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Six Castle Hotels to Be King & Queen

Maybe it’s because we binged-watched Bridgerton. Twice. Hello, Duke (you know exactly what we mean if you’ve even glanced at an episode). Or maybe it’s simply that we like big, baller, opulent places. With good drinks. Fancy canapés. Maybe a butler named Jeeves. Whatever — we are feeling summer this year. And we’re not talking pandemic summer. We mean full-on summering-in-Ireland summer. Or on-a-vineyard-in-France summer. Or in-search-of-the-Loch-Ness-monster summer. No matter the destination, there better be truffles. Here are six castle hotels, to make that happen.

Château de Redon

Though lesser known than the Loire Valley, Dordogne is home to more than 1,500 castles.  Hence its “the other château country” epithet. Many of the châteaux in Dordogne, including de Redon, were built during the High Renaissance. They feature arches, spiral staircases and manicured gardens, all pre-requisites for castle hotels.

Renovated in 2013, Château de Redon has an exterior built in the 15th century with a modern 21st-century interior. The eight guestrooms feature comfy beds and high-tech amenities, as well as century-old oak wood floors and beams. A large backyard with views of the valley and a heated saltwater pool add to the ambiance. All in all, if you’re in the neighborhood, this tucked-away castle hotel should is one to put on your list.

Ashford Castle

Named “Best of the Best” and one of Forbes’ five-star luxury stays, Ashford Castle is unlike any place you’ve ever stayed. This is one of the most special castle hotels in the world. The 800-year-old Irish castle has hosted the likes of King George V, Ronald Reagan and countless other notables over the course of its long and storied history. Not merely an exquisite castle hotel to spend the night, Ashford Castle boasts 350 acres of lush greenery.  It also has a golf course with breathtaking views of the countryside.

Though the interiors feature high-tech amenities, rooms are gilded in opulence with rich tapestries, thick curtains, candelabra and chandeliers. It makes you feel like part of the royalty that spent generations inside these walls. There’s a Kennedy Suite, named for the president, with views for days onto the untouched woodland.  Some places are just special, and if you can swing it, Ashford should be on your castle hotels goals list.

 

Adare Manor

Named “World’s Best” by Travel + Leisure, Adare Manor is one of Ireland’s best-known castle hotels. Newly renovated, the manor has maintained its Victorian era glamour.  Adare’s clientele is A-list, such as Bono, who makes regular visits to play golf and attend stay in the plush suites.

On property, there is Michelin-starred dining at the Oak Room and hot chocolate nightcaps. The nearby ruins and fishing and falconry top off the unique Adare experience. Although the architecture is centuries old and the activities decidedly old world, Adare provides you with a modern luxury.

Cos d’Estournel

Cos d’Estournel, located an hour from Bordeaux, is nestled among a collection of spectacular Renaissance architecture, and yet it stands a notch above the rest. In addition to the commitment to its roots, the château draws architectural inspiration from the founder’s love of India, reflected in the rooms’ tapestries, silks and overall aesthetic. In 2008, the château went under a dramatic renovation, giving it a newer, avant-garde edge. It’s a beautiful balance of old and new.  Cos d’Estournel is famous for its eponymous wine made in the on-site high-tech winery.

Glen Affric

When looking for an ideal place to escape to in the countryside, look no further than Scotland. It tops the list for many reasons, one being its gorgeous castles tucked in the hillsides. Many are museums, but some have been converted into hotels to give you a taste of true European aristocracy. However few will truly transform you into royalty like Glen Affric, which is one of the more unique castle hotels in Scotland. Owned by Pippa Middleton’s in-laws, Glen Affric is a 19th-century Victorian castle in the Highland region of Scotland. It’s about 15 minutes from Loch Ness. The stone fortress sits on acres of gorgeous wildlands.

The castle is for single occupancy only, because there’s room for only one king and queen. Guestrooms have regal four-poster beds, en suite bathrooms complete with soaking tubs.  Many have reading rooms with views onto the landscape. In the evening, enjoy a glass of wine in the iconic library or sit around the West Dock fire pit. The kitchen is fitted with modern amenities so you’ll feel at home as you cook for your family and friends.

Château de Ferrand

Like Cos d’Estournel, Château de Ferrand is most famous for its famous wine made in a 17th-century building. However, unlike d’Estournel, Château de Ferrand has undergone a near complete facelift. In 2018, it gained a completely modern aesthetic and new facilities. Owned by the Moët family, Château de Ferrand always has wine on the agenda. So a  night spent here includes gastronomic wine pairings.

Where other castle hotels pay homage to their roots in their interior design, Château de Ferrand is all new.  It has chic, ultra-luxe bedrooms that highlight modern, clean lines and colors. Beds are outfitted in white linens and rooms look out onto the vineyards and a vegetable patch. Though the château has a streamlined aesthetic, there is nothing minimal about the decadent food and wine experience.

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