America’s oldest hotel. A colossal Irish castle. A remote Scottish retreat. The best hotels are the ones with walls that can talk, with centuries worth of history behind them. With exquisite design, superb hospitality and plenty of secrets to uncover, these five historical hotels make the most extraordinary destinations. Best of all, you can stay at them all on a Trafalgar trip.
Ashford Castle – Ireland
Set on the banks of Loch Corrib, Irish estates don’t get much grander than Ashford Castle. This stately dwelling in 350-acre grounds has been lovingly and luxuriously restored to create a palatial hotel fit for royalty. Dating to the 12th century, Ashford Castle has a rich history you can feel as you stroll through its elegant hallways. Gorgeous surrounds aside, the castle also offers plenty of unusual activities; you can try your hand at falconry at Ireland’s oldest falconry school, go clay pigeon shooting or set off on a horse riding trail through the ancient forest.
Stay at Ashford Castle on: Iconic Ireland and Ashford Castle
Las Casas de la Juderia – Seville, Spain
Seville’s Las Casas de la Juderia is a city within a city; a complex of 27 houses, carefully restored to their 15th century glory. Authentically Spanish, the family-run hotel opened in 1992, and is all labyrinthine passageways, Moorish-style courtyards and characterful buildings, including a former palace. Columbus’ men even stayed here upon returning from America. Rooms feature antique furniture and quirky touches.
Stay at Las Casas de la Judiera on: Best of Spain
Omni Parker Hotel – Boston, USA
Few hotels boast their own in-house historians, but Omni Parker Hotel has a past captivating enough to need one. Established in 1855, it’s the oldest continually operating hotel in the States. With dark wood panelled walls, twinkling chandeliers and timeworn artefacts, it whisks you back to a bygone era when writers and creatives would congregate over an Old Fashioned. Past guests include everyone from Jane Fonda to Mohammed Ali.
Stay at Omni Parker Hotel on: East Coast USA and Canada
Laggan Gaskmore – The Highlands, Scotland
Set in acres of rolling Scottish Highlands, Laggan Gaskmore is a former country manor-turned guesthouse with 360-degree views. A tranquil retreat with an abundance of wildlife on the doorstop, it’s the perfect place to hunker down with a hot toddy in front of the roaring fireplace and watch hares hop by outside.
Stay at Laggan Gaskmore on: Best of Scotland
Hotel Geiranger – Norway
On the shores of a spectacular fjord, at the foot of dizzying, snow-capped mountains, Hotel Geiranger couldn’t be in a more picturesque location if it tried. Waterfalls cascade down the mountainside amid lush greenery. The historic hotel dates back to 1860 but has been enhanced with a contemporary extension offering incredible fjord vistas from the bedrooms’ floor-to-ceiling windows.
Stay at Hotel Gerainger on: Best of Norway
Lead image © Red Carnation Hotels