Travel: Fit for a King

Monarchs, tyrants and oligarchs have over the ages nurtured oppression, sponsored scourges, incest and hemophilia. But they also taught the world the fine art of luxury, leaving behind them a landscape dotted with opulent castles, lodges and retreats no latter-day head of state (even if he could afford it) would ever be permitted to call home.

Today, their houses still stand. Some have been left to molder into drafty decay. But many of them have been updated with hot running water and good food, and have opened as inns. More and more tourists,...

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