- Expertly Crafted
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Roaring fires, grand chandeliers, stone staircases and suits of armour… Ashford Castle in County Mayo ticks all the right boxes. But while it may date from medieval times, this is one hotel that won’t be left in the Dark Ages. Within the four heritage walls you’ll find a state-of-the-art spa, 30-seat cinema and wine tasting tunnels. Take a bike ride around the leafy estate, kayak along the River Cong or enjoy an adrenalin-filled outdoor adventure and take one of the hotel’s Land Rovers off-road.
If the magical setting, steam train and Rolls-Royce arrival don’t blow you away, the dishes served up by Michelin star chefs Albert and Michel Roux Jr at Inverlochy Castle will. Live out all your Downton Abbey fantasies at this Scottish castle at the foot of Ben Nevis. From Venetian chandeliers to ceiling frescoes and the silk drapes, you will be able to see what life was like before accountants. Enjoy a Roux-designed picnic in the countryside, go salmon fishing on River Garry or stalk deer in the Highlands with your camera.
Feel like lord or lady of the manor when you book Chateau de Villers-Bocage in Normandy. Within the 48 hectares you’ll find a former hunting lodge, courtyard – complete with fountains – and an orangery. Relax in one of the four reception rooms decorated with oil paintings and crystal chandeliers, or take a dip in your indoor swimming pool.
Built on the site of a medieval fortress, the 11th-century castle that is Chateau Mirambeau is now a Relais & Chateau hotel. This means that you can now enjoy this Renaissance-style retreat that lies between the wine and brandy towns of Bordeaux and Cognac. This fairy-tale hideaway comes with a tennis court, stone church and bamboo forest. You can choose to wander around the grounds or visit the local vineyards.
Need to get away from it all? Then head to the secluded retreat of Lough Eske Castle Hotel & Spa in Donegal. The 17th-century castle that lies outside of Donegal Town is surrounded by 40 acres of woodland. If you want to burn calories you can go horse riding, trekking or play a round of golf at nearby course or if you want to learn a new skill you can try your hand at weaving the famed Donegal tweed.
Get ready to fall in love with this 11th-century castle that sits high on a hilltop in Tuscany. The interiors of Castello Di Vacarello have been designed using buys collected on the owners travels – from Chinese four poster beds to Persian carpets. It is the last word in luxury. Enjoy wine from its vineyards, pressed oil from its olive groves and homemade pigeon pate.
From $10,500 pp
- Hiking in Taroko National Park
- Taking a dip in Taiwan’s famed hot springs
- Experiencing a handful of Taiwan’s iconic night markets – you will not go hungry on this trip!
- Spending a few days in the capital Taipei getting a sense of the island’s unique history
When to go:
From $3,900 pp
- Learn about the stories of Berlin during different periods
- Admire one of the most beautiful palaces is the world – Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam
- Walk the footsteps of Hitler and examine the rise of the Third Reich
- Visit the Memorial & Museum Sachsenhausen – a former concentration camp
- Travel back to the Cold War era and experience living behind the Iron Curtain
When to go:
From $7,400 pp
- Visit the highlights and pubs in Dublin
- Admire Powerscourt – one of the finest gardens in Europe
- Learn about the crystal producing in Waterford
- Driving through Ireland’s best scenery – Dingle Peninsula, Ring of Kerry, Cliff of Moher
When to go: