Fresh Picks | King of the castle

08 Aug 2016
4 min read
Live like Kings and Queens this summer with this round up of magnificent European castles and palaces…
‘Game of thrones’

Castello Granduca|Tuscany, Italy

Built during the first decade of the 16thcentury, The Luxury Travel Book’s Castello Granduca has been the residence of many Tuscan Grand Dukes. In 1860, it passed into the hands of a noble Tuscan family, who transformed it into a historical house, open to all those who wanted a unique holiday experience on the Etruscan Riviera. Subsequent renovations, supervised by the Italian Monuments and Fine Arts Office have been carried out since 1900, and today it represents one of the most important monuments in the region, offering guests the chance to rent a castle and live in a historical residence in Italy, while enjoying all modern comforts.

The castle sleeps up to 26 guests in 13 bedrooms, seven of which are suites. It boasts a large garden and outdoor pool, a spacious patio with table, chairs and umbrellas for outdoor dining, a grand entrance hall and separate dining room, an olive grove and an outdoor Jacuzzi with changing room amongst others. Castello Granduca is accessed via a private cypress and pine tree lined driveway iconic of Tuscany’s finest houses.

Tivoli Palácio de Seteais | Portugal

Set at the foot of the Sintra Mountains, this impressive 18thcentury palace, Tivoli Palácio de Seteais is one of the most enchanting hotels in Portugal. Complete with carefully restored rich tapestries and dazzling frescoes, each room is brilliantly designed for ultimate luxury and comfort. Guests can spend their day exploring the intricate mazes and luscious gardens, before dining at the peaceful Seteais restaurant.

Ballygally Castle|Northern Ireland

Ballygally Castle dates back to 1625 and is unique in that it is the only 17thcentury building still used as a residence in Northern Ireland. The hotel is reputedly haunted by a friendly ghost and brave guests can visit the ‘ghost room’ in one of the towers to see for themselves. Ideally located for Game of Thrones lovers due to the plethora of locations nearby used by the series for filming, this summer guests can walk in the footsteps of their favourite Game of Thrones cast members and enjoy a Game of Thrones Afternoon Tea or a Westeros Tomahawk Steak Served with a Valyrian Steel Style Carving Knife. The hotel offers glorious views over Ballygally Bay and towards Scotland. It boasts 18 deluxe coastal view bedrooms including six family rooms.

Castello Fiorentino|Tuscany, Italy

Steeped in history, Castello Fiorentino’s origins date back to the 13thcentury when a powerful Longobard clan from the Val d’Elsa, the Conti Alberti di Certaldo, chose this as the site for their castle. The Alberti family owned and lived here, later transforming it into an elegant country mansion, until the 17thcentury. Traces of the original 13thcentury fortified castle are still discernible in the square brick tower and the defensive walls alongside the villa. Recently the castle has been completely restored, retaining all the charm and uniqueness of the historical building and, at the same time, creating a welcoming and luxurious home.

The castle has six bedrooms sleeping 12 people. There is a 13thcentury chapel within the grounds, a large garden, a swimming pool, Jacuzzi baths in the bedrooms and a roof terrace with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

Stonefield Castle |Scotland

Built in 1837,Stonefield Castleis a fine example of Scottish baronial architecture and still retains much of its original furnishings, wood panelling, ornate ceilings and marble fireplaces. Beyond its interior splendour, the castle is set in60 acres of woodland gardens,lapped by the shores of Loch Fyne. The castle is based just two miles from the idyllic fishing village of Tarbert, one of the most attractive villages on the Mull of Kintyre peninsula. The hotel has36 individually and tastefully decorated en suite bedrooms,with views over the gardens and Loch Fyne itself. There are 36 en-suite bedrooms atStonefield Castle, many of which overlook the spectacular scenery ofLoch Fyne; three of the rooms have four poster beds.

Stonefield Castle’s restaurant provides guests with the chance to sample the best of all that is Scottish. The restaurant is renowned for its locally sourced beef and seafood, whilst there is also an extensive selection of fine wines to complement the menu. Commanding spectacular views overLoch Fyneand set in 60 acres of beautiful woodland gardens, it’s easy to see whyStonefield Castleis the perfect setting for a beautiful and memorable wedding.

Stonefield Castleis fully licensed for civil ceremonies and partnerships – and is available to host both the ceremony and reception. The ceremony itself can be outside on the terrace by the shores ofLoch Fyne, or in one of the stately banqueting rooms.

Tulloch Castle |Scotland

Tulloch Castledates from the 12th century, when the Bains and later the Clan Davidson laid claim to itslands. Like its lively history, the castle’s fortunes have changed many times. Now, it stands as a magnificent hotel, with a ready welcome forleisureand business travellers. The castle retains many of its period features, including the 250-year old panelled Great Hall, and painstakingly restored original fireplaces and ceilings. In days of old, only the Laird or the Chief of the Clan could enjoy a relaxing stay in a Scottish highland castle. Thankfully, times have changed. Today, Tulloch Castle has 20 well-appointed en suite bedrooms, each with their own unique character and charm. Guests are given a warm welcome, and can expect splendid hospitality, comfortable surroundings and superb food.Price to rent the whole castle upon application.

Castello di Tizzano |Tuscany, Italy

Castello di Tizzanoprovides the rare opportunity of enjoying hundreds of years of history in comfort and style with a daily maid and dinner on arrival just the start of the luxurious offering. The historical home to an important Florentine family, the villa is surrounded by uninterrupted views of rolling hills and Florence. A walled garden ensures total privacy with a large infinity edge swimming pool set on a lower terrace offering panoramas of the Duomo. Meanwhile, the interior of the villa is elegantly furnished, with very spacious living and dining rooms, ideal for entertaining. Alongside Tuscany Now & More’s concierge service, the fantastic villa owner can also arrange for a cooked breakfast, classes or wine tours to ensure that your stay in this stunning property is memorable.