We often get caught up in the new and now when it comes to choosing a hotel, but sometimes it’s worth taking a look back at more unapologetically lavish times.
Travelling in style used to mean opulent, over-the-top glamour and romanticism, not sharp, modern, and buzzy. This summer is prime time to try out the former in place of the latter. In fact, palace getaways straight from the itineraries of 17th- and 18th-century royalty are much more attainable, and pleasantly unexpected, than one might initially assume. Here are the palace residences turned hotel properties to book now and live, at least for a little while, like a real king or queen in a far-off land.
This majestic 17th-century palace with more than 300 rooms is located on the shores of the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul. Once a home for the sultans of the Ottoman Empire, it was converted into a hotel in 1991. The interiors reflect the lavish Baroque styles of the old empire, while the outside boasts a giant pool and garden area overlooking the water.
Aman at Summer Palace, China
Originally built in 1750 and later reserved for the Empress Dowager Cixi, the rooms at this Aman property lie just near the East Gate of Beijing’s grand Summer Palace largely built during the Qing dynasty. Spectacular imperial gardens, ponds, and courtyards surround the hotel, which has 18 rooms and 33 suites. Aside from the gorgeous historical grounds to explore outside of your room, the Aman also offers a beautiful spa, three restaurants, a cigar bar, and a 37-seat cinema.
Taj Lake Palace, India
Floating on its own in the middle of Lake Pichola in Udaipur, this whitewashed marble palace was once the location for the Maharana Jagat Singh II’s frequent holidays. The Lake Palace was constructed in 1743 and 1744 and converted into a hotel in 1963. The rooms on this four-acre man-made island are truly fit for royalty—hand-painted wall decor, chandeliers, gilded mirrors, and artisan-crafted dark-wood furniture. One of the hotel’s highlights is the rooftop restaurant offering European cuisine and an incredible 360-degree view of the lake.
Tivoli Palácio de Seteais, Portugal
The Tivoli Palácio de Seteais offers plush rooms (30 total) and romantic accents throughout its 18th-century property. It is located in the mountain town of Sintra, a 30-minute drive from Lisbon, and has its own tennis court, landscaped gardens, and outdoor pool. There is also a decadent restaurant inside the hotel that serves a traditional Portuguese afternoon tea, as well as regular dining service with a menu that offers an upscale twist on classic local fare.
La Posta Vecchia Hotel, Italy
Housed in a 17th-century villa that was built by the Orsini family, La Posta Vecchia is situated in Italy’s coastal town of Ladispoli, about an hour away by car from Rome. The interiors reflect the ornate Renaissance style of the original space, with marble busts, gilded bed frames, and intricate tapestries. Chef Antonio Magliulo, who serves traditional Italian dishes in a setting indoors or on the patio looking out over the Tyrrhenian Sea, helms the Michelin-starred hotel restaurant, called The Cesar.