Owned and operated by Claudine Detilleux, this 17th-century castle is located in the heart of the Loire Valley and less than an hour away from Paris by TGV, France’s high-speed train. The bed and breakfast has five rooms, including three suites, which are decorated in classical French style and showcase a thoughtful mix of antique and Art Deco pieces. With unobstructed views of the grounds, you can admire the property’s immense sequoia trees through the windows in your room before taking in breakfast on the shaded terrace surrounded by sweetly scented rose bushes. You’ll feast on a generous spread of fresh fruit, toast served with eight varieties of homemade jam, pastries, and cakes sweetened with honey that was made on the premises. Afterwards, you can relax with a book on one of the buttery leather sofas in the library, take a swim in the elegant heated pool, challenge a fellow guest to a tennis match, or go hiking on the trails along the Loire. With so many different available activities, you won’t have any trouble finding something to do to pass the time.
Bretteville sur Laize, France
This square-set château was rebuilt in the 19th century atop ruins left in the wake of William the Conqueror. Situated in the center of a vast landscaped park that borders on the edge of Swiss Normandy, the property features authentic details such as period ceilings, intricate tapestries, traditional furniture, and antique four-poster beds in all of the guest rooms. The castle also offers a taste of modernity with its spacious bedrooms and suites, all with private bathrooms, and an indoor swimming pool. Perhaps more importantly, though, this bed and breakfast allows you to learn more about the historical significance of the area with its close proximity to the beaches of Normandy and the internationally known Caen-Normandy Mémorial Centre for History and Peace. This museum is dedicated to recounting the dark period of World War II and to demonstrating the lasting impact the war has had on northern France. Those who prefer the outdoors can visit the nearby facilities offering horseback riding, golf, canoeing, and, for the more adventurous, rock climbing, mountain biking, and hang gliding.
New Plymouth, OH
Styled after a 12th-century Norman castle, Ravenwood Castle is tucked away in the scenic wooded hills of southwestern Ohio. Along with innkeepers Steve and Amanda Waldron, owners Jim and Pam Reed have created a fairytale atmosphere that will make you feel as if you’re living in a land of make-believe. All of the accommodations are named after storybook characters and locations, such as the Duke’s Dungeon, decorated with faux-stone walls on the castle’s lower level, and the King Arthur Suite, with its reproduction 15th-century king-sized bed, whirlpool, and balcony overlooking the gardens. Other quirkily named lodgings include the Woodcutter’s Cottage, The Clock Tower, and the Gypsy King’s Wagon. After spending the day exploring the cliffs and gorges and hiking trails of the surrounding Hocking Hills, you can even return to the castle’s Raven’s Roost Pub to unwind with a pint. Whether meant as a romantic trip for two or as a unique vacation for family and friends, your stay at Ravenwood Castle will undoubtedly be one to remember.