- 1 Nottoway Plantation & Resort, White Castle, LA
- 2 The Chanler at Cliff Walk, Newport, RI
- 3 Wentworth Mansion, Charleston, SC
- 4 Oheka Castle, Huntington, NY
- 5 The Inn at Houmas House Plantation and Gardens, Darrow, LA
- 6 Norumbega Inn, Camden, ME
- 7 Keswick Hall, Keswick, VA
- 8 The Inn on Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC
8 Best Castle and Mansion Hotels in the U.S.
Despite a distinct lack of monarchs and royal families, the US still has its fill of historically-rich castles and architecturally-astounding mansions. So the next time you need a touch of opulence and can't afford the ticket to Europe, head for one of these regal stateside residences.
A Brooklyn-based writer and editor, Chelsea's work has appeared in Matador Network, The Huffington Post, the TripAdvisor blog, and more. When not planning her next trip, you'll usually find her drinking way too much iced coffee (always iced—she’s from New England) or bingeing a Netflix original series.
Nottoway Plantation & Resort, White Castle, LA
Forty-five minutes south of Baton Rouge, on the western bank of the slow-rolling Mississippi, Nottoway Plantation Resort sprawls out on 31 verdant acres. The Greek and Italianate manor—with it's imposing white columns and three-story rotunda—was commissioned by sugarcane tycoon John Hampden Randolph in the 1850s as he sought an extravagant private home for his wife and brood of 11 children. Cruise down the oak-lined drive today, and you’ll find that the palatial estate (the South's largest antebellum mansion to see the Civil War and still come out standing) has been renovated to welcome guests. While you can choose to bed down in the property's cottages or carriage house, opting for the main house means staying in the family’s richly-appointed chambers and being treated to Victorian four-poster beds and hand-carved Italian marble fireplaces.
The Chanler at Cliff Walk, Newport, RI
If you weren’t already aware, Newport is the East Coast's Gilded Age mansion goldmine. Summer estates like The Breakers (the Vanderbilt’s Italian Renaissance-style abode) and the Rosecliff (a Versailles-modeled number which once belonged to a silver heiress) line the streets of the Bellevue Avenue Historic District. Retire at The Chanler at Cliff Walk, and you can pretend to be a mansion owner, too. The sumptuous, antique-filled inn was built in 1873 for an Astor and comes with dramatic Atlantic Ocean views from its perch on Newport’s iconic Cliff Walk. Villas and guest rooms keep things romantic with period-appropriate furnishings, toasty fireplaces, and jacuzzi tubs.
RELATED: 7 Best Castle Hotels in Ireland
Wentworth Mansion, Charleston, SC
In Charleston’s Historic District, just minutes from King Street (the city’s main thoroughfare), the Wentworth Mansion stands almost frozen in time, a throwback to the Holy City circa 1886. Originally home to esteemed cotton tycoon Francis Silas Rodgers (and his wife and 13 heirs), the four-story Second Empire-style home—with it’s attention-drawing mansard roof—was converted to a hotel in the 1990s after a $7 million renovation. Careful to keep the mansion’s details intact, 21 spacious guest rooms still feature original Italian crystal chandeliers, hand-carved marble fireplaces, and Tiffany glass. Modern-day additions also uphold the house’s grandiose air; drop by Harleston Parlor in the afternoon and evening for wine and hors d'oeuvres and port, sherry, and brandy nightcaps.
Oheka Castle, Huntington, NY
Have you been dreaming of living through the Roaring Twenties or attending a Gold Coast mansion party since your required reading of The Great Gatsby in middle school? If so, Oheka Castle is your modern-day answer. The opulent, French Chateau-style abode is the second largest private residence in the US (behind North Carolina's Biltmore Estate), and speaks to a dreamily decadent time gone by. The stately quarters are also rich in history, having originally been the personal home of a German Wall Street tycoon, and then serving stints as a retirement home for NYC sanitation workers (yes, really), a training school for Merchant Marine radio operators, a military academy, and most recently, the shooting venue for Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" music video. No two rooms are alike, but in each of the 32 sophisticated guest rooms and suites you'll find some variation of ornate chandeliers, 100 percent Italian Egyptian cotton linens, clawfoot baths and jetted soaking tubs, and Molton Brown amenities.
The Inn at Houmas House Plantation and Gardens, Darrow, LA
Dubbed the “Crown Jewel of Louisiana’s Great River Road,” the Houmas House Plantation has exchanged hands (from indigenous Houmas Indians to sugar barons to Civil War generals to Irish businessmen, etc.) and architectural styles (Greek Revival then Italianate then Federal, etc.) practically too many times to count. But through it all, the estate has held tight to a couple of defining features: a three-story helix staircase, twin garçonnière (small 19th-century bachelor pads), and a faux-marble facade. While guest rooms aren’t found in the main house, they’re just steps away in an array of romantic cottages. Follow the property’s alley of ancient oak trees, past the magnolias and pecan trees, and you’ll find the visitor’s quarters reflect the same Southern splendor as the estate with similar architectural elements and lavish antique furnishings.
Norumbega Inn, Camden, ME
Though the Norumbega Inn has been a distinguished landmark on Camden’s Penobscot Bay since its construction in 1886, it’s wasn't always known to welcome guests. Inspired by the European estates he’d encountered overseas, original owner (and native Mainer) Joseph Stearns used the cash he’d amassed from inventing the duplex telegraph to fund his stately stone manor. Upon completion, it served as a private residence for nearly 100 years before being transitioned into an B&B by later owners. Now, each of the 11 Victorian-era rooms are individually decorated, but common features include enormous window alcoves, four-poster beds, and private bay-facing balconies. In the morning, look forward to a three-course breakfast whipped up by inn-owner/former CIA chef/Chopped winner Phil Crispo.
Keswick Hall, Keswick, VA
This 48-room country mansion—just 15 minutes from central Charlottesville, on a prestigious Pete Dye-designed golf course—was a much smaller affair in its original 1912 form. Before it even took on its current name, the estate was Villa Crawford (now Keswick’s historic North Wing)—an 8,000-square-foot, two-story Italianate-style home that over the course of a few decades, changed owners multiple times and fell into total disrepair. It wasn’t until the early 90s that Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of designer Laura Ashley, came along to give it another go at grandeur. Now expanded, spacious rooms are understated but elegant with muted palettes, luxe Frette linens, and Molton Brown bath amenities.
The Inn on Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC
Considered the crowning jewel of Asheville, the 250-room Gilded Age Biltmore sits on 8,000 acres of highly-curated gardens and meadow—all designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the guy behind NYC’s Central Park. The Blue Ridge Mountains beauty belonged to none other than George and Edith Vanderbilt, who spared no expense when it came to designing their North Carolina country mansion (see: five acres of floor space). While you can’t sleep in any of the chateau-style estate’s 250 rooms, accommodations at the Inn on Biltmore Estate (also located on the 8,000-acre property) are meant to reflect the same level of hospitality that the Vanderbilt’s guest’s received. That means relaxed but decidedly upscale rooms, an exceedingly attentive staff, unrivaled mountain views, and a complimentary shuttle that's ready to whisk you to and from the estate.
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