Are you looking to create that “definable moment” for your next vacation? Perhaps you’d like to indulge that noble heritage you recently discovered through Ancestry.ca? Enjoy a catered picnic along the shores of a private fishing lake? Or dabble in some equestrian activity while visiting the Royal Stables? With a little advance planning you can take your next vacation from satisfactory …….. to sublime!
Amberley Castle – West Sussex, England
A luxury hotel with more than 900 years of history, Amberley Castle has 19 bedrooms each named after a Sussex Castle. The castle grounds cover 12 acres, including formal gardens within the castle walls. At night the portcullis closes – so those staying in rooms within the walls will feel exceptionally cut off from the rest of the world! Don’t miss the magical tree house, a thatched roof house that sits in the bower of an oak tree and offers unparrelled views of the castle and lakes.
Peckforton Castle – Cheshire, UK
Film geeks will get a kick out of staying at a castle that’s been featured in many TV shows and movies such as Robin Hood starring Patrick Bergin and Uma Thurman. The medieval-style castle was built in the mid-19th century, was turned into a hotel in 1988 and now offers 48 individual guest rooms. On the castle grounds try your hand at falconry, archery, rappelling and rope courses.
Chateaux de Mirambeau – between Bordeaux and Cognac, France
The Chateau is a Relais & Chateaux property and is located where the vineyards of Bordeaux and Cognac meet. Food and wine lovers can visit during the Bordeaux Wine Festival (Jun 28-Jul 1), but it’s easy to celebrate French gastronomy without leaving the castle at all. Resident chef, Maxime Deschamps, fills his menus with food fresh from local markets, the sea and nearby lakes.
Sababurg Castle – Hofgeismar, Germany
If you’re looking to live the fairy-tale, head straight to Sababurg Castle. It’s not as grand as Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle (the model for Disneyland’s palace) but it claims a dreamy history – legend has it that Sleeping Beauty slept here for a 100 years before a kiss saved her. A wonderful stop to make along the famous “Fairy Tale Road” tour in Germany.
Parador Santiago de Compostela – Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Also known as Hostal dos Reis Catolicos, this famous Spanish parador began as a hospital in 1499. It gave refuge to the many pilgrims coming to Santiago and is consider by many to be the oldest hotel in the world. Its spectacular location in the Plaza do Obradoira means that some of the rooms have a view of the square where the pilgrims finish their walk.
Ashford Castle - County Mayo, Ireland
This castle has immediate charm if only that you can tell your friends that you stayed at the former Guinness family estate! You will have stories of being pampered with exceptional service, your unforgettable castle skeet-shooting experience and how your kids thought you were the absolute best for taking them on a Hawk Walk!