For many people, going on vacation is more than lolling on a beach, it’s a chance to learn about the culture and history of a new place. And while it’s great to explore a museum, castle or monument, for a truly iconic experience you can stay in history renting some of our favorite historic homes around the world.
Walt Disney Home | Palm Springs
He created the most magical place on earth and staying in Walt Disney’s former Midcentury home is sure to make a stay to Palm Springs, California a magical experience. Disney and his wife Lillian built the home in 1962 as a retiree’s dream desert escape. Constructed when Disney shifted from black and white films to color, it’s no surprise that the four-bedroom property pops with color.
The home was in the Disney family until 2015, and the current owner pays homage to its history with the bright décor and Disney memorabilia. Located on the Indian Canyon golf course, the property boasts mountain views and the requisite Palm Springs pool and outdoor entertainment area.
Ninna-Ji Temple | Japan
If you want to live like royalty, the UNESCO World Heritage, Ninna-Ji Temple in Kyoto, the former retreat of Japanese Emperor Uda, can be your palace for the night. InsideJapan Tours arranges one-night stays in the famous temple. The accommodations for up to five guests inside the temple are in a traditional Shourin-an house with high-end design and décor that belonged to former imperial priests.
The stay includes a private tour with a monk to the most prestigious, historical buildings of Ninna-ji, which are normally not open to the public, afternoon tea at the tea house the former emperor loved, a night visit to the temple, and a private dinner in the Emperor’s Palace with local cultural entertainment.
Villa Pandolfini | Florence
The Medici family is synonymous with Florence and at Villa Pandolfini, you can stay in the Medici family’s hunting lodge built by in the 1200s. The property has two apartments available, which were restored five years ago. Located in the Tuscan countryside, this graceful castle has hosted Napoleon Bonaparte and King Charles VIII of France. The estate grounds boast vineyards, olive groves, Italian gardens and a private forest, just ten minutes from the center of Florence. Guests can take part in single- and multiple-day cooking classes on the property, enjoy wine tours to several famous wine regions like Chianti or just relax poolside.
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King Edward III Estate
King Edward III Estate | Bahamas
Romance and royalty mingle in the King Edward III Estate in Nassau, Bahamas. The 12-bedroom home was the residence of England’s King Edward III after he abdicated the throne to marry his beloved Wallis Simpson. King Edward served as governor of the Bahamas after leaving England.
King Edward III Estate
The house was built in the 1920s by the British aviation pioneer and movie producer Fredrick Sigrist, and was featured in several early James Bond films. Located in Cable Beach, the gated estate has a 15,000-sq.-ft. main house and two guest cottages set on four acres. A pool, Jacuzzi, live-in manager and daily housekeeper are included in the historic home vacation rental.
Oheka Castle | New York
A perfect setting for a destination wedding or family reunion, Oheka Castle on the highest point of the Gold Coast of Long Island celebrates 100 years in 2019. Inspired by French chateaus, the 32-room property was built for the 1900s financier Otto Herman Kahn and his penchant for parties. The formal gardens, designed by the Olmstead Brothers who also created Central Park, are not to be missed. At 109,000 square feet, it is still the second largest private residence ever built in the United States, and its $30 million restoration is the most expensive ever in American history.
When Kahn died in the 1930s, the home became everything from a retreat for New York sanitation workers to a government training school for the Merchant Marines. The castle has been featured in the iconic movie Citizen Kane, the TV series Royal Pains, and more recently in Taylor Swift’s video, Blank Slate.
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