Always had a soft spot for enchanted castles and times of yore? Then you’ll want to check out our WORLD’S BEST CASTLE HOTELS list!
If you grew up reading fairy tales about medieval kingdoms, swashbuckling knights and fair maidens, then a stay in a castle hotel may complete your childhood fantasy. We scoured the globe looking for castle hotels and most are found in Europe, not surprisingly, but there is one in China too.
Read on to discover our list of WORLD’S TOP 8 BEST CASTLE HOTELS ranging from real castles with hundreds of years’ history to replicas and new extensions built on ancient castle ruins.
Dromoland Castle, Newmarket on Fergus ● Ireland
If you have an unlimited budget, you can live like royalty at the five-star Dromoland Castle which has been welcoming guests since the 16th century. The 97-room castle hotel sits on a sprawling 450-acre parkland with a lake and 18-hole golf course. Located about 35 minutes’ drive northwest of Limerick city, the hotel offers the best of Irish hospitality and treats guests like royalty. Rooms are dressed in elegant 18th- and 19th-century Louis XV-style décor while amenities include a spa, pool and restaurants where you can experience creative Irish cuisine. Day activities include horseback riding, archery, fishing and visit to the nearby school of falconry.
Adare Manor, Limerick ● Ireland
Named after the nearby village of Adare, the Adare Manor sits on the banks of the River Maigue, about 30 minutes’ drive southwest of Limerick city. The hotel has a history dating back to 1832 but it was closed recently for an extensive 21-month renovation and re-opened in 2017 with 104 rooms, all decked out with luxurious fittings. The hotel’s flagship dining room is the Oak Room restaurant. Afternoon tea and breakfast is served in the Gallery, the second longest room in Ireland, after Trinity College’s Long Room. The award-winning hotel sits on an 840-acre parkland which incorporates a Tom Fazio golf course. Activities on offer include golf, archery, hunting, trout fishing, horse riding and cycling. For wellness pursuits, there is the La Mer spa, pool and fitness centre. The charming Adare village nearby is worth a visit too, with its churches, museums and old-style bars and cafes.
Kilronan Castle Estate & Spa ● Ireland
To get to Kilronan Castle Estate & Spa, you have to take a 1.5-hour flight from London to Ireland West Airport Knock, and from the airport drive around an hour to reach the estate which is secluded between a forest and a lake. Although it feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere, the charming town of Ballyfarnon is just four kilometres away. The luxury four-star castle hotel, built in the 18th century, offers an authentic medieval feel and looks like something straight out of a fairytale. There are just 84 rooms and all of them are luxuriously appointed with antique furniture while some of the rooms have four-poster beds. Amenities include a restaurant, spa, fitness studio, leisure centre with exercise machines and indoor heated pool, among others. During the festive season, they offer a special Christmas package with a real indoor fireplace and children singing carols to complete the experience.
Dalhousie Castle, Bonnyrigg ● Scotland
Located on an 11-acre parkland estate beside the River Esk, Dalhousie is a genuine castle with a 700-year history. To get there, you have to drive about 40 minutes’ south of Edinburgh. The castle boasts an illustrious guest list that includes King Edward I, Sir Walter Scott, Oliver Cromwell and Queen Victoria. As a guest, you can still be assured of a royal welcome and the highest standard of service at this four-star hotel. Inside the castle are 35 elegant bedrooms with different themes and some with four-poster beds. There are no lifts and it is easy to get lost inside the castle which is connected by a maze of staircases and secret passages. Amenities include a library bar (complete with a fireplace and secret moving bookcase); The Dungeon Restaurant, where meals are served by candlelight; and The Orangery, a bistro-style spot with windows that overlook the river. A modern addition to the old castle is the high-tech Aqueous Spa which has a hydro pool and a range of treatments including a Turkish bath.
Örtofta Castle, Eslöv ● Sweden
Located at the southernmost tip of Sweden, Örtofta is one of the oldest medieval castles built during the 11th century. To get there, it would be easier to fly into Copenhagen airport in Denmark and drive 45 minutes to the place. The castle is not very big and there are only two castle suites with another 21 rooms. For daytime activities, the hotel organises canoeing, hiking and duck hunting trips. The place is also a popular venue for events such as conferences and weddings with enough space for up to 140 guests. Örtofta was owned by several noble families with the original brick castle built in the late 1400s. Today, the property is run by the Melinder family.
Romantik Hotel Schloss Rheinfels, St Goar ● Germany
Located in the town of St Goar, less than two hours’ drive west of Frankfurt, the four-star Romantik Hotel Schloss Rheinfels is located beside the Rheinfels castle ruin situated on a hilltop overlooking the Rhine river. The castle, first built in 1245, was at one time the largest fortress in the middle of the Rhine Valley. While most of the castle are in ruins, the outer buildings are now a 64-room luxury hotel with villas and apartments as well as a wellness centre, indoor pool, restaurants and other amenities. Guests can enjoy excellent food and wine at the terrace overlooking the Rhine Valley. www.romantikhotels.com/en/hotels/romantik-hotel-schloss-rheinfels-st-goar/overview
Gstaad Palace, Gstaad ● Switzerland
Gstaad Palace is built on a hill overlooking the picturesque town of Gstaad with a breathtaking view of the majestic Swiss Alps. During winter, the scenery is even more spectacular. Located two hours’ drive east from Geneva, the family-owned hotel has an enviable guest list of royalty and celebrities including names like Louis Armstrong, Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren, among others. Even Michael Jackson wanted to buy the property in 2000 but his offer was declined. Opened in 1913, the five-star luxury hotel has 55 rooms and 35 suites. Day activities include golf, tennis and hiking with snow skiing and dog sledding during winter. Amenities include a huge spa, indoor and outdoor pools, gym and a selection of restaurants, bars and a night club. During World War II, the Swiss government used a vault in the hotel cellar to hide gold and that space is now the La Fromagerie fondue restaurant.
The Castle Hotel, Dalian ● China
Less than two hours’ flight east of Beijing is the city of Dalian, where you can find the opulent Castle Hotel. Located on a gentle slope overlooking a bay with a mountain backdrop, the castle-themed hotel allows guests to live like an aristocrat in luxurious rooms. Inside the hotel, every corner is Instagram-worthy, from the grand lobby and spiral staircase to the impressive private dining rooms and esplanade garden overlooking the bay. The hotel is just steps away from Xinghai Square, the largest city square in Asia, and minutes from Dalian’s natural attractions, museums and historical sites. There are 292 guest rooms, including 29 suites, a world-class spa, fitness centre and indoor swimming pool, among other amenities.