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Staying in a great hotel can make you feel very important. But staying in a castle hotel can make you feel like a royal!
Many castles that have stood for centuries and once housed the VIPs of their eras now serve as luxury hotels, complete with room service, spas, and more. The best ones conserve their rich history and heritage, combining antiquity with modern comforts and amenities. Why stay in an ordinary hotel when your accommodation can be such an interesting destination itself?
As you might imagine, Europe is where you’ll find most of these fascinating properties, thanks to its abundance of medieval castles and historic manors from centuries past. However, there are castle hotels around the world – and we’ve put together a list of some of the best.
Read on to see some of the historic castles across the globe that now welcome overnight guests. We’re also including some of the great things to do around each of them. Enjoy the trip, your Majesty!
- The World’s Best Castle Hotels
- 1. Thornbury Castle Hotel & Restaurant
- 2. Dromoland Castle & Hotel
- 3. Inverlochy Castle Hotel
- 4. Ashford Castle
- 5. Rosewood Schloss Fuschl
- 6. Amberley Castle
- 7. Grotta Giusti Thermal Spa Resort, an Autograph Collection Hotel
- 8. Langley Castle Hotel
- 9. Castle Hotel & Spa
- 10. Mission Inn Hotel & Spa
- 11. Landoll’s Mohican Castle
- 12. Landgoed Kasteel Oud Poelgeest
- 13. Château de Saint-Loup-sur-Thouet
- Where are the top castle hotels in the world located?
- What are the absolute best castles in the world to stay in?
- Are there any luxury castle hotels near London?
- How many nights should you spend in a castle hotel?
The World’s Best Castle Hotels
1. Thornbury Castle Hotel & Restaurant
Address: Castle St, Thornbury, Bristol, South Gloucestershire, BS35 1HH, England, United Kingdom
Thornbury Castle is one of England’s most historic and fascinating accommodations. The estate has British aristocratic history as far back as the year 1088, but the actual castle dates to the early 1500s, when it was built by Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham. Shortly after construction, he was beheaded for treason for plotting to overthrow King Henry VIII, who took possession of the castle.
The king and his queen at the time, Anne Boleyn, wandered the very castle grounds that ordinary guests can stay in today. This rich history is maintained in the hotel’s antique furniture, like four-poster beds and heavy wooden doors. Traditional afternoon tea with finger sandwiches is served in the award-winning fine dining restaurant, and the beautiful grounds and private gardens are meticulously maintained.
The staff can arrange countryside activities like clay shooting, archery, croquet, and falconry for guests. The castle’s location just outside Bristol and near the border with South Wales also makes for easy access to attractions like Aerospace Bristol, Stonehenge, and beautiful nature hikes.
See Related: Beautiful Villages in England to Visit
2. Dromoland Castle & Hotel
Address: Dromoland, Newmarket on Fergus, Co. Clare, V95 ATD3, Ireland
The Emerald Isle has its fair share of centuries-old castles, too, like the Dromoland Castle & Hotel in County Clare. This medieval castle hotel is the ancestral home of the O’Briens of Dromoland, whose lineage can be traced back to one of the last High Kings of Ireland and who have been welcoming guests to their 500-acre estate since the 16th Century.
In the 1960s, the entire castle was transformed into a luxury escape while carefully preserving its heritage. Guest rooms were built with lavish interiors and modern comforts, a spa was added with an indoor pool, and prestigious executive chefs crafted dining menus. While all rooms are of exceptional quality, the top suites have touches like four-poster beds and ornate décor that feels like an Irish royal personally picked them out.
The hotel has a beautiful golf course and activities like clay shooting on-site, but this is the perfect location to explore western Ireland from. The stunning views of the Cliffs of Moher and the Ring of Kerry are on this side of the island.
See Related: Ireland’s Best Coastal Towns to Visit
3. Inverlochy Castle Hotel
Address: Torlundy, Fort William PH33 6SN, Scotland, United Kingdom
Tucked in the hills of the Scottish Highlands is the Inverlochy Castle Hotel, which is relatively young by European standards – it was originally built in 1863! Still, this castle hotel is steeped in history, as Queen Victoria stayed here for a week in 1873 to do some painting and drawing. She wrote that she “never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot.”
Therefore, this castle has become a local favorite for romantic breaks in the beautiful countryside of Scotland. There are just 17 guest rooms, each unique, with classic furnishings, such as claw-foot bathtubs or canopied beds. Seasgair Restaurant’s tasting menu is highly acclaimed, and gentlemen should be aware that a jacket is required.
