Ashford Castle; Courtesy of Elzbieta Sekowska/
All Ages

Vacation Like Royalty: 5 Castle Hotels for Families

See recent posts by Amanda Geronikos

You don’t have to be royalty to feel like royalty on your next family adventure. These castle hotels for families offer accommodations fit for even the littlest princes and princesses.

Written by Amanda Geronikos


Ashford Castle - Mayo, Ireland

Ashford Castle is day trip worthy, but why not spend the night, too? The medieval fortress, located in Mayo, Ireland, was founded in 1228. Nearly five centuries later, an estate was established, along with a French-style chateau. Since then, the castle has seen several owners, extensive restorations and renovations, the filming of a movie ("The Quiet Man") and millions of hotel guests -- including families -- from around the world.

Modern amenities, such as flat-screen TVs and internet access, meet classic furnishings in the castle's rooms and suites. Each unit features views of Lough Corrib (Ireland's second largest lake), Cong River or Ashford Gardens.

Sounds too fancy for your family, right? Wrong! Ashford Castle offers babysitting services, a children's dining menu and junior spa treatments. Bathrobes and slippers are provided for children ages 2 to 11, and children 2 years old and under receive teddy bears. The whole family will enjoy horseback riding, bicycling, fishing, hiking, tennis, golf and board games. We also suggest a picnic lunch!

The Dolder Grand - Zurich, Switzerland

Nestled in the hills of Zurich, The Dolder Grand isn't quite a castle, but it might as well be. It started as a health spa ("curhaus") in 1899, and its unparalleled beauty, location, accommodations and amenities are worth every [pricey] penny.

Guestrooms and suites are lavish, and many suites feature balconies and Whirlpool tubs. The hotel has two restaurants; the Saltz Restaurant is best for families, as it has a casual atmosphere and entrees just for kids. During the summer, families enjoy the nearby Dolder Bad, a larger-than-life swimming pool, as well as a separate pool for kids. In the winter, there's the Dolder Eisbahn, an open-air ice-skating rink.

Of course, a stay at The Dolder Grand isn't complete without a visit to the spa. Prepare to choose from a wide array of services, including massages, facials, mineral scrubs, seaweed baths, manicures and pedicures.

Castle Hotel & Spa - Tarrytown, N.Y.

While we associate many of the world's most beautiful castles with Europe, there are plenty of historic wonders right here in America. Castle Hotel & Spa, located on the Hudson River in Tarrytown, New York and just 30 minutes north of Manhattan, is a perfect example.

The castle's history begins with General Howard Carroll, a businessman who purchased the land at the turn of the 20th century. The castle, originally named "Carolcliffe," was built between 1897 and 1910, and featured 45 rooms upon completion. The building's Oak Room is said to be the area in which Prince Charles Edward (the son of James II) and Angus MacDonald plotted the Jacobite Uprising of 1745.

Today, the hotel has even more rooms and suites with wood-burning fireplaces, mini-bars, Direct TV systems and complimentary internet access. It also has a restaurant, pool, spa, fitness center and golf club. Horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking can be enjoyed nearby.

When you're not at the hotel, head to nearby Sleepy Hollow, made famous by Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac - Quebec City, Canada

Quebec City's Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac is something out of a fairy tale. Built in the 19th century, it was intended as a place for Canadian Pacific Railway passengers to rest their heads. Since then, it has become so much more, having undergone extensive renovations in 1899, 1908, 1920, 1924 and 1993.

This grand hotel houses 618 rooms and suites, all furnished in elegant, regal decor. Don't let the fancy elements deter your group though -- the hotel regularly welcomes families, who find the studio rooms and suites to be most suitable (they accommodate up to five guests). Cribs, connecting rooms and accommodations for nannies are also available upon request.

The family friendliness continues into the pool, where children are welcomed with water toys. They are also welcomed at the onsite restaurant with a children's menu. Plus, kids age 5 and under eat free, and children age 6 to 11 eat at half price! On top of that, children receive a treasure map, amenity kit and kid-sized bathrobes upon arrival. And when mom and dad want a night out, childcare services are available. Oh, and did we mention all of Quebec City's best attractions are right at your fingertips?

Amberley Castle - West Sussex, England

Want to stay in a castle in England? A quintessential European castle in West Sussex, England, Amberley Castle is rich in everything from its history to accommodations. The castle has hosted royal guests, such as Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Elizabeth I, who owned the estate between 1588 and 1603. The hotel is also said to be haunted.

Today, guests must make their way past a 60 foot-curtain wall and working portcullis to enter the more than 900-year-old castle. There are only 19 rooms and suites, which adds to the hotel's intimate appeal. Each room is different in decor, though all reflect the castle's history. Amenities include a special gift from the hotel's chef, bottled water and bathrobes. Suites include Whirlpool tubs.

Don't miss an opportunity to dine like royalty at the castle's restaurant with older children. You'll also want to explore the lush gardens, pathways and rope bridge, which leads to the Mistletoe Lodge. There, you'll enjoy breathtaking views of the grounds and lakes.

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