Lifestyle

Live Like a King at the World’s Best Castle Hotels

Skibo Castle (Lobby)

Who hasn’t dreamed of living in a castle? Whether you fancy playing lord of the manor or dream of an unforgettable wedding backdrop, nothing says old-world luxury like a few turrets and a drawbridge. From medieval towns and Indian warrior forts to brand new 21st century builds, there’s a castle for every taste and inclination. Just be warned: getting back to reality is not easy.

Alila Fort Bishangarh, India

Alila Fort Bishangarh

Originally a military fort rather than a royal residence, Fort Bishangarh has nonetheless been transformed into one of the world’s finest castle hotels. Perching atop its hill the hotel offers 360-degree views of the Rajasthani, it’s colonial-Indian interior architecture and typically superb service make it a striking alternative to India’s palaces.

www.alilahotels.com

Castello di Pavone, Italy

Castello di Pavone

While it might be the spitting image of many a beautiful Tuscan castle, Castello di Pavone is just an hour west of Milan. The early 1600-year-old fairytale castle also has fittingly authentic food and an extensive wine list, even if nothing dates back quite as far as the Castello itself.

www.castellodipavone.com

Skibo Castle, Scotland

Skibo Castle

The legendary Skibo Castle more than lives up to its reputation. Transformed in 1898 by industrialist Andrew Carnegie into what he dubbed ‘Heaven on Earth’ – stunning golf links, evocative interiors and fine Scottish food all nestled in the highlands. Membership to the Carnegie Club is worth it for Skibo alone.

www.carnegieclub.co.uk

Ashford Castle, Ireland

Ashford Castle

Imposing grey stone ramparts, suits of armour, a spot of falconry of an afternoon… Ashford Castle takes its medieval origins very seriously. The majestic 800-year-old castle – and former home of the Guinness family – complements its innate turreted grandeur with equally spectacular grounds.

www.ashfordcastle.com

The Castle Hotel and Spa, New York

The Castle Hotel and Spa

New York might not be the first place you think of for a castle but this Tarrytown institution certainly looks the part. Sat on the Hudson just 30 minutes from Manhattan, it’s a phenomenal escape from the city and just so happens to have one of the area’s finest restaurants, the award-winning, locally-sourcing Equus.

castlehotelandspa.com

The Castle Hotel, China

The Castle Hotel

At three years old, this could well be the youngest castle in the world. While it’s certainly not traditional though, nobody can doubt the turreted grandeur of The Castle Hotel dominating its own island. Well, if you’re going to copy something, may as well do it in extravagantly luxurious style.

www.starwoodhotels.com

Romantik Parkhotel Wasserburg, Germany

Romantik Parkhotel Wasserburg

At hearing the name, you expect two things: romance and parkland. Schloss Anholt has both in spades. Three baroque gardens, a wildflower meadow and a maze surround the 12th-century castle and even the restaurant is in the middle of a scenic pond. If you tire of the unending prettiness, there’s also a pretty good 18-hole golf course.

www.schloss-anholt.de

Hôtel de la Cité, France

Hôtel de la Cité

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Carcasonne is one of the best preserved medieval cities in the world and Hôtel de la Cité is the only accommodation there. That should be enough to warrant a visit by itself, but if you need more the French haute cuisine should, as do the views which are well worth getting up at sunrise for.

www.cite-hotels.com

Castell de Cardona, Spain

Castell de Cardona

Holding court over the Spanish town of Cardona, this Castell has been preserved perfectly in all its gothic glory. The medieval fortification is as imposing on the inside as without with vast vaulted ceilings and unrelieved stone. It’s still comfortable though, and in the region’s summer heat you’ll be glad of the traditional construction.

www.parador.es

Thornbury Castle, England

Thornbury Castle

The former home of the Tudor dynasty, Thornbury Castle is a tangible part of British history one that can be felt through its regal 500-year-old style. Even if it wasn’t, the luscious landscaped grounds and short drive from the Costwolds will leave you feeling like royalty yourself – just hopefully with a better married life than Henry VIII.

www.thornburycastle.co.uk

About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.