Why not indulge in a royal weekend this summer? Afterall, the Czech Republic is the second most castle-dense country in the world. We asked Harriet Landseer, author of Castles, Country Houses and Other Monuments to suggest summertime castle and chateau stays for a range of budgets and interests:
Chateau Mcely is a luxurious property with fabulous food conveniently located to Prague. For those looking for something new but similarly indulgent, Chateau Herálec is a good option. Located in Vysocina, the 5-star boutique property has 19 rooms and suites and posh amenities that make it the perfect place to wind down. The country’s only L’Occitane spa offers massage and beauty treatments, a pool and a Finnish sauna. Kids are welcome too, there’s a special family suite available, plus a playground, cinema and babysitting service.
Another family friendly stay recommended by Landseer is Zámek Hostacov, located between Kutná Hora and Havlíuv Brod.
“It’s really affordable, they have massive rooms, a library, cinema, and the food is great,” she says. “It’s my top tip for families.”
Another good choice for a stay with kids is Svojanov, a medieval castle that is also ideal for groups, couples or individuals, says Landseer. It is actually the only castle in the country in which the architecture ranges from Gothic Empire to the 19th century.
Typically, “you just can’t go and stay in one of these,” she says of the unique castle. Other intriguing aspects of the castle include the Cameroon goats which act as shrub and lawn tenders as well as an aviary and a variety of cultural programs throughout the summer months.
Central Bohemia is resplendent with castle stays. Moving a bit closer to our century, Chateau Kotěra is a must for 20th-century art and architecture lovers. The chateau, built by architect Jan Kotera is enough of a draw, but the interior is furnished with pieces designed by Kotera’s contemporaries.
“The owner is a huge collector from that period,” Landseer said. “It’s a good stay and you are surrounded by masterpieces of furniture and ceramics. There’s an outdoor pool and tennis courts, plus great cycling. Design-wise it’s exciting and the food is excellent.”
The chateau is situated in the middle of an English-style park and the restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine.
There’s more for the art-lovers-who-want-to-stay-in-a-castle crowd. Chateau Trebešice combines a Renaissance building with contemporary art decor. Located a few miles from Kutná Hora, the owners have reconstructed the chateau and now invite artists for residences; works are designed and donated to the chateau so the grounds are something of an ongoing exhibition.
Moravia boasts a few castle stays of its own and if you are a wine lover, going there is a must. Chateau Cejkovice is a former Gothic fortress, but sits in the middle of Moravian wine country. The rooms are sparse, but the recreational options in the area include wine biking routes, Moravian folk festivals, vineyard tours, and, of course, plentiful opportunities for tastings. Staying in Cejkovice means you get the charm of a little village in close proximity to Mikulov and the Valtice-Ledice area.
If you’d like to get a group together for a bit of a different weekend away, the entire Chateau Luka is available for rent. The capacity is 14 guests and the owners can arrange for a chef to prepare your meals. Not far from Prague, the chateau is set amidst a 19-hectare park.
Landseer’s initial inspiration for her book came from discussions with friends, all who had their own lists of great chateaus to sleep or eat at across the country. Her final impetus came from the failure though of one of her favorite places.
“It was in Kromeíž, a Czech couple had got their family’s chateau back in restitution,” she said. “They did it up beautifully, they were cooking beautifully and then they closed. They didn’t know how to promote and market it. I said I need to shine a spotlight on these lovely places.”
While some of these castle stays are a bit pricey, you will certainly enjoy memorable accommodation and tasty food. Others are more affordable and low-key, but all have the added allure of stepping back in time and the chance for some royal selfies.