Island-lovers looking to indulge in the Irish castle-turned-hotel fantasy have only one—remarkable—choice. Waterford Castle is situated on its own island: a spit of land in the River Suir, about 2 miles downstream from the crystal-famous southern Irish city of Waterford. Simply called The Island, its 300-acre spread is the castle hotel’s private dominion.
Amenities include bridal and bicycle paths, and an 18- hole golf course designed by Irish pro Des Smyth, encouraging guests to leave mainland reality behind if only for a few days of other-worldly relaxation. And with just nineteen seigniorial rooms and suites, guests share their lordly domain with only a handful of other castaways.
Built on Norman foundations that date back some 800 years, the 18th-century castle comes complete with authentic turrets, gargoyles, and battlements. Pass through massive studded oak doors to the grand hallway where an enormous coat-of-arms has been woven into a circular carpet. Baronial sitting rooms and antique-filled suites with soothing views over the grounds and water make guests feel very far indeed from the madding crowd.