TripAdvisor Trumpets Top 10 Castle Hotels in Europe

Ireland's Ashford Castle Reigns as Top Stone-Walled Accommodation

Mar 28, 2007, 01:00 ET from TripAdvisor, Inc.

    NEEDHAM, Mass., March 28 /PRNewswire/ -- TripAdvisor(R), the world's
 largest travel community, today announced the top 10 castle hotels in
 Europe, according to traveler popularity and TripAdvisor editors.
     1.  Feathery Fun: Ashford Castle, Cong, Ireland - Average nightly rate
         With its opulent rooms, endless hallways, numerous dining options, and
         health and beauty spa, you may never leave the estate of the Ashford
         Castle, built in 1625. But if you do wish to meander outdoors, try
         your hand at falconry, an ancient art originating in the Far East in
         2000 B.C. or, stroll the famous Woodland Walk, restored in 1996 with
         oak, beech and chestnut trees. As one TripAdvisor traveler pointed
         out, "Where else can you find 'falconry' as an option to your day on a
         lake that will take your breath away, in a castle that can only be
         described as Versailles but better?"
     2.  Fit for a King: Thornbury Castle, Thornbury, England - Average nightly
         rate $409
         Feel like royalty as you sleep in your bedchamber at Thornbury Castle,
         built in 1521, where Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII and Queen Mary II
         once resided. History buffs can peruse the historical details,
         including coats of arms, bay windows and arrow loops throughout the
         castle. As one TripAdvisor traveler said, "Thornbury Castle is a
         genuine medieval castle with really thick stone walls, low doors and
         fantastic stone spiral staircases."
     3.  Raise Your Glass: Chateau de Bagnols, Lyon, France - Average nightly
         rate $663
         Enjoy a glass of Beaujolais while at the Chateau de Bagnols, situated
         among vineyards and forests in the French countryside. Also an
         historic monument, the 13th century fortress features Renaissance-
         period wall and ceiling murals, a dry moat, and a grand entrance
         across a drawbridge. According to one TripAdvisor member, "Every
         detail of this hotel is just grand -- the garden, the pool, the rooms,
         the restaurants for both breakfast and dinner, and the salon for
     4.  Highlands Praise: Inverlochy Castle, Fort William, Scotland - Average
         nightly rate $932
         The mountainous backdrop of the Inverlochy Castle, located in the
         Scottish highlands, inspired praise from Queen Victoria who wrote in
         her diaries, "I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot." The
         stained glass windows, chandeliers and grand hall reflect the elegance
         of the interior. One TripAdvisor member noted, "From the moment we
         arrived the beauty hit us, the old castle just looked out-of-this-
         world with the stunning lake and terraces."
     5.  Historically Over-Booked: Castle Hotel Auf Schoenburg, Oberwesel,
         Germany - Average nightly rate $240
         The Castle Hotel Auf Schoenburg overlooks the medieval town of
         Oberwesel, in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, a World Heritage site. At
         one time, the castle was home to more than 250 people from 24
         families. In 1689, the castle was burned down by French soldiers and
         remained abandoned for two centuries until its restoration in 1914.
         One TripAdvisor member said, "Hotel Auf Schoenburg was what I had
         dreamed of when I wanted to stay in a castle. I felt like I was in the
         middle ages!"
     6.  Labor Intensive: Parador de Cardona, Cardona, Spain - Average nightly
         rate $166
         Atop a spectacular hill, Parador de Cardona, built in 986, was once
         maintained by the local residents, in exchange for a supply of much-
         coveted salt. Preserving many original architectural details, the
         castle contains a medieval restaurant with arched ceilings, wrought-
         iron torch holders, a Duke's patio, a cistern for storing water and a
         gothic cloister. As one TripAdvisor member said, "The setting is
         stunning, the history of the castle and the surrounding area is mind-
     7.  Tasty Retreat: Swinton Park, Masham, North Yorkshire, England -
         Average nightly rate $463
         Surrounded by 200 acres of parkland including a river, lake, and
         gardens, Swinton Park offers numerous activities including croquet,
         fishing, and horseback riding. If that doesn't satisfy your appetite,
         visit the cookery school, a converted Georgian stable, which is run by
         renowned chef Rosemary Schrager. According to one TripAdvisor member,
         "This is an absolutely stunning place, from the location to the
         amenities to the staff, I could not find fault at all."
     8.  Undercover Charm: Castle Stuart, Inverness, Scotland - Average nightly
         rate $475
         Once a retreat for the Stuart Family, the Castle Stuart was abandoned-
         except for reports of an occasional ghost-for 300 years. Put on your
         Sherlock Holmes hat and discover unknown secret passageways, hidden
         doorways and the secret revolving door that hastens the walk from the
         drawing room to the bar.  As one TripAdvisor member said, "The house
         was SO much fun. There was even a secret doorway to get to the dining
         room, which was gorgeous."
     9.  Italian Antiquity: Castelletto de Montebenichi, Arezzo, Italy -
         Average nightly rate $242
         In the heart of the Tuscan countryside, the Castelletto de
         Montebenichi combines 12th century architecture with 21st century
         amenities. Frescoes, antique drawings and paintings, sculptures and
         archeological finds engulf the castle's hallways, while a panoramic
         swimming pool, sauna, hot tub and gym are just steps away. One
         TripAdvisor traveler said, "The castle is exquisite - each public room
         is thoughtfully decorated with the owners' own collections of art and
     10. Brug-ti-ful: Castle ten Berghe, Bruges, Belgium - Average nightly rate
         Within walking distance of Bruges, Castle ten Berghe is a perfect base
         for visiting the historic town and enjoying the Belgian landscape.
         Recently expanded, the castle now features eight guestrooms, making
         getting a room easier. As one TripAdvisor member noted, "The Castle
         ten Berghe is a wonderful Gothic style castle hidden away down a long
         driveway and surrounded by its own moat and is crammed full of charm."
     "What's great about these top castle hotels is that there is a wide
 price range, allowing anyone to stay in one of these ancient fortresses and
 have a truly unique experience," said Michele Perry, director of
 communications for TripAdvisor. "These castle hotels particularly stood out
 among the properties reviewed by our 20 million monthly visitors because
 they offer modern amenities and great service to ensure a comfortable and
 enjoyable stay."
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