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Top Ten Castles in the World to Rent | Under the Sun Adventures | Suntan Vacations



Castles are in some ways the ultimate status symbol; not just a nice house or even a mansion, but a manor! Many couples (or brides) are lured here to complete their personal fairytales when they get married. There are countless castle properties all over the world, but not all are available to rent and take your entire extended family or wedding party on an amazing vacation. Listed below are Suntan.com’s Top 10 Castles to Rent, in no particular order.

 


1. Inverlochy Castle - Scotland


Inverlochy Castle is known all over the world as being the finest castle hotel in Scotland.  Nestled in the Scottish Highlands with waterfalls, lochs and the highest peak in the UK (Ben Nevis), famous Inverlochy Castle Hotel is perfectly situated in Lochaber, the official outdoor capital of the UK. Take advantage of the stunning location and enjoy all sorts of fun in the sun activities, including but not limited to:


Fort William Golf Course: Built in 1974 at the foot of Ben Nevis, this spectacular course offers a great day out for all levels of golfers. The sixth hole at Fort William is one of the finest par threes in Scotland.

 

Whitewater Rafting & Water Sports: Sailing, canoes, kayaks and windsurfing are just some of the watercraft available for you to enjoy the waters of Loch Oich to its fullest. Cruise nearby Loch Ness!   

 

Mountain Biking: Gentle forest paths and spectacular mountain scenery await! Inquire at Wheely Good Bike Guides.   

 

Clay Pigeon Shooting: Clay Pigeon shooting can be arranged within the grounds for all levels of experience. Archery, air rifle and knife and tomahawk throwing allow you to test your aim.

 

Horse Riding at nearby Lettershuna Riding Centre

 

Off Road Driving: Fly over rugged terrain in an off road vehicle...a different way to enjoy the picturesque Scottish countryside.

 

Fishing, Hunting, even Falconry!


Along with plenty to do, this manor is quite-well appointed! World-class luxury exudes from this lovely, palatial hideaway and it nobly boasts several awards such as Luxury Hotel of the Year in 2010 and Travel + Leisure's Best Service in 2007. Built in 1863 and held privately for over 100 years, it was nicely converted to a rentable residence and hotel in 1969. This glorious castle has attracted nobility from all over the world and boasts countless distinguished guests. Charlie Chaplin, Robert Redford, Sean Connery, Elton John, Mel Gibson, and Anthony Hopkins have all stayed at this magnificent property. Room and suite rates vary from about $380 - $550/night, based on double occupancy and including an authentic Scottish Breakfast, from about $850 - $1,000/night depending on the season. Kids seven and under stay free, but do not eat for free. Christmas and New Years are a minimum three day stay and usually require booking far in advance. Corporate bookings are welcome. Also inquire if needing to book the entire castle - all seventeen luxurious bedrooms! There is plenty to explore nearby and Ft. Williams is a mere three miles away. A must for any castle-lover!


2. Castel d'Escales - Spain


This one I could move into with zero hesitation! It is a modest-sized castle, only sleeping fourteen, but also family friendly and perfect for smaller get-togethers. Halfway between France's southwest border and Barcelona, in the northeastern region of Catalonia, is this pristine and relaxing castle. Thirty minutes by car away from a gorgeous sampling of Spain's idyllic and unspoiled Costa Brava area of the Mediterranean - this means beaches, coves and authentic seaside villages. Situated next to a nature preserve and within walking distance of the small village of Celera, this peaceful old world community has just enough of whatever you might need during your stay. The medieval walled city of Girona is a leisurely five minute drive away and is a must-see while there.


There is a one week minimum stay required. Be sure to inquire because they occasionally have incentives for staying longer. The castle is self-catering, though local "help" is offered through an English-speaking host. The resident host is also a wonderful gourmet chef and will cook meals, if requested, for an extra fee. Enjoy the private setting and bask in the sunny Spanish culture as you and your guest(s) brunch with iced coffee on the breakfast patio. A pool with a bar area, private grounds, gardens and a shower/changing room are at your disposal along with a grand wine cellar (wine is extra!) and an eleventh century circular tower library. Three hours housekeeping daily is also included in the rental price. Rates per week are based on fourteen people maximum. Depending on the time of year, a week will cost anywhere from $5,700 to just over $7,000. Area activities include water sports, fishing, golf, horse riding, hiking, sun bathing at the beach, cycling, winery tours, local open air-markets, museums and even a few superb restaurants worth experiencing. If you want to explore the beauty of Spain as a local, Castel d'Escales is a wonderful choice.


