Castle in Tuscany, Italy
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Once Upon a Time: 7 Fairy-Tale Estates to Capture the Imagination

Luxury Defined presents a collection of fairy-tale castles, palaces, and mansion houses full of mystery, magic, and charm

Old or new, great or small, every home has its own unique charm, but some are, by their very nature—call them what you will—spellbinding, magical . . . enchanting. Graced with beauty, artistry, and whimsy in equal measure, such homes stir the senses. 

In this spirit, Luxury Defined offers a trove of properties oozing with mystery and charm.

Choose from an Englishman’s castle dreamt up as a monument to Romanticism, or a regent’s palace built in homage to the architectural traditions of the East.

Or perhaps your vision of enchantment is a Gothic castle with a moat and drawbridge. Far beyond the ordinary, these homes capture our imaginations, transporting us to the pages of a fairy tale. 

1. The Castle of Vincigliata in Fiesole, Tuscany, Italy 

Castle in Tuscany, Italy
The Castle of Vincigliata is best described in the words of Henry James: “This elaborate piece of imitation has no superficial use; but, even if it were less complete, less successful, less brilliant, I should feel a reflective kindness for it. So handsome a piece of work is its own justification; it belongs to the heroics of culture.”

A historic landmark in the hills above Florence, the Castle of Vincigliata was built as a fortress in the mid-11th century. 

Its ruins were purchased in 1855 by John Temple-Leader, an enigmatic English politician, connoisseur, and author who was, as British writer Harold Acton wrote, “one of those unmistakable representatives of Albion, who took root amongst the vineyards and became part of the landscape.” Lord John hired architect Giuseppe Fancelli and the finest Florentine artisans to rebuild the castle in high Neo-Gothic style. 

Today, a monument to the Romantic temperament, it finds glorious use as a wedding venue. The castle, its ancillary structures, and grounds extend to 34.6 acres of formal Italian gardens, parkland, woodland, meadows, Sangiovese vineyards, and olive groves. 

How lovely is this property? When Queen Victoria visited in 1893, she was moved to paint a watercolor of the scene. 

2. Clonskeagh Castle in Dublin, Ireland 

Castle in Dublin, Ireland
The Fair City of Dublin is the surprising setting of this enchanting 18th-century castle, listed as an Irish national monument by the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. 

Clonskeagh Castle is a Dublin landmark. This grand, castellated mansion is hidden in plain sight on a secluded, half-acre site on Whitebeam Road, minutes from the city center. 

Built circa 1789 by Henry Jackson, an iron founder and member of the United Irishmen, Clonskeagh Castle was extended and restored in the centuries since, including its museum-grade restoration in 2019 by architect Marc Kilkenny.  

The interiors extend to 6,675 square feet across three floors. There are four grandly scaled reception rooms, seven bedrooms and five full bathrooms, (including a self-contained apartment on the garden level). Adding to the castle’s charm are its underground tunnels, secret stairwells, and two crenelated towers. 

The castle grounds include mature gardens and private parking for seven cars.  

3. Castle Bolenstein in Amsterdam, Netherlands 

Castle in the Netherlands
Castle Bolenstein, a 16th-century moated manor house, presides in pastoral splendor on the southern bank of Amsterdam’s River Vecht.

Castle Bolenstein was a knight’s manor—by decree, in 1538—which meant that it had to be enclosed and defensible. Hence the moat, which surrounds the main house, its bridged entry guarded by two fierce sphinxes. 

Here in the more relaxed 21st century, Castle Bolenstein is a turnkey sanctuary. It consists of the 15-room main house with two kitchens, an attic media lounge, and a terrace on the moat; a gardener’s house; coach house (with conservatory); deer house (currently a gym/fitness center); tennis court—and a teahouse—all situated around a landscaped garden with water features. 

All the buildings are fully furnished with upholstery, hanging and standing lighting fixtures, kitchen equipment, crockery and cutlery, glassware, rugs, beds with accessories and gym equipment. All this, just 20 minutes from Schiphol Airport, with its own mooring on the beautiful River Vecht. 