Outdoor activities are aplenty at this small luxury hotel. Fishing on the locks, hiking or horseback riding through the Highlands, and even climbing on Ben Nevis are within minutes of the property. Plus, the mysterious (and beautiful) Loch Ness is less than an hour away by car – take a sightseeing cruise and see if you can spot a monster.
See Related: Visiting Scotland’s Iconic Eilean Donan Castle
4. Ashford Castle
Address: Ashford Castle Dr, Leaf Island, Cong, Co. Mayo, Ireland
The 350-acre estate that hosts Ashford Castle just might be situated on one of the most beautiful spots in County Mayo, along a quiet bank of Lough Corrib and among endless greenery. Besides its spectacular view, this 800-year-old castle has hosted royalty and presidents, including King George V and Ronald Regan.
It has changed hands over the centuries, including ownership by the prominent Guinness family in the 1800s before its conversion to a hotel in the 1900s. Since then, it has continuously progressed in its prestige, winning awards as one of the best hotels in Ireland and all of Europe in recent years. Amenities include a stunning indoor pool and spa, a luxury cinema, and even a falconry school.
While the latter activity is highly recommended, other ways to fill your time at this castle include playing on the lovely golf course and cruising on Lough Corrib. The lake produces some excellent brown trout – guided fly fishing tours are available.
See Related: Best Cheap Castle Hotels in Ireland
5. Rosewood Schloss Fuschl
Address: Schloss-Straße 4, 5322 Hof bei Salzburg, Austria
In my opinion, Schloss Fuschl is one of the best castle hotels in Europe, and I have visited on every occasion I’ve gotten for the last several years. This luxury hotel is in the Austrian Alps, just 20 minutes from Salzburg, on the banks of the insanely blue waters of Lake Fuschl.
You might feel like a von Trapp staying at this place (even though the real von Trapps live in Stowe, Vermont), and know that you are well and truly in Sound of Music country. So lean into it and book a spot on one of the many Sound of Music tours and see some of the most beautiful sites in the Salzburg area. For further royal treatment, make sure you also stop by the enormous Hohensalzburg Fortress and attend a Mozart concert and fancy dinner!
Anyway, back to Schloss Fuschl. The castle was built around the year 1450 by Austrian aristocrats who used it as a hunting lodge, undergoing major repairs and restorations to become a hotel in the 1950s.
My most recent stay was in a tower room in the actual castle, which offers panoramic views of the lake and a trip back in time; there are rooms in a newer building and lakeside cabins as well. The spa, pool, and lakeside sundeck are pure tranquility.
While this resort was most recently a Luxury Collection property, it is currently closed for renovations and is to be reopened as a Rosewood Hotel. You can monitor the hotel website for updated opening dates, but for now, I recommend staying at the Arabella Jaghdof Resort just up the hill. It’s also a very romantic hotel where you’ll get a private balcony to enjoy the lake views, and the restaurant and indoor pool are also excellent.
See Related: Best Castle Hotels in Austria
6. Amberley Castle
Address: Church St, Amberley, Arundel BN18 9LT, England, United Kingdom
If you’re looking for castle hotels near London, Amberley Castle is just over 2 hours south of the city and less than an hour from Gatwick Airport. The castle originated as a hunting lodge for bishops during the 12th Century, growing in size and fortification as a manor house and changing hands over the eras until being converted to a hotel just recently in 1989.
There are just 19 guest rooms in Amberley Castle, making for an intimate atmosphere that never feels crowded. Activities on-site include an 18-hole putting course, croquet, tennis, and 12 acres of walled gardens to explore. The restaurant’s dining rooms are over 900 years old and maintain their antiquity.
Outside the resort, visitors can explore the quaint English village of Amberley or go further into the countryside of West Sussex. South Downs National Park and the stunning white cliffs of Seven Sisters are within easy reach.
See Related: How to Take a Day Trip from London to Stonehenge
7. Grotta Giusti Thermal Spa Resort, an Autograph Collection Hotel
Address: Via della Grotta Giusti, 1411, 51015 Monsummano Terme PT, Italy
My wife and I discovered this castle hotel in Italy a few years ago on a trip for our first anniversary, and we can’t stop returning. Grotta Giusti is a 19th Century estate that belonged to Italian poet Giuseppe Giusti, located in the Tuscan hills between Florence and Pisa.
In the mid-1800s, laborers broke through rock and discovered a vast cave network flooded with warm thermal water. The steam seemed to have healing properties, and people flocked from all over to bask in the warm water and air in search of wellness. Mr. Giusti had treatment rooms constructed while preserving the natural phenomenon and, eventually, a wellness hotel.
Today, there are several swimming pools fed by the toasty thermal water year-round, as well as spa facilities in the actual cave. My favorite part is actually scuba diving through the network – no wetsuit needed, as this is like soaking in a hot tub, and the visibility revealed by your flashlight is unreal. If you’re in the area but don’t want to stay the night, day passes can be purchased to the thermal attractions.
See Related: Best Tours in Italy: Food, Walking & Bike Tours
8. Langley Castle Hotel
Address: Langley Castle Hotel, Langley, Hexham NE47 5LU, England, United Kingdom
Langley Castle is located in the central part of northern England, close to the city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and within easy reach of Scotland. The medieval fortress dates all the way back to 1350 and was owned by the noble Tynedale Barony until the forces of Henry IV ruined it during the Northern Rising, or “Percy Rebellion.” In the late 19th Century, it was purchased by a family inspired to restore and preserve it, and this project has been ongoing ever since.
There are just nine rooms in the medieval castle itself. Another 19 rooms are located in a building just steps away with views of its majesty.
Each retains contemporary decoration and classic furniture, and nightly rates are quite fair. Carefully crafted dishes are served in two dining rooms every evening.
Northumberland is known for its excellent fishing, and one of the best places to cast a line is in the nearby Langley Dam. More unique British history and culture can be discovered at Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Castle of Newcastle in the nearby city.
See Related: Fascinating United Kingdom Nicknames to Know
9. Castle Hotel & Spa
Address: 400 Benedict Ave, Tarrytown, NY 10591, United States
Across the pond may seem like an unlikely place to find a medieval castle, but there’s one in New York – sort of. Castle Hotel & Spa is located just north of the city in Tarrytown, and while it was built between 1897 and 1910, its owner, General Howard Carroll, wanted it designed to resemble the Norman fortifications of Scotland, Wales, and Ireland.
The businessman’s family home was completed with 45 rooms and hosted high-profile dignitaries like J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie at parties. This success inspired him to continue expanding the property. In 1981, the local government designated the estate a historic landmark to protect it, and it became a hotel in the 1990s.
The resort hosts a summertime outdoor swimming pool and hot tub, a tranquil spa, and a Forbes four-star and AAA four-diamond restaurant. The lights and attractions of New York City are a short drive away. Visitors during the fall months get to experience the spectacular colors of the Hudson Valley – even better viewed from a helicopter foliage tour.
See Related: Best Restaurants in New York City That Locals Love
10. Mission Inn Hotel & Spa
Address: 3649 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA 92501, United States
The other coast has a castle hotel, too – the famous Mission Inn Hotel & Spa. At its opening in 1876, it was a quaint adobe boarding house. Great success led to expansion during the following decades, with wings built in the Spanish Mission-Revival style that housed more than 200 rooms.
The resort is a National Historic Landmark today and an icon of downtown Riverside. Highlights are the grand rotunda, ornate decor and details, and cloister dining.
There are six restaurants in total, and the spacious guest rooms are modern and luxurious. Kelly’s Spa and an outdoor pool provide relaxation and relief from the southern California sun.
If you’re in the Riverside area for the holidays, the Mission Inn goes all-out with Christmas decorations – it’s a sight to see, even if you aren’t staying the night. The town has some nice shopping and museums, but the location is also perfect for visiting theme parks like Disneyland, Universal Studios, and Knott’s Berry Farm, just over 30 minutes away.
11. Landoll’s Mohican Castle
Address: 561 Township Road 3352, Loudonville, OH 44842, United States
If this next place sounds familiar, you might have seen it before in an episode of Gordon Ramsay’s Hotel Hell. Well, if the reviews are anything to go by, old Gordon’s changes have stuck, and business is booming.
Landoll’s Mohican Castle may also be one of the newest castles in the world, having been constructed in the rural hills of Ohio in the late 1990s. Jim Landoll, an Army veteran who served in Europe, fell in love with the continent’s elaborate fortresses so much that he vowed to build one of his own someday.
After starting a successful publishing company, he did just that. The castle was built without blueprints or plans, one room at a time.