3. Castle Culzean - Scotland


Nestled in six hundred acres of Ayrshire's most exquisite coastal and woodland area and perched dramatically on a cliff top, this storybook-like castle has magnificent views. About fifty miles south of Glasgow and around one hundred miles from Edinburgh on Scotland's south western tip, Culzean Castle lies in the heart of Burns County. The castle that stands today was built in 1772, though a fort or manor had been built in this spot up on the cliffs since somewhere around 1165. This architectural masterpiece is associated with the well-known Kennedy Clan (ancestors of Robert the Bruce) and is now in possession of The National Trust of Scotland. Some of the best golf in Scotland is nearby as well as horse riding, fishing, sailing, clay pigeon shooting, water sports, beach fun and more. Culzean Country Park boasts over three miles of magnificent coastline. From sand dunes to rugged rocky shoreline, to sea caves and rock pools, the scenery is sure not to disappoint! For Scottish history buffs, it is interesting to note that an illustration of the castle has been featured on the reverse side of five pound notes issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland since 1987. Care to investigate the supernatural? Steeped in history, legends and lore, Culzean Castle is said to be haunted by a ghostly piper only heard around the castle grounds. Also talked about frequently is the ghost of a young female seen wearing a ball gown.


While the famous manor is open to the public most of the year (end of March - end of Oct), this castle is also available to rent. The Eisenhower Apartment is a small, but cute country house-style hotel, made up of the entire second floor of the castle, and has panoramic views across the sea to the mountains of Arran. Guests access the private apartment using the original elevator, installed in the 1920's. In 1945, the Kennedy family invited Eisenhower to accept the guest flat for his lifetime, in a thankful gesture from Scotland for America's undying support during WWII. With six elegant bedrooms, a circular drawing room and a dining room, the apartment is an incredibly exclusive place to stay in Scotland! Visitors can choose to only rent part of the apartment or enjoy the entire accommodations for themselves only. This is a very unique private setting for a weekend meeting, small wedding party or extended family. Rates for one of the six individual rooms or suites usually run about $350 - $600/night, double occupancy. Inquires to rent the entire hideaway are welcomed.


4. Château de Bagnols - France


Fall in love - all over again. Château de Bagnols is idyllically set among vineyards, forests and green hills in the middle of the stunning Beaujolais countryside in southeast France. The scenery is perfect, almost surreal, like something on a postcard. Originally built in the thirteenth century, it is one of France's historical monuments as well as a unique and magnificent castle hotel. The current owners, Lord and Lady Hamlyn, found the chateau in major disrepair in 1987 and with a lot of love and dedication have restored the castle in sunny France to its former glory. The chateau boasts unique and impressive towers, a dramatic drawbridge entrance and the original dry moat. It is a winner of many awards, such as: Fodor’s Choice 2007, 2007 Luxury Link World’s Best Hotel and named as France's Leading Castle Hotel in World Travel Awards. Much history abounds in this French estate - yet the setting is a comfortable and casual, upscale environment. Exclusive use of the entire chateau is approximately $32,000 - $36,000/ per day, with a two-day minimum, depending on the season. For the "finest accommodations in France", individual rooms in the chateau are anywhere from $600 - $3,500/per night, double occupancy. Twenty-one luxurious rooms and suites are available to rent. Michelin star restaurant, Salle des Gardes, offers lucky diners the most superb varied selection of regional specialties as well as an amazing selection of Beaujolais wines. It is the perfect pairing to sit on the sunny terrace, shaded by hundred-plus year-old lime trees, sipping a local wine and enjoying local gourmet food! Inhale deeply of the bouquet and take in the most breathtaking view of the Beaujolais countryside. Since Lyon is close by (approximately seventeen miles) and is considered the ultimate place for food in France, any foodie is in gastronomic heaven. You will never find a "bad" restaurant in Lyon! Fun activities include museums, wine tastings and tours, hiking, cooking classes, water activities, horse riding, archery and more! Spend some time in the sun, head for outdoors and visit one of these parks: Miribel-Jonage Park, Parc de la Tête d'Or or Parc de la Cerisaie.


