European Castle Vacations
A Royal Experience
By Cynthia Terpstra
For centuries, castles have served as remnants of history. They have long been admired for their magnificent architecture, spectacular estates and connection to bygone eras. If you have ever dreamed of living in a castle, consider renting one for your next vacation.
“Being able to rent your own private castle likely conjures up childhood fantasies for many travelers,” said Jon Gray, Vice President of HomeAway, an online marketplace for luxury vacation rentals. “For women, it’s the allure of experiencing the fairy tale; for men, perhaps it’s the historic significance of why castles were built in the first place – for protection! Castle rentals are extremely unique in their offerings – from amenities like a wine cellar to having an authentic moat! Castle vacation rentals give travelers the opportunity to fulfill a dream and at the same time have a more unique, authentic vacation experience.”
Nestled in the Dordogne region of Périgord Vert, one of the most ancient and exquisite areas of France, Château Marouatte is a 14th century fortified castle replete with history, fairy-tale charm and modern comforts. Château Marouatte offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and provides a stunning venue for vacations and special events.
Fully restored, every room of Château Marouatte is uniquely styled with antiques and original features. The castle sleeps 23 guests; 12 bedrooms are split into five different areas, each on a separate level or within a tower. The Chapel Wing includes the dining hall, kitchen, den, a master suite on the first floor and a spiral staircase that leads to five additional bedrooms. The Cloche Tower houses the Salle d’Honeur, Games Room and two bedrooms. These two bedrooms – Queen Mother I and Queen Mother II – were created from one large space above the Salle d’Honeur for a visit by the Queen Mother (mother of Queen Elizabeth II), who requested two identical, en suite bedrooms for her and her Lady-in-Waiting. The magnificent 240-acre estate includes a swimming pool, tennis court and beautiful walks. Guests can enjoy breakfast with locally baked French breads and pastries; a sumptuous meal created by a local chef; an evening of regional wine and cheese tasting; and a truffle hunt. Special events include private wedding celebrations, chef-hosted banquets and murder mystery evenings.
To learn more about Château Marouatte’s rich history, accommodations and amenities, visit http://www.chateaumarouatte.co.uk.
Le Château de La Bourlie Situated in the heart of the Périgord, atop a hillside surrounded by extraordinary gardens, rolling meadows and woodlands, Le Château de La Bourlie ensures serenity and privacy. This enchanting 14th century castle, with its sand-colored stones typical of the Périgord Noir, radiates warmth and charm. Climbing roses cover the walls of La Bourlie and lemon trees line the courtyard. La Bourlie consists of the Fournial and the Chapelain and sleeps up to nine people. Rooms are comfortably furnished with family antiques and include original features, such as beamed and vaulted ceilings, open fireplaces and terracotta tiled floors. Visit www.chateaudelabourlie.com.
Built by Norman Knight Adam de Rupe as a frontier defense fortress between 1195-1210, Roch Castle has been restored and transformed into a luxury retreat. Roch Castle is located in Pembrokeshire Wales and is set high upon a rock, providing panoramic views over the Irish Sea, Welsh mountains and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. The castle includes six en suite bedrooms that sleep 12 guests, a main hall accented by a dramatic volcanic stone rockface, a rooftop sunroom, reception room, a dining room, a tower top gym and stone vaulted study. The castle’s extensive gardens and chapel make it the ideal wedding venue. Visit http://www.retreatsgroup.com/
If the idea of traveling to Ireland and visiting its many splendid historical sites appeals to you, consider a vacation at Lisheen Castle. Located centrally in the County of Tipperary, Lisheen Castle is a 19th century battlemented Tudor-style structure, with side turrets, and a central machicolated turret enclosing the main doorway.
Lisheen Castle combines the grandeur of earlier times with modern comfort and opulent living. Accommodations for up to 16 guests include nine bedrooms, eight of which are en suite. Noteworthy features include beautiful ash-carved stairs, a charming old-style kitchen, library and dining room. Visit www.lisheencastle.com.
If you would like to learn more about the many castles available for private rental, visit www.homeaway.com or www.castlerentals.com.