Castle, palace, aristocratic estate — whatever you call it, a storybook-inspired stay is ideal for romantics and history buffs alike. Lucky for you, many around the world still stand and have been refurbished into high-end contemporary hotels.
Set in prime city, country and seaside locations, these nine palace hotels blend old-world charm and modern comfort, making it easy to fulfill dreams of living like a royal.
As always, check for travel guidelines and closures before planning your trip.
The Castle Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Dalian
Originally built in 2002 on Lotus Mountain, the Bavarian-castle-inspired building has impressive views of Xinghai Bay from most of its elegantly decorated rooms, suites and apartments.
Though it’s always been a hotel, the turreted towers, inlaid marble floors, crystal chandeliers and scrolling wrought-iron staircases royally impress.
Diners will find upscale Chinese cuisine, fresh seafood and snacks at three opulent restaurants and a lobby bar. Other luxurious features include an indoor pool and a well-equipped fitness center, as well as a white sand beach and manicured walking trails.
AnaYela, Marrakesh, a Member of Design Hotels
The romance of the interior courtyard brims with Moroccan mystique thanks to flickering lantern lights, Arabic inscriptions and a heated limestone pool. “Ana Yela” translates to “I am Yela,” and the riad’s quiet corners tell the story of a girl named Yela who once lived at this address.
Definitely visit the terrace for its panoramic views over the Red City, or book dinner in the Flying Carpet, a private seating and dining area in the tower where Yela is said to have found her love.
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
The luxury suites and villas showcase the craftsmanship and architectural style of the area and were designed to replicate a traditional Balinese village, complete with working rice paddies. The restaurants feature health-conscious dishes using ingredients sourced locally or from the chef’s organic garden.
At the resort’s Mandapa Spa, find a menu of modern treatments alongside traditional Balinese practices that include sessions with a local healer.
Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Budapest
This Belle Epoque palace was built in 1902 under the patronage of Her Imperial and Royal Highness Maria Klotild and served as Budapest’s social hub for artists and academics.
Today this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers regal and modern luxury throughout its sumptuous accommodations, many of which overlook the Danube River.
The building’s original coffeehouse, opened in 1901, recently reopened as the stylish and buzzy Matild Café & Cabaret, a wood-paneled and velvet-curtained space still witnessing lively discussions and live performances.
Powerscourt Hotel, Autograph Collection
Transformed into a grand country mansion in 1730 by English army officer Richard Wingfield, the 1st Viscount Powerscourt, this 13th-century castle feels even grander in its newest rendition as the Powerscourt Hotel, Autograph Collection.
The pastoral retreat features Palladian-style architecture and is set on 1,000 sprawling acres just 30-minutes from Dublin‘s city center.
Lavish amenities include a Swarovski-crystal-lit indoor pool, two championship golf courses and a serene spa by ESPA. Don’t miss the estate’s 47 acres of sublime formal gardens, statues, lakes and meandering pathways that will easily lull you back to a bygone era.
Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz-Carlton Hotel
It was built as an Omani Royal Palace in 1985 to host the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit. Discerning guests now find it a soothing vacation spot where most of the rooms and suites have private balcony views onto the Al Hajar Mountains or Sea of Oman.
There’s also an Olympic-sized pool, four restaurants and a Six Senses Spa, designed to resemble a traditional Omani fort. The Al Maha Jazz Lounge, full of rich dark wood and curated art, is the only venue of its kind in Oman and offers a nightly lineup of live music.
Schloss Lieser, Autograph Collection
One of the most distinguished buildings of Germany’s Moselle Valley, the fairy-tale Schloss Lieser (Lieser Castle) began its story in the 19th century as a residence for entrepreneur Eduard Puricelli and his family. It was later extended when his daughter Maria and her husband, wealthy politician Dr. von Schorlemer-Lieser, moved into the castle.
Guests will find a blend of neo-Renaissance and art nouveau style, while historic characteristics and contemporary luxuries swirl like a glass of the region’s famous riesling wines.
Guests can not only enjoy views of the Moselle River and vineyards, but can also sit down for a fine meal at Puricelli, set beneath crystal chandeliers in the heart of the castle.
The Langley, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Buckinghamshire
Located in the heart of Buckinghamshire’s vast Langley Park just an hour from London, The Langley, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Buckinghamshire boasts sumptuous guest rooms and suites scattered between the historic former hunting lodge of the third Duke of Marlborough and the adjacent 18th-century Brew House.
The grand Palladian mansion doesn’t shy away from sharing historic touches yet seamlessly folds in the contemporary amenities travelers crave, such as a state-of-the art gym and spa, craft cocktails and nibbles at the Churchill Bar, and fine dining at Cedar, whose windows look out over the estate’s 150 acres of impeccably landscaped gardens and parkland.
The Westin Palace, Madrid
Located in the Paseo de Arte, the cultural heart of the city, The Westin Palace, Madrid is not just Spain’s oldest luxury hotel, it’s also an ideal home base for exploring landmarks like the Prado, Reina Sofía and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums, as well as the Spanish capital’s lively dining scene.
King Alfonso XIII commissioned the hotel in 1912, and the grande dame spans an entire city block.
Inside is just as impressive. The elegant and whimsical La Rotonda restaurant is set beneath the hotel’s iconic stained-glass cupola, and the 1912 Museo Bar, which housed a hospital during the Spanish Civil War, is decked out with photos and mementos from the hotel’s hundred-year-plus heritage.