Castle Hotels: Experience Grandiose Getaways

Bursting with opulence and enchantment, castle hotels are the perfect sanctuaries for the luxury traveler.

During many of my trips overseas, I often structured our itinerary around visiting some of the world’s finest castles, including Neuschwanstein in Bavaria, Germany, Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania, Romania, and Mont Saint-Michel near Normandy, France. However, I never took advantage of the opportunity to spend a night in one of these magnificent places.

Have you ever dreamed of staying overnight in a real-life castle?  Did you know that this “bucket list” item is even a possibility?  Well, believe it or not, it is, and there are quite a few choices.  In this article, we will highlight some of the classics around the world.


Ashford Castle, originally built in 1228 on a 350-acre estate, is an incredible five-star resort that allows you to fantasize about medieval times.  It had been owned by the Guinness family since 1852, expanded to more than 26,000 acres, and was donated to the Irish government in 1915.

In 1939, it was turned into a hotel and has frequently been rated among the best hotels in the world. In addition to amazing accommodations, guests have the opportunity to engage in activities including horse racing, clay shooting, archery and falconry!  And, believe it or not, it is somewhat affordable, with rates beginning around $150 per night!




Built inside the walled city of Carcassone, a UNESCO world heritage site in Southeastern France, the Hotel de la Cite is one of the world’s most fascinating destinations. The city is Europe’s largest fortified citadel, and it is literally a city the size of a small village.

The castle has a fascinating history as a military fortification, dating back to the 6th century BC!  In addition to its classic architecture, the hilltop location affords visitors amazing views of the valley of Lauragais and the Minervois vineyards.  If you wish to spend a night here, however, you will have to dig a bit deeper into your pocketbook as nightly rates begin at approximately $750!




One of the great attractions of traveling around Spain is the opportunity to stay in paradors, which are state-owned luxury hotels frequently located in historic venues. One of the classic paradors is the Castell de Cardona, built on a hilltop near Barcelona around 800 AD.

The fortified castle has a fascinating history, and offers beautiful views overlooking the river valley of Cardener and the town of Cardona.  Nightly rates are very reasonable at this parador, beginning at approximately $150, and definitely worth spending an evening when visiting northeastern Spain.

Paradores, via Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0



Located near Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands, is the stunning Aldourie Castle, the ultimate home base for searching for, you guessed it, the Loch Ness Monster!  Set on 500 acres of picturesque land, the castle has been a sporting retreat for hundreds of years.

The enchanting Highlands and luxurious accommodations will dispel all your cares, making your stay an unforgettable pleasure. Due to its intimate setting and size, this castle is frequently rented for weddings, families, and groups at relatively reasonable rates. Can you imagine…




If you are seeking an inexpensive way to stay at a classic castle, the Burg Altena, located near Dusseldorf, Germany fits the bill.  A medieval hill castle built in 1108 by the Counts of Berg, it’s easy to imagine hearing the clanking of knights’ armor and clopping of their chargers’ hooves.

During the first weekend of August, the castle and town of Altena celebrate the annual Medieval Festival, bringing to life the customs and spirit of the Middle Ages. This fairytale castle became the first Youth Hostel Association hotel in the world in 1914, beginning Europe’s modern hostel system.  The hostel charges around $40 per night for adults, and it offers additional discounts for children.


Walk the 55-step staircase like King Edward IV did during the War of the Roses. Retire to the room where he slept. Originally a wooden fort transformed into a castle by William the Conqueror in 1068, the motte-and-bailey structure was rebuilt in stone during the 12th century.

Jacobean-style English oak furnishings, sweeping heavy damask curtains, and sumptuous four-poster beds transport you to a time when warring royal families fought for the throne of England. You can even request a private tour with a member of the Warwick Castle History Team, accessing areas tourists cannot see. Enjoying this bit of history can run you $750 a night.



We finish our tour of some of the most magnificent castle hotels with a modern-day wonder in Northeast China where you can certainly live like a king and queen!  Built in 2014 in Liaoning, China, the magnificent Castle Hotel transports you back into the past, while ensconced in luxury at each and every step along the way, including an indoor swimming pool, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and a legendary spa.

Dalian is a coastal tourist destination known for its trading and financial activities, providing the city with its reputation as the Hong Kong of Northern China.  Nightly rates are very affordable, beginning around $120.