4. Royal Grand Regent in Pattaya, Thailand 

Castle in Thailand
The timeless classical architecture of the East inspires the supremely contemplative atmosphere of the Royal Grand Regent complex, while its lavishly finished interior spaces and amenities invite luxurious relaxation and contemporary comforts.

The majesty and beauty of Burmese, Laotian, and Lanna architecture combine to create the Royal Grand Regent. 

This unique, palatial residential complex is ensconced within idyllic tropical environs in Thailand’s Chonburi province, about 60 miles southeast of Bangkok. 

The secure, walled, and gated 2.7-acre estate comprises several magnificent dwellings with 22,335 square feet of sensitively designed interior space. 

The Grand Club House provides an art gallery, dance studio, fitness suite, massage, spa, sauna, kitchen and dining suite. The Royal Convention Hall has a dining and assembly hall on the ground floor, four elegant pool villas, and a multi-pool garden with its own ornate hexagonal gazebo. 

The prestigious Siam Country Club and Pattaya Beach resort are just minutes away. 

5. Arts and Crafts-Style Manor in St Brelade, Jersey, Channel Islands

Estate in Jersey Channel Islands
This fine country manor on the island of Jersey is set amid glorious gardens with an Edwardian greenhouse, a thatched summer house, and enchanting wooded walkways.

This stately manor house in St Brelade is set within 7.5 acres of picturesque grounds, regarded among the most beautiful private gardens on the island. 

At the entrance, a long, gated driveway with ample parking for guests leads to the 10,400-square-foot main house, built circa 1912 in the Arts and Crafts style.  

The property has been restored and refurbished to exacting standards. The light-filled reception rooms are styled for grand-scale entertaining. 

The grounds complement the grandeur of the mansion perfectly. In addition to the mature formal gardens are parkland walks, a thatched summer house, a large Edwardian greenhouse, an En-Tout-Cas tennis court, and a swimming pool with changing rooms. An artist’s studio/yoga room and two-bedroom guest cottage are further amenities. 

6. Villa Fatti in Sansepolcro, Tuscany, Italy 

Tuscan castle in Italy
A jewel on the Tuscan landscape, this stately 19th-century villa is crowned by a rooftop terrace overlooking the Tiber River Valley.

Villa Fatti is a magnificent Neoclassical manor in Italy’s Tiber River Valley. The splendid five-story main house is surrounded by 10.6 acres of private parkland and formal gardens overlooking the medieval town of Sansepolcro. 

The home’s grand façade, in a striking shade of ochre, is punctuated with gabled windows, columns, and balconies. Among the original interior details are coffered ceilings adorned with frescoes, marble and parquet floors, and monumental stone fireplaces.  

The fully restored living spaces extend to more than 28,000 square feet across five levels, and include 10 bedrooms and 20 bathrooms, stately reception rooms, several offices, and a professional catering kitchen. 

The beautiful Italian gardens were restored under the supervision of architect Lucina Caravaggi. The wider grounds include a tennis court, 360 olive trees (and an olive-oil production facility), and a greenhouse. 

7. 15th-Century Listed Castle in Quercy, Haute-Garonne, France 

Castle in France
Enclosed within a private, wooded demesne in the Quercy region of southern France, this 15th-century castle is indeed a fairy-tale offering.

This romantic Renaissance castle has an enchanting, wooded setting in Causses du Quercy Régional Natural Park near the historic town of Cahors.  

The property offers around 16,145 square feet of living space among its dwellings, including the 15th-century château, which extends to nearly 6,500 square feet. 

Imposing limestone walls enclose grandly scaled rooms appointed with ornate period details, including a hand-carved stone staircase, monumental stone fireplaces, mullioned windows, flagstone floors, and 16.4-foot-high, vaulted and beamed ceilings. Stone walls and nooks provide the ideal canvas for an extensive art collection.  

The grounds encompass almost 47 acres of woodland, including 10 acres of truffle oaks. The walled French formal garden is graced with a fountain, boxwood hedges, and cypress trees. Beyond is the swimming pool and three charming outbuildings, including a windmill and watchtower.