I have a very long list of places I want to visit, things I want to do, places I want to see. Some of the hotels I’ve listed below look so magical they could be from a dream. A Ferngully, Fairy, Hobbit-ish, Royal, Medieval dream. It may be quite some time before I have the opportunity to visit these wistful locations, but if you want to treat your inner fairy princess, check out these beautiful hotels for your next vacation.
The Montaña Mágica Lodge or Magic Mountain Hotel
How beautiful is this place?! This picturesque hotel is built in the shape of a volcano with water spouting from the top feeding the ferns, moss, and plant-life as the water makes its way down. Everything used to create this magical space is environmentally friendly and local artisans were brought in to construct the beautiful interiors. The hotel was inspired by myths that spirits protected a magical mountain in the forest, and once you made the climb to the top of the mountain, your dreams would come true.
It is apparently a bit of a trek through the rainforest to get out here, but I have no doubts that the trek itself would be incredible.
Thorngrove Manor Hotel
If the Fairy Godmothers from Sleeping Beauty had a home, this would be it. Originally built as part of a vineyard, this romantic hotel is located in the oldest wine producing regions of Australia. Did you catch that? Wine… Lots of wine. Check out their website for more pictures of this gorgeous hotel.
Located in West Sussex, Amberley Castle was converted into a hotel in 1989. Some of its famous visitors include King Henry VIII in 1526, when he came to discuss his future divorce from Catherine of Aragon, and Queen Elizabeth II in 1945. The hotel sits on about 12 acres with gorgeous gardens, a professional golf course, and medieval stonework. If ever you want to feel like Natalie Dormer’s version of Anne Boleyn (from The Tudors), a walk through this hotel might do the trick.
I couldn’t have a piece about magical places and not include Cinderella’s Castle. Can you stay here? Not really. Few people manage to win a night’s stay, and others are celebrities that have probably managed to make Disney A LOT of money. Hopefully one day, I manage to make Disney a lot of money so I can pretend to be a Disney princess for one night (come on, you would too). I would probably walk away from the suite with hundreds of pictures. This is Disney, so the details are most definitely impeccable.
It didn’t take me any time at all to know that the next travel post was going to be about the Scottish Highlands (since that’s where I’d go tomorrow if I could). But after seeing some friends post about their trip to Rome last week, I remembered, ‘I was there too!’ I will definitely be revisiting Scotland on this page again, but for now, I wanted to take you along for a little chunk of my Italian Adventure.
My parents had already been working in Rome for a week when I decided to join their trip, so most of my time running around was spent alone, which was actually fantastic! I usually started my day around 8 am when my parents headed off to work and walked close to 10 miles each day (thank you, Tieks). I was incredibly sick during this trip, (more on that later) so I ran around as much as I could until late afternoon when I would try to nap and recharge, then was up again for dinner and some late night sightseeing.
I am obsessed with history so being in a city like Rome was an absolute dream. My first day, I found a map and marked down all the locations I HAD to see during the week. I planned out a bit of a path to follow so I could walk a few of the sites each day and have plenty of time to find treasures along the way. I like to stay off the beaten path and this is a place where that rewards you greatly.
The places I planned to see my first day were the Castel Sant’Angelo, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, and the Altare della Patria (or Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II).
The start of my day, I passed by the Vatican on the way to Castel Sant Angelo. Located on the right bank of the Tiber River, the castle was originally commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian between 134 and 139 AD as a mausoleum for himself and his family. If you’re like me, (have an active imagination and aren’t the biggest fan of closed spaces) steer clear of the interior corridor, pathway, spiral walkway of terror. At one point while walking downwards expecting to see the end, all I saw in both directions was stone and brick. Of course this is when my brain started screaming, ‘what if this building collapsed at this very moment?’ (I told you, active imagination). After a moment of calm breathing, I took a quick picture and walked (slow run) my way back, spending the rest of my time checking out the upper levels.
On my way to my next stop, I passed by the Palazzo di Giustizia, the highest court of appeals in Italy. You can’t miss it. The build started in 1888, and restorations of the foundation unearthed several archaeological finds in 1970.
Piazza Navona was once a competition arena and today is a space for vendors to display paintings and other works of art for sale. More than that, in every direction is beautiful architecture, sculptures, and the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi. When I arrived wanting pictures, the fountains in the space were being cleaned so I circled back on another day with my mum and dad and left with some gorgeous artwork.
I don’t remember too much from my first trip to Rome when I was younger, but what always stuck out in my mind was the Pantheon. Even when I had no idea what this building was, I was in complete awe. Commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (years after Marc Antony and Julius Ceasar died), the Roman Temple is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome almost two thousand years after it was built.
The Altare della Patria is a National Monument built in honour of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy. Like many other buildings in the city of Rome, it is enormous and made with incredible detail.
Rome is such a phenomenal city in so many ways, and this was all seen in only one day. You can be minding your own business and find yourself standing before an archaeological dig of ancient ruins. Stay tuned for my time in the Vatican Museum and my walk through the Palatine.