Castles Target Millennium Guests

By Caroline Scutt

EDINBURGH, Scotland -- For clients interested in ringing in the new millennium while surrounded by the Old World, an ancient castle in Scotland might be just the ticket. Scotts Castle Holidays, a firm the represents nearly two dozen castle properties, is ready to assist agents with all the details. Clients are advised to book soon, said Eileen Vielvoye, sales director for the company. The firm has been inundated with inquiries about millennium New Year bookings, she added.

Net rates vary depending on the property and number of guests it will accommodate. For example, Balfour Castle in the Orkney Islands, billed as the most northerly castle hotel in the world, is available for up to 18 guests on a self-catering basis for one week at a cost of about $25,000. The castle still has some of the original fixtures and fittings that were installed when the structure was completed in 1848. All the bedrooms are individually decorated and public rooms include an oak-paneled library, a drawing room and a billiard room. It is set in 70 acres of woodlands and offers a panoramic view of the surrounding islands.

Hatton Castle in Aberdeenshire accommodates up to 16 and is priced at around $67,000 for one week on a full-service basis. Those on a tighter budget might be interested in renting a self-contained apartment in Delgatie Castle in Aberdeenshire. The apartment accommodates five guests and is priced at about $6,500 for one week. Staff can be arranged to serve at the self-catering properties for an additional fee. Ceilidh bands, dancers, fireworks, magicians, clay pigeon shooting, archery and a host of other activities can be arranged in advance by the company at clients' request. The length of stay also can be changed, although a four-night minimum stay is required for millennium bookings.

A deposit of 25% must be put down on all bookings, and the final payment must be made by March 1999. For details, contact the company at (011) 44-131 416-9717; fax (011) 44-131 446-9718. For information on castle properties in Great Britain, contact the British Tourist Authority at (800) GO 2 BRITAIN or (212) 986-2200, and ask for a copy of the Castle Accommodations guide.

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NEW YORK -- News about London's Historic Royal Palaces is available by calling a toll-free number, (800) 806-7187. The five Historic Royal Palaces are the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House at Whitehall Palace, the State Apartments and Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection at Kensington Palace and Kew Palace. The Historic Royal Palaces' sales department can be reached at (800) 688-0366.

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