In the Lap of Luxury: 10 Grand Places to Lay your Head this Valentines Day

Sometimes it's good to get out and rough it, but sometimes it's nice to appreciate the finer things, especially when it comes to showing your lover some romantic appreciation come Valentines Day.  For those just those kinds of times we're created a list of some uniquely grand places to stay:  

Not just the most luxurious hotels, this list includes castle hotels and towers, and forts you can rent for a temporary regal seat or an intimate love nest for two.

This Valentines make her queen of your own 15th Century Corsican castle, at La Tour de Calanca, an idyllic hideaway for two overlooking a private sandy bay and miles of blue ocean. The design runs to a drawbridge and battlements, but still manages to be the perfect place to bring your lover for meals for two on the roof terrace, romantic serenading, strolls along the coast, and moonlight swims in the clear sandy cove below...etc.

Be lord and lady of the manor staying in Blickling Hall's Jacobean Tower which has been beautifully restored outside and in, and now has two luxurious bedrooms. Relaxing on the roof terrace on a fine day you're supposed to be able to see all the way to the coast, and this far from the main house you shouldn't have to worry about the ghost of Anne Boleyn, who's said to haunt Blickling Hall.

Or make him master of all he surveys from your very own fort: Ackergill Tower, Caithness, a late 15th Century fort, whose inhabitants, for the most part members of the Keith clan, spent a lot of time under siege from neighbours Clan Sinclair. After the Sinclairs, Cromwell had a crack at it as well, but Ackergill, standing sentry on a lonely bit of coast repelled him too. After all that defending, Ackergill has been lovingly restored, but so lovingly that it's now rather expensive to hire out (more than £6,500 a day), but if the price is untenable they hold weekends where several different parties stay at once, also covering the cost of a chef and staff.

Being laid siege to by Cromwell is one of the signs of the importance of a great British castle, and Amberley Castle is another with that distinction. Amberley has also hosted some of the better known royals; it used to belong to Queen Elizabeth I and Charles II was a frequent visitor. It has two tonnes worth of oak portcullis, a moat and 60 foot curtain walls and crenelated battlements that look just the medieval part, as well as 19 rooms. Each guest room is plushly decorated in 'castle' style and has its own un-castle-like jacuzzi. Other additions to Amberley include two restaurants, a golf course, tennis court and croquet grounds. Blencow Hall has also suffered under Cromwell's bombardments – his forces managed to put a big hole in one of its towers in the 1640s. The whole Grade 1 listed pile has been recently renovated to an award winning standard that has seen it labelled 'super-stylish'. From the renovations 13 bedrooms emerged - with four poster beds and generous fireplaces - a billiards room, a library, and one of the largest fireplace was remodelled into a children's hidey hole.

Thornbury Castle gives itself airs because it's laid down its hospitality for Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and you now can sleep in their bedchamber for around £300 a night. Five hundred year old Thornbury is the only Tudor castle to be made into a hotel, and though the fixtures and fittings are in the style of, the gardens are original, and that makes this a relatively affordable royal experience.

Lake Palace is a castle hotel in a different style entirely; this gorgeous marble palace appears to hover just on the surface of Udaipur’s Lake Pichola. Built on top of a small island in 1746, the structure was designed so that no land is visible beneath or around it, creating a surreal and enchanting atmosphere. It has since been converted into a luxury hotel, complete with fountains, gardens, and other palatial amenities.

Burg Bernstein's pointed orange walls and smooth rounded towers on a hill now hold ten comfortable rooms blessed with exposed beams and original fireplaces, hiding the fact that it's been under attack for most of the last thousand years. Bernstein's horrible history will appeal to some, to others the draw will be the residents remaining from the bad old days: ghosts, including a White Lady and the Count Ladislaus Almásy, the desert explorer the book 'The English Patient' is based on - and a very romantic one at that. And the owners will have you know that they're proud to keep their ghosts, thank you very much.

The only way to top historic royal builders, residents or visitors is with modern day royal owners. Unloading your bags at the Chateau de la Bourdaisière is about as close as you can get to moving into Versailles, and you might even get help with your bags from one of the friendly Broglies brothers, who own the chateau, and just happen to be princes. Future princesses take note, they're also both single, so if your Valentine doesn't work out you might try crying about it on one of their princely shoulders?  The 16th Century chateau was built by Francois I, for his mistress, and has 11 rooms and three apartments within the castle and 125 acres of park.

Not all chateaux have the accoutrements of a castle, Chateau de Mercues, for seven centuries the summer home of the Counts and Bishops of Cahors, certainly does. It's rounded towers with pointed roofs, and graceful battlements, all mounted on a rocky outcrop overlooking the river Lot and acres of vineyards, look like something a little princess would choose as her future home. Chateau de Mercues has 30 unique rooms and a restaurant serving home grown foie gras and rich truffles, accompanied by home grown vin – but like the Cahors you should expect to pay for your privileges.  But your Valentine is surely worth it aren't they.

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