You only wear the best from England and Italy, now only stay in the best places in England and Italy—castles fit for a king. Why book a regular hotel when you can stay in a stunning castle, complete with a fabulous facade, medieval vibe, antiques-filled interior and maybe even a friendly ghost or two?
Heading to Venice? Consider a side trip to Castello Bevilacqua, a 14th-century castle-hotel about an hour and 15 minutes away featuring seven junior suites, each with amazing artwork and antiques, not to mention flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi and large whirlpool tub (it is the 21st century, after all). The well-regarded restaurant features medieval décor and gourmet food, which you’ll happily burn off climbing multiple staircases to get to the tower rooms. And don’t be surprised if you hear a bump in the night—legend has it the castle has been haunted by former ruler Guglielmo Bevilacqua since a fire in 1884.
Another great choice in Italy is Castello Di Monterone, located just outside of Perugia, which is about two hours south of Florence. The castle dates back to the 11th century (although the first renovations took place in 1849) and features 18 rooms with gothic architecture and antiques, frescoed ceilings and beautifully manicured grounds complete with a large rose garden and even a swimming pool with a spectacular view.
If you’re planning a trip to northern England, spend a night or two at Langley Castle in Northumberland. Dating back to the 14th century, it is one of the last remaining British castle hotels that still has its original fortifications. Rooms feature romantic four-poster beds and window seats in thick stone walls. The restaurant, known for using local ingredients, specializes in fish and game.
Also worth a side trip is Hever Castle, about 30 miles southeast of London in rural Kent. This 13th-century castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I. The castle boasts beautiful antiques, tapestries and one of the best collections of Tudor portraits outside of the National Portrait Gallery. The castle was restored and extended in the early 20th century by William Waldorf Astor, who instructed workmen to use the same materials and tools as Tudor and Elizabethan craftsmen. History buffs will love the exhibits detailing the life of Anne Boleyn and the Astor family.