Travel back in time by planning a stay at a castle bed and breakfast, where your fairy tale dreams are sure to come true. The following castles offer rooms and suites for rent within ancient, fortified walls -- among rolling vineyards, medieval towns and landscaped lawns. These properties, which are located in the U.S. and Europe, are available to book on BedandBreakfast.com.
Castle (Château) Hérissaudière, Pernay, France
Owned and operated by Claudine Detilleux, this 17th-century castle is located in the heart of the Loire Valley and is 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.
Castello di Sismano, Umbria, Italy
Perched on the rolling Umbrian hills of Italy's romantic countryside, the Castle of Sismano is located in a small medieval town less than two hours north of Rome. Several of the buildings on the estate and within the town itself have been transformed to serve the needs of the bed and breakfast. The farmhouse has been divided into 11 suites highlighting traditional furnishings and modern bathrooms, while breakfast is served in what used to be the village bakery. For your evening meal, look no further than I Due Papi. This restaurant, situated in the former stables, belongs to the slow food movement and specializes in regional dishes such as grilled Chianina beefsteaks and local game cooked on the large fireplace in the dining room. You'll find an outdoor saltwater pool in the middle of the garden at the foot of the castle. Soak in its relaxing waters and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, 600 hectares of which are designated as a game reserve where you can hunt, hike, and lose yourself in the tranquil act of bird-watching.
Castello Ripa d'Orcia, San Quirico d'Orcia, Italy
Over the course of its long history, the architecture of this 13th-century castle has survived virtually unchanged. The castle itself serves as the proprietor's private residence, and fully renovated guest lodgings are contained within buildings located in the small surrounding village. The six double rooms, decorated with terracotta floors, raftered ceilings, and rustic furniture, are equipped with private bathrooms and showers. If something larger is needed, then you can stay in one of the property's eight apartments, each with a spacious sitting area and kitchenette and room enough to sleep up to four people. Within recent years, the ancient cellar has been converted into a tasting room where you can sample the estate-produced wines and extra-virgin olive oil, and the small local restaurant serves up traditional Tuscan dishes. A pool and common living room with a wide selection of books and board games are available for guests, but if a daytrip is what you're after, this bed and breakfast puts you within 30 miles of Siena, less than 15 miles from Montalcino's Brunello wine cellars, and within ten miles of the famed cheese-making region of Pienza.
Château de Buffavent, Denice, France
This small family-owned bed and breakfast is located in the southern Beaujolais region of France and dates back to the 16th century. Three guest rooms are located in the east wing of the castle and are decorated with antique furniture and wood floors. Each room is equipped with a private bathroom stocked with the essential toiletries and offers views of the garden from a private terrace. Run by Denis and Marie-Agnes Chilliet, the property also operates as a winery. Denis leads the way on all matters involving the 22 hectares of grapevines planted in different varieties, including Chardonnay and Pinot, and oversees production. Listen to him talk about his passion for wine while enjoying a tasting in the château's cellar. For her part, Marie-Agnes prepares simple meals that highlight the ingredients obtained at the local markets. Take breakfast out on the terrace and admire the beauty of the chain of Alps off in the distance. When you've finished eating, relax in the comfortable living room with its large stone fireplace, period woodwork, and pieces of art ranging from the ancient to the contemporary.
Château des Riffets, 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.
Ravenwood Castle, New Plymouth, Ohio
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.
Thornewood Castle Inn & Gardens, Lakewood, Washington
Cinema buffs may recognize this property as the haunted mansion in Stephen King's ABC television mini-series Rose Red or from its use in the Academy Award-nominated film There Will Be Blood. As one of the few private castles in the United States, this luxury inn is located on the shore of American Lake in Lakewood, Washington. It was designed by famous architect Kirtland Kelsey Cutter for Chester Thorne, one the founders of the Port of Tacoma, as a gift for his new wife Anna. Many of the materials used to construct the castle, including the hand-hewn oak staircase and medieval stained glass, were taken from an Elizabethan manor in England that Thorne had dismantled and shipped to Washington. With its 54 rooms, the castle is over 27,000 square feet in size and sits on more than four acres of land dotted with old-growth fir trees and a sunken English garden designed by John Charles Olmsted and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., the same duo who designed New York's Central Park. The ten bed and breakfast suites are equipped with a king- or queen-sized bed and private bathrooms, and some of them include a Jacuzzi and wood-burning fireplace. Given the careful attention paid to its construction, the fact that Thornewood Castle is listed on the National Register of Historic Places is no real surprise.
This article originally appeared on BedandBreakfast.com. BedandBreakfast.com is the world's most comprehensive site for discovering unique accommodations and booking bed and breakfast getaways. With more than 10,000 properties and nearly 75,000 rooms, BedandBreakfast.com connects travelers with extraordinary B&Bs, country lodges, urban inns and small hotels worldwide.