Timeless Escapes to Feel Like an Aristocrat for a Weekend
Whether it’s a costume drama with impeccable attention to detail or a work of historical fiction highlighting the excesses of the past, the luxuries and lifestyles that were once enjoyed by the upper class, royals and aristocratic families around the world can be very seducing. While it’s impossible to rewind time and most of us don’t have billion-dollar budgets to support such lavish indulgences on an everyday basis, it is possible to soak up a bit of this past majesty while traveling. Many marvelous mansions that once belonged to wealthy and influential families have now been fully restored and are open for business.
With micro breaks among the most popular types of travel in 2019 (39%* of global travelers are planning to go on a short international break in the coming year) and 43%* of global travelers wanting to take a historic tour, why not combine these two trends and spend the weekend in an elegant mansion steeped in history? We have delved into our more than 28 million reported listings to present six timeless escapes, perfect for a little pampering in a structure that’s a sumptuous slice out of history.
George Town, Malaysia
The Cheong Fatt Tze - The Blue Mansion is a distinctive UNESCO Conservation and Heritage building and one of the most popular sights in George Town. Built in the 19th century as the private residence for the merchant Cheong Fatt Tze, the mansion was designed to incorporate the principles of Feng Shui and includes a beautiful Chinese-style courtyard. It also dons a characteristic bright blue exterior and features art nouveau stained glass throughout the property. During your stay, you can borrow a book from the mansion’s library and enjoy a lazy afternoon sitting in the tropical garden or visit another one of the city’s most popular sights, the temple of Kek Lok Si, Malaysia’s largest Buddhist temple.
Step back in time and experience authentic old world elegance at The Chanler at Cliff Walk, the only accommodation located on Newport’s famed Cliff Walk. As one of the most historic properties in New England, this elegant mansion was built by New York Congressman, John Winthrop Chanler in the early 1870s as a summer residence. The building has been through a lot of changes over the past 140+ years, and has even managed to survive a big fire in 1944 that damaged parts of the third floor. Today this stunning property is a peaceful sanctuary for travelers who want to unwind overlooking the sparkling waters of the Atlantic or stroll through the manicured gardens that surround this gracious getaway.
The historic mansion of Inkaterra La Casona Relais & Chateaux, with its antique chandeliers, marble furnishings and baroque style columns, was once the training ground of an elite army of Inca warriors. The 16th-century manor is in the heart of the ancient city of Cusco, gateway to the impressive Incan citadel of Machu Picchu, one of the seven modern wonders of the world. If you’re a real history buff and simply sleeping inside this structure’s ancient walls isn’t enough to sate your curiosity or burgeoning sense of adventure, weave your way through the city’s narrow, steep cobblestone streets and climb your way up the surrounding hills for epic views of the Andes mountains and the sun rising (or setting) over Cusco’s panorama of terracotta-tiled rooftops.
Originally built in 1762 for an aristocratic family on the Greek island of Spetses, the typical stone mansion where Mare Monte Luxury Suites is now located has been transformed into separate luxurious apartments with traditional wooden ceilings and sophisticated furnishings. This small island is one of the most charming places in Greece and home to many traditional aristocratic mansions such as this – spectacular stately homes that were heavily influenced by Venetian architecture. Rich in naval history and tradition, this cosmopolitan island is a popular weekend destination for Athenians. With its horse-drawn carriages, long promenades, secluded beaches and yacht marinas, the whole island has an air of bygone elegance.
The Gothic mansion of De Vere Tortworth Court is surrounded by tranquil parkland on the edge of the Cotswolds. This Grade II* Listed building has one of Britain's finest arboretums and includes 300 rare and protected trees across 30 acres, perfect for leisurely, aristocratic morning strolls. The mansion was built between 1848 and 1853 for the Ducie family and during World War II it was used as a naval training base. If you want to enjoy the British summer in all its glory, take your afternoon tea on the terrace or if the weather doesn't permit it, savor some scrumptious bites served under the property’s impressive 60-foot high atrium.
Built in 1913, Rantalinna Boutique Hotel sits on top of a hill on the shores of Lake Saimaa and is the former residence of a member of the Romanov family. Today this historic castle has retained much of its opulence and original décor, offering you the opportunity to relive the glorious days of this majestic building’s imperial past. Whether enjoying a leisurely breakfast in the formal dining room or taking advantage of the long Finnish summer days with a late dinner on the lawn, fresh air and outdoor activities are the name of the game at this rural royal retreat.
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 21,500 respondents, across 29 different markets (including 1,000 respondents from Australia, Brazil, China, Columbia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, South Korea, Spain, the US, the UK, Russia, and 500 respondents from Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan, and Thailand). In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have travelled at least once in 2018, be planning at least one trip for 2019 and be either the primary decision maker or involved in the decision making of their travel. The survey was taken online and took place in August 2018.