by: José Berrocoso
Once upon a time, only royals and barons could call home to stunning castles and palaces. Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella got to sleep in castles. But now you can turn those fairy tales into your own reality by staying in a Castle Hotel.
From a family owned property to a castle used as location for an award-winning movie, medieval military architecture, bathrooms behind hidden walls, romantic turrets, murder mystery parties and the odd friendly ghost. Castles have long intrigued travelers, especially those who have no such royal history.
Across Europe, many castles have been transformed into hotels in the past years. Each grand estate offers something a little unique making them all worth consideration the next time you truly want to sleep like a King!
We’ve found five beautiful castle hotels with prices starting at less than $200 a night. Check them out and prepare to add a few new entries to your travel bucket list.
POSADA REAL CASTILLO DEL BUEN AMOR
WHERE: SALAMANCA, SPAIN
Truly impressive! Opened to the public in 2003, Castillo del Buen Amor is a beautiful inn surrounded by gardens and vineyards located in the middle of the Castilian countryside, two hours away from Madrid. A XV century castle that lives up to its name, ‘good love’, in every detail, in every room, in every corner.
The castle features seven living rooms full of family furniture, paintings and ornaments, a magnificent central courtyard, a mysterious library, an upstairs corridor surrounding an indoor patio, secret passageways, a tower with wraparound views, 41 stone-walled bedrooms… what else do you need to move to another era?
The restaurant, located in the old stables, offers regional cuisine with a Mediterranean twist. And the outdoor swimming pool is the perfect frame to relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
HOTEL SCHLOSS LEOPOLDSKRON
WHERE: SALZBURG, AUSTRIA.
With 55 rooms in the Meierhof, 12 suites in the historic palace and 2 townhouses, Schloss Leopoldskron is an exclusive and discreet hideaway just minutes from the Old Town of Salzburg. Built in 1736, and surrounded by 17 acres of manicured grounds, the castle is nestled by a small, idyllic lake and features majestic views over the mountains and the Hohensalzburg Fortress.
All guests of Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron enjoy the unique privilege of having breakfast in the elegant historic salons of the Schloss. Part of the further fascination is that the Schloss is not a museum, but instead its public areas, manicured garden and extensive park are truly ‘alive’ and open for guests to enjoy and explore during their stay.
Built as a family estate for the Prince Archbishop Leopold von Firmian in 1736, the Schloss, as it is popularly known, remained in the Archbishop’s family for nearly 100 years. In 1918 legendary theater business man Max Reinhardt purchased the Schloss and together with Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal, founded the Salzburg Festival there in 1920. In 1947 three Harvard students conceived the idea of organizing seminars for Europeans and Americans at the Schloss, resulting in the first Salzburg Global Seminar ‘session’. In 1964 the Schloss made it to the big screen when it was used for the filming of ‘The Sound of Music’.
WHERE: HERÁLEC, CZECH REPUBLIC.
Situated in the Vysocina region of the Czech Republic, this 13th century treasure is now a luxury five-star boutique hotel. Dominated by pristine and beautiful nature, the area is filled with dense forests, verdant pastures and stunning panoramas. The hotel itself is situated an hour’s drive from Prague and just a few kilometres from a major motorway that leads to the capital.
The chateau was transformed in 2004 into a family-friendly, yet luxurious 20-room retreat with a warm local atmosphere. It is decorated in a modern style that fits so well with the building. The attention to detail is fantastic, and the atmosphere is pure, calm and relaxing. Guests enjoy unrestricted access to a swimming pool set beneath medieval arches, a traditional Finnish herbal sauna and a steam room.
And when it comes to dining, the castle restaurant will transport you back in time as it’s situated in the oldest part of the building. Guests are served masterful replicas of ancient chalices from the time period.
WHERE: COPENHAGEN, DENMARK
A 30-minute drive along the coastline or an equally short train ride away is Kokkedal Castle, one of Denmark´s most exclusive castle hotels. It is everything you will associate with a real manor; a fairytale exterior, a stylish interior, an amazing location set amidst a rolling landscape with forest, sea, beach and open meadows in the heart of the royal North Zealand region.
With bohemian cristal chandeliers, gilded mirrors and Nina Campbell fabrics adorning the publics areas, Kokkedal Castle is an ideal spot for relaxation, dreams and unique experiences. It is about country life and laidback charm as well as enjoyment, pampering, intimacy and mindfulness.
The Danish castle offers a classic experience with a contemporary twist. It is an easygoing destination of Nordic living, one that enjoys a uniquely magnificent setting.
CASTELLO DI MONTERONE
WHERE: PERUGIA, ITALY.
When you look out from the terraces, which offer a unique view of Perugia and its valley, you will realize how rich the history of this land is and how little life has changed in this corner of Italy over the centuries. Castello di Monterone is ‘love at first sight’.
In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the castle was badly damaged during the civil war between the most prominent families of Perugia. The façade has been maintained, as have the interior details, including wooden staircases, bits of ceiling frescoes and more.
Spend some time inside the castle walls; the spectacular bar with stained glass windows, on-site restaurant serving local fare, and steam room and sauna should keep you happy. But make sure to get outside too. There´s an outdoor pool with views of the Umbrian countryside, well-maintained gardens for strolling and an accessible rooftop with 360-degree views of the bucolic landscape.