5. Dromoland Castle - Ireland


Get ready for a warm Irish welcome! This five-star castle hotel in County Clare is in the perfect spot for touring western and southern Ireland. It lies a mere eight miles from the Shannon Airport at Clare, nineteen miles from Limerick and only about eighty-five miles to Cork and Killarney. Dromoland Castle happens to be one of the most famous baronial castles in Ireland, home of the O'Briens, who are one of the few native Gaelic families of royal blood. Set on over four hundred acres of park-like grounds, complete with gardens to explore, the whole feeling of the estate is authentic, even boasting a formal rose garden and a lily pond dating back to 1812. The River Rine flows elegantly through the estate and there are ample opportunities to try your hand at fishing for trout. Pheasant, deer and other wildlife are always lingering nearby. Within the grounds you can also enjoy archery, tennis, hiking, mountain biking, boating and clay pigeon shooting. The setting is perfect and nearby you will be instantly charmed by bustling country towns and storybook Irish villages, the mighty Shannon River, the unique countryside of the Burren and the wild country of Connemara. The magnificent championship golf course (par 72) is the perfect combination of challenge and beautiful surroundings, designed and updated by golf greats J.B. Carr and Ron Kirby. Dromoland Golf has been called the "Augusta of Ireland". The many treatments available at the Country Club Spa will delight any weary traveler in need of pampering. A well-equipped gym and a huge eighteen-meter (fifty-six foot) pool are also available for refreshing and renewing after exploring the unique Irish countryside.


Room rates are anywhere from approximately $300/night to $1750/night, depending on your accommodations and the time of year. Inquire about exclusive use of the castle. Also check out their sister property and beautiful manor in its own right, the five-star Castle Martyr in nearby Cork.


6. Palazzo Mannocchi - Italy


No car needed! If you want a self-catering private castle in Italy, this location is sure to please. This beautiful region lies on the eastern side of central Italy, where views of the Adriatic Sea and the Apennine Mountains captivate and beckon. This is the "real Italy" and warm, welcoming Italian hospitality is the norm. Petritoli is in the south of the region and is a typical small medieval town with steep cobbled streets, churches, palazzos, roof terraces and hidden gardens. The nearest beach is a little over nine miles away at Porto San Giorgio.


The palace is in the medieval town's center, walking distance to amenities and can sleep up to fifty-two people. It boasts twenty-six bedrooms and sixteen bathrooms, five kitchens, eighteenth century frescoed ceilings, and is nicely furnished in period Italian furniture and old master paintings. A pool, spa, Jacuzzi, sauna, gardens and unspoiled Italy, at its finest! The palace can cater to groups large and small and welcomes group retreats, wedding receptions, corporate vacations, and large group reunions. Pets are welcome and it is a very family friendly atmosphere. Sun lover's activities abound such as daytime yacht trips on the Adriatic, equestrian outings, wine tours and tastings, hiking, historical site trips, water sports such as windsurfing, fishing, shopping (lots of famous brand outlets nearby!), horse riding and even hot air balloon excursions.


Groups of twenty or more can rent the castle for about $8,000/week. For groups of at least four or more, it costs about $1,000+/week, though they will allow for a minimum three night stay on a per night per person rate.


Looking for a castle vacation that is the equivalent to a private Italian countryside palace, complete with luxurious surroundings, located in an authentic locale, unsullied by commercial tourism (yet welcoming to foreigners)? This amazing Italian castle is more than enough to fit the bill!


7. Château de Codignat - France


The Castle among the volcanoes in France! Château de Codignat is an authentic fifteenth century château in the volcanic Basse-Auvergne region in central France and became one of Auvergne's finest castle hotels in 1971. This true medieval castle is perfectly appointed with authentic towers, fine decor, a dungeon, and completed with winding staircases and sumptuous textiles and furniture. All the authenticity of a chateau, with fifteenth and sixteenth century decor, yet still has all the elegant services and modern conveniences one requires in luxurious vacations these days. Château de Codignat features fifteen stunning bedrooms in the main castle itself, all opulently dressed in the Edwardian-era style. All bathrooms have Jacuzzis and all the rooms and suites are absolutely unique. With winding staircases and opulent textiles, this modern day castle is a dream. Rates range from approximately $500-$950/day, depending on your room selection which might include a Jacuzzi bath, continental breakfast and an extra meal. Larger events can easily be arranged such as corporate meetings, weddings or private galas. They also make available the exclusive use of the entire chateau with rates given upon request. The property also has additional available accommodations consisting of four private apartments, opposite the castle and directly next to the pool - ideal for families and groups.


Château de Codignat boasts a magnificent restaurant listed in the local dining guides, whose head chef, Stéphane Dupay, has gained one Michelin star. His vision is a modern cuisine, harnessing the best that the local produce has to offer, thus presenting the ultimate offerings of the region. Lunch and dinner are served on the sunny terrace in fair weather.


