Once built to keep people out, today's castles — many of which have been transformed into premiere hotels — welcome guests with open arms. Along with comfortable lodgings, many feature exquisite dining experiences that make them a true destination for the heartiest of food lovers.
Let's face it — when it comes to castles, their histories are truly the stuff of legend. For example, Ruthin Castle in Wales, complete with its own dungeon, whipping pit, and drowning pool was once home to King Edward I, Henry VIII, and Elizabeth I. Today, it's a four-star hotel complete with dining options befitting a king or queen, like a fillet of Welsh black beef served with thyme rosti, wilted spinach, glazed baby carrots, and port jus…quite a transformation.
Want to sleep in an 11th century medieval castle and dine on cuisine from a celebrity chef? Look no further that Castel Monastero in Tuscany, with two gourmet restaurants, Contrada and La Cantina, which are led by Gordon Ramsay, a leading culinary personality in both the United States and Europe.
Don't think stunning castle hotels are only available across the pond either. We've found luxurious castle hotels here in the United States that also feature award-winning cuisine. To guide you to the most exceptional castles out there, we’ve compiled a list of the world's 30 best castle hotels for dining and ranked them based on value, critical acclaim, reflection of the local region, and whether they offer additional food related experiences, such as cooking classes or wine tastings.
Of course, with the ‘new world’ castles included, one might wonder how we’re defining the term. To be clear, castles included in our list range from old world fortresses and royal homes to North American look-alikes that achieve a comparable experience.
If you've ever dreamed of living out your prince or princess fantasies that just happen to include fantastic meals in a truly getaway worthy destination, grab a reservation at one of these unique properties profiled in our slideshow!
Additional reporting by Serusha Govender.