It was originally supposed to be an elaborate barn but became a hotel in 1999. The result is an architecturally spectacular structure that does resemble something out of a storybook, standing on what’s technically a mountain.
Activities at and around the resort include swimming in its indoor pool, golfing, fishing, hiking, and even ghost hunting. Besides these outdoor activities, the cities of Columbus and Akron are both just over an hour away and offer even more attractions.
See Related: Most Beautiful Fairytale Towns from Around the World
12. Landgoed Kasteel Oud Poelgeest
Address: Poelgeesterweg 1, 2341 NM Oegstgeest, Netherlands
One of the best castle hotels in the Netherlands is Landgoed Kasteel Oud Poelgeest – as difficult as that might be to pronounce, visitors love this canal-set castle hotel. It’s in a quiet, green location between Amsterdam and The Hague and dates back to the 17th Century.
The castle itself sits on a quiet pond among the canals that cross Holland, while guest rooms are set in the Coach House, built in 1900. These rooms are modern and a bit more standard than many other castle hotels on our list – this contributes to more affordable rates, too! Free parking and an on-site restaurant are also available.
If you’re going to stay here, don’t miss the chance to visit Leiden, a quaint Dutch city just down the road that tourists often skip. You can also easily visit Amsterdam, The Hague, and the gardens of Keukenhof by car or by public transport from this area.
See Related: Best Castles in the Netherlands for History Buffs
13. Château de Saint-Loup-sur-Thouet
Address: 1 Rue Jacques de Boyer, 79600 Saint-Loup-Lamairé, France
The castle capital of France, and potentially all of Europe, is the Loire Valley. This region is situated just southwest of Paris and is known for its numerous châteaux. In the southern part of the valley, Château de Saint-Loup-sur-Thouet is one of the few that you can stay in.
This massive castle is located in a strategic spot where the Thouet and Cébron rivers meet, and it has been referenced as early as the 12th Century. The current structure dates to the early 1600s and was built in a giant “H” to honor King Henry IV. The ornate spires, aged fortifications, and surrounding moats make the estate look like it came out of a fairytale.
If you decide to spend a few nights in one of its few classical guest rooms, there is no shortage of things to do around the Loire Valley. Plan your route carefully to maximize the number of other beautiful châteax you can hit: Chenonceaux, Blois, Chambord, and Chaumont-sur-Loire are some of the most popular. If you want to take your visit to the next level, see these plus more, as well as the beautiful countryside, from a hot air balloon.
See Related: Best Wine Tasting in Paris, France (+ Vineyards)
Where are the top castle hotels in the world located?
As you might imagine, some of the greatest castle hotels are found in the European countries. England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Germany, Czechia, Austria, and many others have long histories that stretch back well into medieval times, and the grand estates once built by nobility have largely stood the test of time.
Some very interesting castle hotels can be found in the U.S. as well, although their histories will be a bit more different and unique.
What are the absolute best castles in the world to stay in?
Most of the castle hotels we’ve listed, plus others, are absolutely stunning. The best one for you will depend on your preferences for history, luxury, price, and location.
The top castle hotels include Schloss Fuschl in the Austrian Alps for its magnificent lakeside location and Grotta Giusti in the Tuscan hills for its unique thermal spa attractions. Castles in Britain and Ireland offer even more in terms of history, with centuries of stories to tell.
Are there any luxury castle hotels near London?
Yes, England is home to a huge number of castle hotels, and a number of them are within easy reach of London. Amberley Castle is a bit more than 2 hours south of central London and less than an hour from Gatwick Airport.
This puts it within South Downs National Park and within easy reach of Seven Sisters and other coastal attractions. Thornbury Castle Hotel & Restaurant is also easily reachable from London, as the high-speed rail line can have you in Bristol in 90 minutes.
How many nights should you spend in a castle hotel?
That also depends on your budget, preferences, and destination. If you can only afford one night at a super-luxurious five-stary castle hotel, go for it! Plan to arrive early and depart late to make the most of your time. If your castle hotel is located in a great spot to explore your destination, you should probably plan for more time there.
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- About the Author
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Woodrow is a travel writer who wants to do and see just about everything. He’s been to 40+ countries, all 50 US states plus Puerto Rico and the USVI, and is currently living in France and exploring Europe. Woodrow is an expert in travel hacking, finding bargain flights, and coined the term “upgrade engineering” referring to his talent to upgrade simple hotel room bookings into suite stays. Woodrow loves SCUBA diving, fishing, and all things aviation.