You’ve slept in hotels, motels, lodges, B&Bs and a yurt or two. Isn’t it high time you checked into an actual medieval castle? (Jousting optional.) Here are the best castle hotels around the world.
Parador De Cardona
Spain was a major crossroads in the Crusades, leaving a variety of well-preserved castles. But if you prefer yours as solid and foreboding as a sorcerer’s stronghold, aim for Cardona. Above the medieval town at the Pyrenees foothills looms ninth-century Parador de Cardona, an imposingly beautiful mix of Romanesque and Gothic architecture boasting so many vaulted passageways and squared parapets that you can easily picture men-at-arms boiling vats of oil to repel an onslaught. Accommodations are more hospitable, appointed with canopy beds and tile floors. (Pictured above)
Royal treatment: Guests likely dine better than the castle’s original rulers, choosing from chefy Catalonian specialties such as barbecued lamb shoulder and eggplant terrine with pig’s feet. More vino!
This site so resembles a movie set, you half expect French knights to taunt you from the parapets. But its long history is thoroughly English, dating back to a King of Wessex granting land to a powerful bishop in 683. A fortified manor house was recorded in the famed 1086 Domesday Book census, then sacked by anti-royalists during the English Civil War. A series of lord-and-duke types supervised upkeep until full restoration as a hotel in 1989.
Royal treatment: Though the hospitality drips English countryside (afternoon tea! scones with clotted cream!), every nook and cranny holds medieval accents such as exposed stone and suits of armor—and there are lots of nooks and crannies.