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The highest room in the tallest tower is no longer reserved for damsels in distress. Individuals traveling to foreign countries are swapping their keys at traditional luxury hotels to step back in time and experience the life of royalty.
Here are three palatial hotels to consider when enjoying international travel.
Built in 1907, the height of the Edwardian era, the Bovey Castle in Devon, England, "promises to have the ambience of a permanent house party of the 1920s and '30s," says Odalys Flores, a PR associate for VisitBritain, the national tourism board for England, Scotland and Wales. This 275-acre estate and its castle hotel are located in the middle of Dartmoor National Park, complete with a winding drive up to a grandiose gateway.
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Golf lovers on a trip to England will relish the 18-hole, par-70 golf course designed by J.F. Abercromby, one of the most acclaimed golf course designers of the last century. After a £30 million pound upgrade, the course reopened in 2004 with a picturesque front nine dotted with tight holes and water hazards, and later was used for the 2006 PGA EuroPro Tour.
Besides golf, guests can ride in a hot air balloon, become novice mixologists - learning the technique of crafting classic cocktails - or learn to play crolf, a combination of golf and croquet.
Vogue, GQ, Travel + Leisure and other magazines have recognized the Castello di Vicarello in Maremma, Italy, as one of the best hotels and spas in the world. In addition to the relaxing atmosphere, luxurious spa retreat and panoramic views of Tuscany, the owners of the 12th-century castle cook every meal in an organic, traditionally Tuscan manner. The ingredients are always fresh: eggs from the chicken coop, produce from the garden, olive oil and bath soaps made from the olive grove, and meat butchered from the wild boar and venison hunted in a neighboring estate.
The Ashford Castle in County Mayo, Ireland, which opened as a hotel in 1939, was built in 1228 and boasts a rich history of kings, princes and U.S. presidents. This Celtic castle hotel was visited by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and has even passed through the hands of Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness, who extended the estate to a total 26,000 acres.
Boasting the architectural styles of both a Norman castle and a French chateau, the Ashford has been recognized as the best hotel and resort in Ireland by Condé Nast Traveler in 2012.
When planning international travel to Europe, there are many different expenses to consider, but often overlooked are the fees and other costs related to currency exchange rates when money transfers are made using a credit card or through bank-managed transfers to foreign countries. It's frequently considered an unavoidable expense, but there is an alternative. When individuals rely on the services of a trusted online foreign exchange service, it's possible to pay in foreign currencies for a low fee and with total transparency.
Vacationing like royalty should be on everyone's bucket list, whether they're traveling to Italy, Wales, Germany or even New York (yes, New York City has castles, too). So, before booking a traditional room at a lavish hotel, consider reserving a royal suite in a converted castle to have a more interesting, memorable experience.
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