10 Beautiful Castle Hotels
You don't have to be royalty to vacation like a king (or a queen). Turreted spires, stone archways, and centuries-old charm are all within reach. You just have to know where to look.
PARADOR DE CARMONA
Being a country with a strong Moorish history, Spain has thousands of castles. Narrow down the options with Paradores of Spain, a website that lists dozens of castles, fortresses, convents, and palaces throughout the country that have been converted into hotels. Our favorite, the 14th-century Arabic-inspired Parador de Carmona, is named for its town, about 18 miles from Seville. Inside, a graceful Moorish courtyard, vaults, and columns combine with antique Spanish furnishings to create a four-star experience reminiscent of times gone by. Deal hunters should check for discounts on multi-night stays (20 percent off) and for seniors (30 percent off). If you'll be exploring the area, consider purchasing the site's five-night card for $699, which is good at almost all Paradores and averages out to a discounted $139 per night. Double rooms from $112 per person per night, 011/34-95-414-1010, paradoresofspain.com.
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CHÂTEAU DU PEYRUZEL
Few castles that saw battle during the Hundred Years' War have come through as elegantly as the Château du Peyruzel, a 13th-century fortress about three miles from the town of Domme in the Dordogne wine region. From its location high on a hill, the château commands a view of the valley below, full of hay bales and cows; windows in all four towers let in copious amounts of sunlight. With massive stone walls hewn from bedrock, a five-story spiral staircase, chestnut floors, and ceiling beams of darkened walnut, the château screams "Middle Ages," but has been equipped with every amenity the 21st century has to offer: a 45-foot-long swimming pool, luxurious bedding and linens, satellite TV and Wi-Fi (and, perhaps most important: indoor plumbing). From $67 per person per night, sleeps up to 14 (reservations available by the week only), 1/916-837-0934; vrbo.com.
For those venturing beyond the ancient feudal domains of Europe, there are still castles to be explored, such as this incredible 10-story fortification in Rajasthan, India. Completed in 1464, the Neemrana Fort-Palace's three-acre estate is built in a horseshoe shape into a hillside on the Delhi-Jaipur highway, about 62 miles from Delhi International Airport. The rooms are furnished with traditional Indian and colonial pieces and most have private balconies with views of the 60-mile-high Aravalli mountain range. Within the walls of the fort, guests can take a dip in the vista pool, sign up for free yoga and meditation exercises, or request holistic rejuvenation treatments. Double room from $38.50 per person per night, 011/91-941-405-0068, neemranahotels.com.
Los Angeles, California
Like many things in L.A., the Hollywood Castle is playacting—it was built in the 1970s. But the castle's charm is still tangible, with ivy-covered walls, a moat with a drawbridge, and rooms furnished with suits of armor and huge thrones serving as chairs. Located on a full acre of land just beneath the Hollywood sign, the hotel has eight rooms (some with shared bathrooms) and three patios with 360-degree views of the sparkling city below, plus a Jacuzzi and a nightclub. From $83 per person per night for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom suite that sleeps up to six, 323/868-4076, thehollywoodcastle.com.
FAIRMONT LE CHÂTEAU FRONTENAC
Standing high on a bluff overlooking the St. Lawrence River, the turrets and towers of Fairmont Le Château Frontenac are part of the identity of Old Québec, which has been designated a United Nations World Heritage Site. Named after Louis de Buade, Count of Frontenac, who served as governor of New France from 1672 to 1682 (and again from 1689 to 1698), the Château Frontenac proudly displays the Count's coat-of-arms on the outside wall of the entry arch. Though the impressive castle looks positively medieval, the oldest section of the 618-room hotel, the Citadelle, dates back only to 1899. The Fairmont has been a bastion of gracious living ever since, with four-star service and renowned Chef Jean Soulard's in-house restaurant. Double rooms from $111 per person per night, 866/540-4460, fairmont.com/frontenac.
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