You’ve stayed at some of the best five-star hotels and resorts during your travels on your private jet. Now it’s time to really pamper yourself at the ultimate B&Bs — manors, chateaus and castles. The noble estates are ultra-exclusive and most only offer 20 rooms or less. Europe has a great handful chateaus and castles that were turned into hotels, and the following is a look at some of the best.
Adare Manor | County Limerick, Ireland
Earning a spot on Condé Nast Traveler’s “Gold List of Best Places to Stay in the World” for last five years, the Adare Manor is Ireland’s leading five-star destination. The original Gregorian-style estate was built in the 1700s by Thady Quin and served as the former seat of the Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl. The second Earl of Dunraven, Windham Henry Quin, rebuilt the estate into a gorgeous Tudor manor with unique architecture in the 1830s, which provided much-needed work to the local villagers during the infamous potato famine.
Today, the 840-acre property on the banks of the River Maigue offers ample opportunities for world-class golf, dining, fishing, wine and whiskey tasting, archery and shopping. The property includes the Limerick Crickt CLub, villas, townhouses, the Oakroom Restaurant and the Lavender Cottage. (http://www.adaremanor.com/)
Villa Crespi | Orta San Giulio, Italy
Charter a private jet to Italy’s Piedmont area and you will find Villa Crespi. Cotton merchant Cristoforo Benigno Crespi, enamored with the architecture of Baghdad, built the estate in 1897 with a distinct Middle Eastern style that’s complete with minarets, Moorish-style columns, patterned floors, frescoed ceilings, archways and intricately carved details. During the 1930s, the villa hosted guests like literary figures and Italian King Umberto of Savoy, who was a regular.
In the 1980s, Villa Crespi became a hotel. It’s the home of the Villa Crespi Restaurant, which has earned two Michelin stars under the leadership of Head Chef Antonio Cannavacciuolo, who only uses organic ingredients. The accommodation is also eco-friendly and takes steps to reduce its footprint on the local environment, culture, history and traditions. (http://www.villacrespi.it/en/)
Château de Bagnols | Beaujolais, France
Regarded as the best vineyard chateau accommodation in the world, the Château de Bagnols in the countryside of southeastern France was originally a castle that Guichard d’Oingt built in the 13th century. After a few different families owned the estate over the span of seven centuries, Lady Hamlyn brought the disrepaired chateau in the late 1980s and restored it to its former glory.
The renovations included the revealing of the original Renaissance ceiling and wall paintings. Hamlyn also kept the pierres dorees stone, original dry moat, impressive towers and the dramatic drawbridge entrance. The Château de Bagnols is home to a Michelin-rated restaurant, Salle de Gardes, that’s run by Head Chef Jean Alexandre Ouaratta. (http://www.chateaudebagnols.com/home.php)
Cliveden House | Buckinghamshire, England
When you can’t book a room at Buckingham Palace, Cliveden House is the next best thing. The Italianate estate on the banks of the River Thames was built in 1666 and was home to three Dukes, the First Earl of Orkney, the Astor family and Frederick, Prince of Wales. It is rumored that Queen Victoria loved Cliveden and often visited for afternoon tea.
The estate is 375 acres with a 4-acre formal garden at the south, one of the largest in Europe. This garden features seasonal flowers, intricately shaped topiaries, Japanese-style Water Garden, Rose Garden and fruit-bearing trees. Spend an afternoon in the maze made of yew trees, tour the garden buildings and admire the collection of sculptures. Enjoy a meal at The Terrace after a day on the water from one of the five vintage Slipper launches. (http://www.clivedenhouse.co.uk/)
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