has expanded over the centuries, was originally built within the perimeter of a Monastic site by the House of Burke. It was later passed on in 1589 to Sir Richard Bingham after a truce agreement and a fortified enclave was added. Dominick Browne received the huge estate in a Royal Grant in 1670 and 1715, a 17th-century French chateau was constructed as a hunting lodge. In 1852, two huge Victorian extensions were added as well as new roads and thousands of trees. The Ashford Castle is now a luxury 5-star hotel that has an overlooking view of the Lough Corrib Lake and 350 acres of parkland.
Where: Castiglione d’Orcia, Italy
This 13th-century castle is not exactly the easiest to get to, as it sits on top of a hill requiring a three-mile drive from the main road. However, the effort is all worth it because guests are rewarded with comfort and solitude as well as the most breathtaking views of vineyards and orchards owned and operated by the Piccolomini family. The family currently live in the castle proper, but their rustic guest rooms and apartments are available for tourists. Aside from being treated like royalty, guests also get the chance to purchase the extra-virgin olive oil produced from the orchards as well as the vinsanto, which is a desert wine made using the white grapes from the vineyards.
Where: Trentino, Italy
For the most authentic medieval castle experience, head on to the Castel Pergine, which is located right on top of a hill and with the best views of the mountains of the western Dolomites. This 13th-century castle was built on an important Roman road and has not changed much since then. Still, it offers modest yet comfortable rooms and sumptuous dinners at their restaurant. The castle is usually the best place to stay when winter skiing in the Dolomites but summer time is also a great time to head out. You can choose to hike, bike or even go on horseback and local market tours during the warmer months. Rates start at 68â‚¬ ($100) half-board per person.
Where: Bourniquel, France
This beautiful property has quite the history being once the dwelling place of the Counts of Saint-Exupery. It is strategically located in the middle of a hundred-acre property full of woodlands and meadows. You can stay and use any of the five bedrooms and bathrooms in the castle, and you can ask for the assistance of the on-site staff if you do not feel like cooking. The chateau also has an outdoor pool where you can enjoy privacy, or you could also join tours being offered nearby.
Where: Loir-et-Cher, France
Located in the Western Loire, this romantic chÃ¢teau was first built as a private residence in 1854 and was known as “Petit Chambord.” Even though it retains its authentic 19th century design outside, inside is equipped with all modern amenities. Each guest is also provided with lush robes, slippers, and an en-suite bathroom, each room uniquely decorated and furnished with genuine antiques including a 14-ft tall hand-carved oak bed! To complete the guests’ 19th century experience, dinner is also offered at the chÃ¢teau, which includes wine, of course.