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Dream Sleeps: Castle & 
 Palace Hotels of Europe

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Author: Pamela L. Barrus

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$17.95; 304 pages; 132 b&w photos

ISBN: 0-917120-16-7

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Dream Sleeps: Castle & Palace Hotels of Europe

Designed to make fairy tales come true, this book details the exciting castles and palaces in Europe that are open to the public for lodging and dining.  Using the positioning maps included for each country, readers can easily determine which hotels fit their itinerary.  All information needed to make an informed decision (driving instructions, rates, food service, family amenities, on-site recreation, nearby diversions) is included along with the basic phone and fax numbers and U.S. booking representatives.  The author, who has personally visited each hotel, includes a fascinating history for each and an enticing description of the present day facilities.

Chapter Headings:

  • Introduction
  • On the Origin of Castles and Palaces
  • Austria
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Great Britain
    • England & Wales
    • Scotland
    • Landmark Trust Properties
  • Italy
  • Portugal
  • Spain

What People are saying about this book

"For the money, you won't find a better primer on the castles and palaces of Europe. Pick up a copy before you plan your next European vacation."

--Andrea Rotondo Hospidor, GetawayWeddings.com

"The history lessons provided within the book's pages offer an added dimension to the beauty and architecture found upon first glance.  Black-and-white photographs of these stately manors add to the timelessness of their beauty." 

--Navy Times

"Dream the dreams of kings and queens."   


". . . author Pamela L. Barrus comes up with at least ten castles that do fall under the $100/night barrier for a double room."     

---Arthur Frommer

"Complete with pictures, lists of helpful phone numbers and resources, and a glossary of historical words and castle terminology, this easy to follow guide is broken down into eight countries so you can plan your vacation efficiently and easily."


Excerpt from the book:


A Fourteenth-Century Castle

West Sussex offers some of the most picture-perfect countryside in England. Meadows, hop fields, and forests nestle in rolling hills where the only movement comes from grazing sheep and roaming deer. Charming thatched-roof cottages and country pubs seem untouched by modern civilization.

Between the South Downs and the expanse of the Amberley Wildbrooks--a preserved wetland and nature reserve--the massive fortified castle of Amberley welcomes you to a genuine castle experience.

THE PAST  Obviously, security was once an important consideration here. Marauding brigands and assaulting armies never had a chance when confronted by the castle's massive, sixty-foot-high stone walls, soaring battlements, iron portcullis, and moat.

In 672 the Saxon king Caedwalla gave the lands where the castle now sits to Saint Wilfred, first bishop of Selsey. Eventually the property passed to the bishop of Chichester.

Around 1100 Bishop Ralph Luffa of Chichester embarked on an ambitious building program in Sussex. (The first cathedral of Chichester and parts of the East Wing and Small Hall at Amberley still exist.) Not much is known of the period until 1377, when King Richard II granted a license to crenellate to Bishop William Rede. The bishop then built the castle's tremendous curtain wall.

Bishops lived quite a luxurious lifestyle back then, and their persons and possessions were coveted by peasants and French pirates who came up the Arun River from the coast. These men of the cloth required serious protection. Amberley's bishops could swiftly mete out justice to any local agitators and made use of the castle's oubliette. (Only one other still exists in such good condition in England.)

Not until the Civil War did Amberley suffer the ravages of battle. When the Royalist, John Goring, who lived in the castle in 1643, declared that he wasn't going to pay any more taxes to those "odious" Roundheads, Cromwell's soldiers laid the castle's Great Hall to waste. Several years later King Charles II visited the loyal Mr. Goring at the castle. A second royal visit from this king inspired the mural in the Queen's Room, which is now the dining room.

The fifteenth duke of Norfolk bought the property in 1893 and began the long restoration work that is being continued by the present owners.

THE PRESENT   The only threatening presence here nowadays comes from the peacocks who stand sentry duty on the walls and grass-covered moat, which now serves as a croquet lawn. Through the portcullis, you enter a large courtyard where a stone walkway leads to the hotel.

Guest accommodations have come a long way from the dank oubliettes. Each uniquely decorated room bears a medieval ambiance and is named for a Sussex castle.  Proprietress Joy Cummings has furnished each with antiques, brass or four-poster beds, and fabrics in lovely shades of turquoise and terra-cotta or lilac and pale green. The Herstmonceux and Pevensey rooms each have a secret doorway leading to the battlements, and the Arundel and Amberley rooms have gas fireplaces and stunning windows set in stone recesses.  The Chichester Room, decorated in shades of deep red and blue, not only has a fireplace and beamed ceiling, but a six-foot-long four-poster bed and an enormous bathroom with an outstanding view from its oversize  whirlpool bath.

In the barrel-vaulted Queen's Room Restaurant, you can feast on classic French and traditional English cuisine served on Wedgwood china and Dartington crystal.  Lancet windows provide views of the graceful English countryside.

Amberley, Nr. Arundel, West Sussex BN18 9ND.  Tel: 011-44-1798-831-992.  Fax: 011-44-1798-831-998. 

Rooms: 15; all with bath.  Rates: Very expensive; doubles from 130; includes breakfast and tax.  Dates closed: Open all year.  Dining facilities: Restaurant.  Children: No discounts.  Facilities for disabled: None.  On-site recreation: Archery; shooting; falconry; croquet; horseback riding.  Nearby diversions: Golf; ballooning; Arundel Castle; Glyndebourne; Chichester Cathedral; Petworth House; Goodwood House.  Proprietors: Joy and Martin Cummings.  Operated as a hotel since: 1989.  U.S. representative: Josephine Barr; Small Luxury Hotels of the World; Euro-Connection. 

Directions:  From London, take A24 south.  Turn west on A283 to Storrington. In Storrington, continue southwest on B2139. The castle is on the right and is marked by a very small signpost.  Try to arrive during daylight.

About the Author:

Pamela L. Barrus has traveled in over 150 countries.  For DREAM SLEEPS she visitied hundreds of European castle and palace hotels and selected only the best for inclusion.  When not on the road, Pamela lives in Laguna Beach, California.


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