Hohenschwangau Castle sits in southern Bavaria, on the border between Germany and Austria. The castle was built by Bavarian King Maximillian II in the 19th century, on the site of a fortress that had existed since at least the 12th century. His son, King Ludwig II – referred to by many as 'mad' King Ludwig, spent many days of his childhood here, dreaming of knights in shining armor and damsels in distress. Ludwig later built a bushel of castles and palaces, including the fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle from which this photo was taken. The fact that Ludwig's castle sits high above, looking down on his parent's castle, may tell you something about their relationship.
If you're traveling in the area, advance reservation are essential to visit Neuschwanstein, and highly recommended for a visit to Hohenschwangau. Both castles are currently closed due to the COVID pandemic, but once they re-open reservations can be made online here.
Schwöbber 9, 31855 Aerzen, Germany, Tel: (0)5154-7060-0
Germany has, by some counts, more than 20,000 castles and palaces, so it's no surprise that some of them have ended up as hotels.
Schlosshotel Münchhausen is an elegant palace on the edge of a lake, a fairy tale setting for the Fairy Tale Road. Two in-house dining rooms: one posh and seriously expensive, and one more moderately priced in the cellar.
Location: A. If you're seeking a quiet country escape, this is the perfect place. Located a couple of miles from the Pied Piper village Hamelin.
Property: A+. The 16th century palace was beautifully restored in 2002, and includes many period antiques. Set in beautiful parkland, surrounded by a moat, and with an 18-hole golf course.
Rooms: A+. Rooms perfectly capture the elegance and history of the castle, while providing completely modern fixtures and amenities.
Hotel Style: Castle; Area: Off the beaten path; No. of Rooms: 68; Singles: €130 to €300, Doubles: €160 to €300; Credit Cards: MC/V/AX
Château d’Audrieu ★★★★
Rue de Tilly (D82), 14250 Audrieu, France, Tel: (0)2-31-80-21-52
Remote, beautiful, and yet with easy access to the D-Day beaches, the d’Audrieu is a great luxury option for touring Normandy.
Location: B. In an idyllic setting, less than five miles from Bayeux and about a 30 minute drive to the American Cemetery. The only downside is having to drive if you want to eat somewhere other than the hotel.
Property: A. An 18th century chateau in the countryside, the public spaces and parkland look the part. The restaurant is a gourmet extravaganza. Expect dinner to run €75 to €100 per person.
Rooms: B. Standard rooms are on the smallish side, and not as elegant as I would expect from a chateau at this price. Once you move up into the Junior Suite the rooms fit the property.
Hotel Style: Castle; Area: Off the beaten path; No. of Rooms: 29; Singles: €320 to €485, Doubles: €320 to €485; Credit Cards: MC/V/AX
Hotel auf der Wartburg ★★★★
Auf der Wartburg Straße, 99817 Eisenach
Tel: (0)3691-797-223, Fax: (0)3691-797-200
Luxury and attention from the moment you arrive, this hotel is built right into part of the Wartburg, Germany’s most legendary castle. A worthwhile splurge for those who have always dreamed of sleeping in a castle. Rooms and bathrooms have maintained a 1930's feel, but are completely modern and up-to-date.
You'll need a car, since the castle is isolated and high on a hill, but this is part of the attraction. Many rooms have gorgeous views out onto the Thüringian Forest. There's no elevator, so expect stairs, but staff will handle your luggage.
Singles: €190, Doubles: €250 to €320, Triples: €275 to €355
Credit Cards: All major credit cards accepted.
Hotel Style: Castle; 53 Rooms
Grades: A+ (Location), A (Property), A (Rooms)
Chatueau de Boucéel
5 rooms. Singles: €125; Doubles: €145 to €185
If you’re planning to spend a night in the neighborhood of Le Mont St. Michel, I normally recommend that the thing to do is spend a night ON the island. During the day Le Mont St. Michel is overrun with day-tripping tourists, but after about 4:00pm they slowly disappear, leaving you as master of the island. Wandering the empty streets of this medieval hamlet can be a memorable, if slightly eerie experience, enhanced by torchlit tours of the abbey offered in summer time.
But let’s face it, of the hotels actually on the island, none rise above mediocre. If you really want a great experience, and don’t mind not being on the island, Chateau de Boucéel is the place to stay. Built in the 18th century and located about 12 miles inland from Mont St Michel, the chateau is still in the private ownership of the Count and Countess Régis de Roquefeuil-Cahuzacare. It’s not so much like staying in a hotel as staying with some very rich and cultured friends in the French countryside.
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