Whether you’re looking to get away from it all to or just want to relive Downton Abbey, these 11 fairytale chateaus offer the ultimate royal treatment.
One of Ireland’s oldest castles leads the pack of glitzy chateaus-turned-hotels thanks, in part, to last year’s $75 million renovation. Choose from 82 different rooms decked out in antique curiosities, original works of art, custom carpeting, and 400-thread-count bed linens made from Egyptian cotton. Those seeking extra privacy should book the new Hideaway Cottage on the edge of Lough Corrib, Ireland’s second largest lake. After a Swedish massage in the fairytale-like spa, dine on chef Philippe Farineau’s elevated Irish cuisine under twinkling Waterford crystal chandeliers.
6. Häckeberga Castle, Sweden
Guests staying at this palace, first built in the 14th century by Holger Ulfstand 20 miles east of Malmö, have Baron Tönnes Wrangel von Brehmer and his wife Olga Lang to thank for its current grandiosity. After inheriting the property in 1872, they demolished the original structure and built this 27-room castle on an island in the middle of a lake. Works by 16 different international artists occupy the walls of the first floor.
7. Hotel Schoenburg, Germany
Since its first mention in history somewhere between 911 and 1166, this storybook-perfect castle has loomed large over the Rhine. It’s housed a slew of different residents during its more than 850-year-old life. Most famous of all was Marshall Schönburg, who died at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. It’s now a family-run hotel with 25 tranquil rooms, many with stately four-post beds and unparalleled views of the river.
This is the castle that kickstarted Spain’s famous government-owned network of hotels housed in historic settings. Built in 1402, architectural details like columns, arcades, and expansive courtyards hint at its medieval roots. Today, its 48 rooms (many with tiled floors and exposed beams) host guests visiting from all over the world, who are invited to feast on fried suckling pig while taking in breathtaking views of the Sierra de Gredos mountains.
9. Pousada de Óbidos, Portugal
With its many tapestries, ancient chests, and suits of armor, this ornate Manueline castle transports guests back to a medieval world of gallant knights and noble kings and queens. Guests staying in one of the 16 rooms will sleep in absolute peace thanks to the structure’s 80-inch thick original walls. Another favorite feature: several windows outlined with colorful Portuguese tiles overlook the nearby white-washed village.
10. Roxburghe Hotel, Scotland
On the working estate of an actual Duke (the Duke of Roxburghe, of course), Roxburghe Hotel in the Scottish Borders village of Kelso offers everything for the perfect country weekend. There’s a golf course, opportunities for salmon fishing, and even a shooting school run by a British Army Clay Shooting Champion who could make any beginner into an expert. Sip a wee dram of whisky or a gin and tonic in the drawing room before enjoying a dinner menu created by renowned chef Albert Roux, then retire for the evening in one of the 22 cozy guest rooms, many of which have balconies overlooking the vast green lawn.