As London prepares for King Charles III’s coronation—May 6, as if anyone could ever forget—the hotels have been booked solid, concert tickets have been reserved, and shops have ordered extra inventory of Highgrove organic single malt, the King’s favorite spirit. But one needn’t line up along the Mall to mark the moment in style. Instead, why not flee the madness and escape to one of his favorite hotels around the world?
Hotel Walserhof Klosters, Switzerland
A skilled skier, Charles discovered no-frills Klosters in 1978, when he first visited with then girlfriend Lady Sarah Spencer, Princess Diana’s sister (ahem). In the 45 years since, he’s slalomed in annually, staying at this photogenic, straight-out-of-Heidi chalet hotel with a Michelin-star restaurant (though the King actually prefers to eat rustic fare at nearby Hotel Wynegg, said its owner, reminiscing about the time Charles threw fondue bread cubes at the Queen of Norway, at the next table). During one Klosters trip in 1988, an avalanche hit, injuring Charles and killing his close friend Major Hugh Lindsay. Diana vowed never to return, but Charles continues to vacation here to this day.
Valea Zalanului GuesthouseS, Viscri, Romania
So why does King Charles III own a holiday home in Transylvania? Royal connections. The new King is the great-grandson 16 times removed to Vlad the Impaler, and he has a fascination with the country’s preserved-in-time landscapes and villages. On one walking trip to idyllic Viscri, a village saved from destruction at the hands of the Ceaușescu regime, thanks in part to Charles’s pleas and preservation work in the 1980s, he bought a picturesque farmhouse. When the King is not in residence, members of the public are able to rent rooms. With an outdoor pool and hot tub, antiques in every room, and complimentary Transylvanian brandy on arrival, the room rate of $117 is positively proletarian.
Half Moon resort, Jamaica
The King is reported to travel everywhere with his own bed, toilet seat, and even Kleenex Velvet paper (along with two paintings of Scottish landscapes). But it’s safe to assume that he doesn’t really need all of that when he checks into Half Moon, an extravagant five-star hotel in Montego Bay where Therapedic mattresses are found in every suite and cottage. The hotel’s works of art include a striking, 1966 black-and-white photo of the King (wearing a dark, tailored suit despite the raging heat) on one of his stays.
The Granary Lodge, Highlands, Scotland
As a young boy, Charles spent summer holidays at the 1573 Castle of Mey, in Caithness, a Scottish estate then owned by the Queen Mother. Despite the fact she’d reportedly bought the semi-derelict pile for less than $120 in the 1950s, and that Princess Margaret nicknamed it “Mummy’s drafty castle,” Charles can’t get enough of the place and still holidays there each summer. He even suggested that the castle’s former granary store be opened to the public as a luxury 10-room B&B, which was achieved shortly following the Queen Mother’s death. Photographs of the royal family on vacation hang in the hallways.
With three picturesque stone cottages, a Grade II–listed barn, a slate-roofed main house, 192 acres, and purple hollyhocks in the garden, no wonder Charles fell for Llwynywermod, in Carmarthenshire, when he first visited it, in 2007. Rumor has it he’d been searching for the perfect home in the land of his investiture for more than 40 years. It’s such a special place for Charles that he stayed there after the death of his father, seeking out a place to reflect in solitude. The converted barn on the grounds are available to rent when not in use by the royals.
Mount Athos, Northern Aegean, Greece
Charles enjoys the occasional back-to-basics pilgrimages to Mount Athos, where a clutch of cliffside monasteries offers guests quiet contemplation. Only a strictly limited number of men are allowed into these hallowed monasteries, and all of them—even heads of state—must stay for the prescribed three-night stay. Women will have to do with catching a glimpse from a boat on the Aegean Sea on an Athos cruise.
Ballyvolane House, County Cork, Ireland
Charles and Camilla stayed at the family-owned, six-bedroom Georgian manor Ballyvolane during their official tour of Ireland in 2018. Dinky and discreet, it’s exactly the sort of place that suits a royal like Charles. Sure enough, the couple loved their time here, giving Ballyvolane a bottle of Highgrove Organic gin and accepting a present in return: Bertha’s Revenge small-batch gin, made in Ballyvolane’s distillery. We’re guessing Ballyvolane’s in-house dogs were a hit with the couple, too: the dogs are so popular they have their own Instagram account.
During their 2019 Caribbean tour, Charles and Camilla stayed in Barbados, and rented the Greensleeves villa on Gibbs Beach in St. Peter that is said to be owned by Hans Rausing, the Tetra Pak heir. With eight bedrooms, a cottage, swimming pool, tennis court, cinema, and private beach, it’s the most expensive accommodation in this list, starting at $99,059 for a seven-night stay. Those with more modest means may consider the Coral Reef Club hotel nearby, where the King hosted an event on the same trip that drew Lionel Richie and Tom Jones.
Dolphin House, Tresco, Cornwall
Technically speaking, this picture-postcard cottage now belongs to William, who inherited the Duchy of Cornwall estate when his father ascended to the throne. What a win: the stunning Isles of Scilly—an archipelago of sandy, car-free, palm-strewn specks off the Cornish coast—form a big chunk of the Duchy. Dolphin House, on Tresco Island, once hosted Charles and Diana on family holidays. In more recent years, William spent time here during the pandemic with Catherine and the children. Those looking for something less lavish might try another one of the royal-owned rentals in the Scillies, some of which start at $109 per night.
And if your heart is set on London …
As of press time, King Charles III’s favorite London hotels are entirely sold out over the weekend of his coronation. But for those set on staying in one of His Maj’s favorite hotels in the future—we get it—start with Claridge’s, chosen by Charles and Diana for their wedding reception, where it’s said they danced the conga. Then there’s the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, where the Duke of Edinburgh would often take a young Prince Charles and Princess Anne to tea. (The Queen learned to dance in its ballroom.) And last, but by no means least, is the Savoy. After hosting countless private events for the royal family in its 118-year history, the hotel closed for an almighty refurb in 2007. Who performed the reopening of the grande dame three years later? Charles himself.
Katie Bowman is the editor of Family Traveller, a contributor to The Times of London and The Sunday Times, and the editor of Amazing Places: 200 Extraordinary Destinations