Amazing local activities include: More than fifty historic castles and five hundred Romanesque churches in the area to explore, helicopter tours over the volcanoes, museums, hiking, extreme sports, plus the gorgeous south of France coastline a mere day trip away!


8. Waterford Castle - Ireland


Waterford Castle is quite often referred to as one of the most famous castles in the entire world. Charming discerning travelers for decades, this is luxury and world class in its highest form. Like the crown jewel on its very own private island, Waterford Castle and Golf Resort offers the finest in four star facilities perfectly situated into the southeast corner of Ireland and minutes from Waterford City. After a short ferry ride transfers you across the Kings Channel, you enter a fairytale world of just over three hundred acres, traveling a beautiful beech-lined driveway to the castle. The eight hundred-year old history immediately captivates you upon first sight! This island sanctuary has offered so many lucky visitors a way to lose yourself in time with a world class eighteen hole championship golf course, cycling, walking trails, archery and so much more to enjoy along the grounds. Bask in the sun, stroll through the gardens or have afternoon tea out on the lawn.


The strong tradition felt in this grandest of manors is honored in the decor, antique furnishings and substantial tapestries. Each of the nineteen elegant bedrooms is a masterpiece in itself, offering travelers all the flavor of staying in a castle, yet all the modern amenities one could ever ask for. Also available to rent are island holiday homes, perfect for sleeping six people (three bedrooms) and are also standard with the usual amenities. Please inquire about exclusive use of the castle for private events or corporate bookings. Waterford Castle is also the ideal venue for a traditional Irish Castle wedding. Because there are so many options to choose from as far as accommodations go, the staff prides themselves in custom creating the perfect experience for individual parties. Inquire for rates directly.


Keep in mind that Waterford, Ireland is home of the world-famous Waterford Crystal Visitor Center! This is a must-see if you are in the area!


9. Schloss Hohenstein - Germany


Perched in the hills above the city of Coburg, several miles down a twisting country lane from the quaint village of Haarth, lies the Hohenstein, an ancient Renaissance castle completely rebuilt after it burned to the ground in the early sixteenth century. First built in 1306, it was converted into a hotel in the early 1990's. Long ago, after WW II, the castle formerly served as a chic retirement home for lucky German postal workers. Now, the winding gravel driveway curls around to a wide stone landing and the guard tower's massive front door, surrounded by beautiful green ivy. You might be greeted by a friendly black-and-white cat named Susi who attaches herself nicely to new arrivals to the castle. The baroque stonework, ornate dragons’ heads, medieval towers and wrought iron fixtures complete the perfect picture of an authentic German manor. The on-site restaurant's chefs prepare gourmet German and French cuisine that matches the royal surroundings. Thirteen superb guest rooms are scattered throughout the Bavarian manor and each possesses its own luxury and charm. Activities at and nearby the castle include swimming, horse riding, tennis (indoor and outdoor), hiking and golf. Check directly with the castle for current rates and offers and for weddings, reunions and corporate functions.


10. Hunt Castle - U.S.A.


Though I am anxious to explore Europe, I had to represent the good old U.S.A. here! This gorgeous castle is spectacularly located in the heart of America's northeast in Rindge, New Hampshire. Hunt Castle is located atop on a gentle hill in the center of five hundred (private) acres with a farm, lake and plenty of activities to pass the time. Summer offers all the fun in the sun water sport activities such as paddle boats, canoes, and kayaks, swimming and boating. There is even an eighteen pole PDGA disc (Frisbee) golf course! Of course, fall and winter offer many other fun hours on ski trails and sledding.


There are over eleven thousand square feet of modernized castle amenities including seven bedrooms. The castle can sleep a maximum of twenty-two people and families are more than welcome. There is a playground for kids as well as a hot tub for the adults. The castle was built and completed in 1995. The whimsical interior design is unique in the fact that it incorporates secret stairways, slate and hardwood floors throughout. Gothic arches with faux stone walls are part of the charm. Extremely well appointed for a self-catering rental, the castle is perfect for a family reunion or annual getaway.


Rates are approximately as follows: $1250/night two night minimum, $6,000/week. All the rentals require a $775 deposit. (All holiday weekends require a three night minimum, $3750/three nights). Please call for updated rate information.


I hope all of you sun lovers are falling in love with the idea of getting your next suntan at an amazing castle. I love the fact that these types of getaways are so unique and that there are plenty of activities for everyone to do, no matter what your age or relaxation goals. If you have rented a castle somewhere in the world and would like to share your story, tell us! Email the Suntan Crew at: info@suntan.com


-CA suntan


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