10 fairytale castles you can stay in IRL to feel like royalty: From the Aman Summer Palace in Beijing and the Six Senses Castle in Rajasthan, to Cliveden House where Meghan Markle and Princess Diana once stayed

Located in the Dalian region of China, this luxury retreat, called The Castle Hotel, is located in a historic site on Lotus Mountain, overlooking Xinghai Bay and the Yellow Sea. This Bavarian-inspired luxury hotel looks like it was straight out of a Disney movie and combines architecture with European, Russian, Japanese and Chinese influences, while guests can choose between the Knight Suite or the regal-looking Noble Suite.

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2. Clifden House – Berkshire, England

Cliveden House welcomed Meghan Markle. Image: Clifden House/Facebook
The most famous royal site in the United Kingdom It is undoubtedly Buckingham PalaceBut outside central London there are a host of royal palaces you can stay in too. Located in Berkshire and spread across 150 hectares, this privately owned residence dates back over 350 years and was originally built in 1666 by the 2nd Duke of Buckingham as a gift for his mistress. With hotel brand Relais & Châteaux now at the helm, the space has welcomed royal guests including Meghan Markle, the late Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth.

3. Alila Fort Bishangarh – Rajasthan, India

Alila Fort Bishangarh dates back more than two centuries. Photo: Alila Fort Bishangarh/Facebook

With stunning views of the Rajasthan landscape, Alila Fort Bishangarh is a 233-year-old warrior center steeped in history and heritage. From the traditional Jaipur Gharana architecture and interiors to horseback riding excursions and Silk Road-inspired menus, every detail is designed to make you feel like royalty.

4. Highland Castle – New York, USA

Highland Castle in New York. Photo: Highland Castle

It may seem strange to find a New York castle on this list, but this getaway in Bolton Landing has been praised for its ability to provide a true fairytale experience for everyone. It has three mountaintop castles – within walking distance of each other – all overlooking Lake George, and is equipped with medieval-like interiors and features. Guests are encouraged to make the most of the great outdoor adventures on offer, such as biking, horseback riding, kayaking and boat rentals.

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5. Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

The Mandarin Oriental hotel in Abu Dhabi looks like something out of an Arabian fairytale. Photo: Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental, Abu Dhabi/Facebook

Emirates Palace, Mandarin Oriental, sits proudly on the tip of the coast of the UAE capital, looking like something out of an Arabic folklore book. As the sun sets, this magnificent space displays an ethereal rainbow effect on the main dome. Originally managed by Kempinski upon its opening, it is home to a concert hall that has seen international names such as Herbie Hancock, Yo-Yo Ma and Lang Lang perform for members of the UAE royal family.

6. Chateau Saint-Martin & Spa – Provence, France

Château Saint-Martin & Spa is located in the south of France. Photo: Chateau Saint Martin & Spa/Facebook

Tucked away in the south of France, this charming retreat promises rolling green hills and views all the way to the Mediterranean coast. Part of the Oetker Collection, this picturesque hotel has a unique heritage too, having once served as a Knight Templar castle dating back to the 12th century. You can expect the best in five-star hospitality, while Spa Saint-Martin by La Prairie and Michelin-starred dining are reason enough to book now, fancy or not.

7. Ciran Palace Kempinski – Istanbul, Türkiye

Chiran Palace Kempinski can be reached by boat, helicopter or car. Photo: Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul/Facebook

Dubbed the “Grand Lady of the Bosphorus,” Shiran Palace Kempinski is claimed to be the only Ottoman imperial palace and five-star luxury hotel in the region. Merging historical grandeur with modern influences, this unique waterfront hotel was once home to the Ottoman Sultans and can be accessed by private boat, helicopter or car, for the ultimate in exclusivity that the royals will surely approve of.

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8. Hotel Schloss Thanig – Gromping, Austria

Hotel Schloss Thanig in Gromping, Austria. Photo: Hotel Schloss Thanig

Located within the UNESCO World Heritage-listed region of Schladming-Dachstein, Schloss Thannegg is an ideal, romantic getaway that takes you away from the noise of the city. Guests staying at this medieval castle dating back to the 12th century can make the most of the wellness facilities, including a bio-sauna, infrared cabin and beauty treatments.

9. Fort of Six Senses Burwara – Rajasthan, India

Six Senses Fort Barwara opens in 2021. Image: Six Senses

Also located in Rajasthan, Six Senses Fort Barwara opened in late 2021 and has only recently gained the international attention it deserves. Originally owned by Rajasthan’s royal family, built in the 14th century, this luxurious and sustainable estate is located about a three-hour drive from Jaipur. It’s also 30 minutes away from Ranthambore National Park, where you can join a safari and see wild tigers.

10. Aman Summer Palace – Beijing, China

Aman Summer Palace in Beijing. Image: Aman

This stunning resort in Beijing hosted guests of Empress Dowager Cixi for more than a century during the Qing Dynasty. Surrounded by peaceful gardens, the historic property features elegantly appointed rooms and suites located in suites. It is located just steps from the UNESCO-protected grounds of the Summer Palace.

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