5-Star Spa-Historic Storybook Castle-Since my childhood days, I have been fascinated by castles and Old World mystique.
When I first saw photos of the Chateau Heralec in the Czech countryside, I was intrigued. Unlike many gray and grim old castles that are fortresses on high bluffs, the Chateau Heralec was a palatial residence beautifully renovated. As a result, this boutique, family-owned hotel retained the charm of the 19th century Romantic Period but added all the amenities of a 5-star 21st century spa. A rare treat: There was even a very large in-door swimming pool. As a result, it was the perfect destination for a tranquil spa break.
As a solo, I felt warmly welcomed! Although there are 19 rooms/apartments, when the owner greeted me by my first name, I immediately felt at home. In the dining room, there was no grimace when I said “dinner for one”.
The castle is surrounded by a park with plenty of room to walk your dog if you are traveling together to this very pet-friendly venue. While my own rescue pup was “glamping” back home, I was pleased to see dogs were welcome at the Chateau.
The façade is painted a warm cream with deep crimson accents. The Rose of Heralec and motto “Rise from the flames” on the facade reflect the site’s history dating back to the time of King Wencelas! The property in its earlier forms survived Austro-Hungarian Empire, the German Occupation and Soviet control. In the attic, busts of Lenin and Stalin and hammer and sickle were a testament to the latter and also its passing. During a part of the Chateau’s 20th-21st century it was a special boarding school from 1958-2005.
Having arrived in mid-December, this was an ideal time for the upcoming holidays. During my stay, the Chateau had its own Christmas market with mulled wine, gift items and local dishes.
The staff provided world-class service. They were very warm and welcoming. They managed to anticipate what I needed before I could even ask. Breakfast was made individually from scratch. A two page menu gave every option to start the day from trout to gingerbread. Dinner included a range of local game and dishes.
Unlike many top hotels that settle for “decorator art”, the Chateau Heralec features a “gallery concept” showcasing top Czech artists of the late 19th and early 20th century. Each room had its own artist displayed at the outside entrance. Inside the paintings were reproduced as elegant wallpaper that turned the closet and bathroom doors and headboard on the bed into a garden filled with spring flowers or other landscapes. Even the draw pulls were made to copy the “Rose of Heralec” seen on the Chateau’s grand facade.
If you would like to explore the countryside and key Renaissance towns, such as Telc and Trebic, be sure to have a car. If you aren’t looking to drive, buses are more direct and cheaper than trains.
As a solo traveler in the heart of Europe, I found a really warm sense of belonging. For your next solo destination, go to the Czech countryside for a real 21st history stay in this centuries old setting.
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