Renaissance architecture, period furniture, majestic trimmed parks - the life of a château owner is enough to make you daydream. But why not live it, if just for one (or several) nights? Thanks to the Bienvenue au Château association and their concept of a château-hotel, fairytales are now possible. Canopy beds and royal tables, just a stone's throw away from the most famous Loire Valley Châteaux.
1. The Château de Marçay, four-star hotel (Marçay)
This fifteenth-century fortess is home to a sumptuous four-star hotel and a gourmet restaurant. Located in the château's west wing, the rooms - decorated with Haute Epoque furniture - overlook either the Court of Honor or the park. Some even have their own private gardens and pool access, while others face the vineyards, providing an irresistable feeling of calm. Tours of the truffle fields and vineyards available.
Nearby Loire châteaux? The Chinon Royal Fortress (9 km) and the Château d'Azay-le-Rideau (31 km).
Budget? Double occupancy rooms starting at 195 euros per night http://www.chateaudemarcay.com
2. The Château de la Bourdaisière, three-star hotel (Montlouis-sur-Loire)
You'll love its ornate rooms, decorated with high-quality fabrics and overlooking a 55-hectare park. This château houses a dahlia greenhouse as well as a tomato conservatory (which you can then sample at the Tomato Bar, from May to September). In the evening, dine in the château's salons, where you can taste elaborate plates made with local ingredients - some even from the royal vegetable gardens! Beautiful outdoor poor, when in season.
*Nearby Loire châteaux? The Château Royal d'Amboise (9 miles) and the Château de Chaumont (20 miles)*
Budet? Double occupancy rooms starting at 110 euros per night.
3. The Château de Colliers, guest rooms (Muides-sur-Loire)
Elegant and friendly, the Château de Colliers offers five gorgeous, luminous rooms, with canopy beds and an unobstructed view of the Loire. True magic! It's also located close to the Château de Chambord, which you can discover either on foot or by bike.
*Nearby Loire châteaux? The Château de Chambord (3 miles) and the Château de Blois (11 miles).*
Budget? Double occupancy rooms starting at 136 euros per night.
4. The Château de Verrières, five-star hotel (Saumur)
With all the tranquility of the Château de Verrières, you wouldn't know you're smack dab in the middle of central Saumur! Located in a five-acre park, the château is home to a five-star hotel with ten period-decorated rooms. The details are right out of a fairytale, especially the antique clawfoot bathtubs! Ideal for discovering Saumur, the banks of the Loire, and the château.
*Nearby Loire châteaux?* The Château de Saumur (1,2 km) and l’Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud (16 km). Budget? Double occupancy rooms starting at 255 euros per night.**
5. The Domaine des Bidaudières, guest rooms (Vouvray)
Imagine Vouvray country, in the heart of vineyards and the region's famous white wine! For a timeless experience, stay at the Domaine des Bidaudières, a thirteenth-century wine-growing property that has recently undergone incredible renovations. Amazing views of the coutnryside from your window - and it has a pool, too!
*Nearby Loire châteaux? The Château Royal d’Amboise (8.5 miles), the Château du Clos-Lucé (10 miles), and the Château de Chenonceau (18.5 miles) Budget? Double occupancy room starting at 130 euros per night.*