Rana Good is the founder of Naïra NYC. A writer for publications such as Forbes, Travel + Leisure, Coveteur, Mens Journal and others, she created her own platform celebrating women of color.
There’s something special about checking into a former palace or castle. They’re steeped in history and typically filled with historic artifacts, giving guests an in-depth look at what it was like to live like a royal. All around the world there are formerly royal residences turned into hotels and resorts, so an aristocratic stay is just a few clicks away.
We’re counting down five ultra-luxe spots where royals have lived in the past and where, when you visit, you’ll feel like the regal being you truly are.
1. Villa Sola Cabiati, Italy
Famously beautiful Lake Como has an architectural jewel flanking its mesmerizing blue waters. Belle-époque Villa Sola Cabiati has been passed through noble families in Lombardy for generations and the property stuns with floor-to-ceiling Italian art that makes many museums pale in comparison. In addition to the stunning décor that dates back hundreds of years, the service you will experience at Villa Cabiati will truly put your royal vibes into overdrive. This villa is available on an exclusive basis and comes with a daily à la carte breakfast, 24-hour butler service, a dedicated chambermaid and housekeeper, and a private dock for boats. This is the perfect place to live in luxury with a well-curated group of friends. Also, if for some reason you get royal cabin fever, the villa belongs to Grand Hotel Tremezzo so you can head there for dinner or use their facilities such as the gym and spa. (Also pictured above)
2. Çırağan Palace, Turkey
If a royal residence isn’t enough for you, how about an imperial palace? That’s exactly what the Çırağan Palace in Istanbul used to be, but now it’s a very opulent place where you can lay your head at night. Book one of their Palace suites to get the full Ottoman-era royal ambiance with adorned ceilings, ornate textiles and tasteful antiques. It’s the only hotel in Istanbul that’s accessible by car, helicopter and yacht if you like to keep your mode of transportation flexible. The suites are located in their own building which has its own private entrance to avoid any shoulder-rubbing with the commoners.
3. Taj Lake Palace, India
This awe-inspiring residence was built in 1746 as the pleasure palace of Maharana Jagat Singh II. A marvel of black and white marble, this palace is completely surrounded by water and located in Lake Pichola in Udaipur. The royal suites are as majestic as you would expect, offering views of the Aravallis, the oldest fold mountains in the world stretching through Rajasthan. There’s also an attached terrace to enjoy morning tea or coffee. The place is so alluring with its luxurious location and amenities that many celebrities have stayed here, and you should too.
4. Royal Mansour, Morocco
There’s luxury, and then there’s the Royal Mansour. Here you will experience the highest level of service, except you won’t even see it happening. An underground system of tunnels exists in each of the guest riads, accessed only by staff, which ensures absolute privacy and quiet. Each of the 53 rooms (more like homes with multiple floors) comes with a rooftop pool so you don’t even need to share your swim session with others.
5. Bovey Castle, England
If you want to feel like a British royal, Bovey Castle in Devon will suit your exquisite taste. The estate is set on 275 acres of beautiful countryside and rolling valleys and the residence features giant stone fireplaces, luxe mahogany staircases and a stellar spa. There’s also an outstanding fine dining restaurant called Great Western where you wouldn’t be amiss to arrive in a tux or gown — dressing up is highly encouraged.