An earlier tower house on the site of current Melville Castle was demolished when the present structure, designed in 1786–1791 by James Playfair for Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, was built.

The original tower house was owned by the Melville family, before passing to Sir John Ross in the 14th century. It subsequently changed hands with the attached lands several times and was sold to David Rannie in 1705. It then passed to Henry Dundas through his marriage to the daughter of David Rannie, Elizabeth Rannie.

The Castle was owned by the Dundas family until after the Second World War, when the ninth Lord Melville moved to a smaller house on the estate and the castle was leased as an army rehabilitation centre and then later as a hotel. By the early 1980s, the hotel fell into disrepair and was unoccupied. In the late 1980s, the estate and the adjoining farms were sold, but remained closed.

In 1993, the castle was bought by the Hay Trust, which extensively restored the property over 8 years. The castle was reopened as a hotel in June 2003, leased by Aurora Hotels. Their lease expired in January 2012. Today it still operates as a hotel and venue for weddings and continues ownership by the Hay Trust.



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Founded: 1786
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in United Kingdom

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Leanne Munn (34 days ago)
My husband and myself, Had an awesome evening here with friends! Food was so delicious and service amazing! Definitely recommend it. I should also add we spent the night that night in a very clean comfortable and spacious room!
Leanne Munn (41 days ago)
My husband and myself, Had an awesome evening here with friends! Food was so delicious and service amazing! Definitely recommend it
Scott (43 days ago)
Really nice. We stayed for one night in a newly refurbished suit. Very nice food and great portions. A big thank you to those who accommodated us with a dog, both in the evening and the morning. We will be back very soon!
Kelly Duffy (43 days ago)
Excellent stay. From arriving through the long relaxing private road, upon seeing the castle with all its surroundings was really quite breath taking. With the early check in option available we were greeted by Rachael who was very attentive sweet with a professional twist -something I personally think all front of house / reception should be. The charming corridors and quirky yet ancient decor / paintings this castle felt like it was back in its main use in history. It had an eerie yet romantic feel and was very pleasant to walk around in. The grounds itself are breathtaking with nature walks all throughout and many with different abilities ie a hike or a stroll both available. Not to mention the tiny ponies on site who loved an apple for breakfast. Talking of the breakfast it was very gourmet allot of choice I couldn’t actually make my mind up! The bar is quirky and fantastic , the bar man Sam (who is actually the asst general manager) although with how he carries himself and what he does in the hotel you wouldn’t think it, a great aspect to this castle is Sam he can turn his hand to pretty much anything given the chance. Very natural and down to earth too , nothing was too much for Sam and his team and we will be back for sure many times I’d imagine. The dinner bed and breakfast option is really good and definitely worth while the pricing is designed for all budgets. Who can say they have stayed in a castle ? I can!!
Lauren Reynolds (2 months ago)
The castle is truly beautiful when you arrive and the newly redecorated rooms give it a new lease of life. The beds are very comfy, the shower is strong and although most guests were waiting some time for breakfast (unexpected staff shortage so unavoidable), the breakfast was very high quality with excellent ingredients. However, our experience didn't meet our expectation. We had decided to pay a little extra as it was our honeymoon to stay in a Junior Suite and booked this through their website. We had received booking confirmation but on arrival found out that the hotel had double booked. We were downgraded to a Superior Room with a verbal apology and a 'reduced' room rate of £156. We were disappointed to later learn that the room usually retails at £165. When I queried this in the morning, Sam the bookings manager was very rude saying we should have been grateful that our original booking at 225 was reduced to 156 and was short tempered with me when I explained that actually we were only receiving a £9 discount and that it wasn't good enough. He eventually agreed to a further discount (to the standard double room rate) but his attitude caused a heated discussion that was unnecessary and we would not stay again because of this poor customer service and not the quality of the castle, food or rooms.
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Château de Falaise

Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.

The castle (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the 'large keep' (grand donjon). Later was added the 'small keep' (petit donjon). The tower built in the first quarter of the 12th century contained a hall, chapel, and a room for the lord, but no small rooms for a complicated household arrangement; in this way, it was similar to towers at Corfe, Norwich, and Portchester, all in England. In 1202 Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was King John of England's nephew, was imprisoned in Falaise castle's keep. According to contemporaneous chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, John ordered two of his servants to mutilate the duke. Hugh de Burgh was in charge of guarding Arthur and refused to let him be mutilated, but to demoralise Arthur's supporters was to announce his death. The circumstances of Arthur's death are unclear, though he probably died in 1203.

In about 1207, after having conquered Normandy, Philip II Augustus ordered the building of a new cylindrical keep. It was later named the Talbot Tower (Tour Talbot) after the English commander responsible for its repair during the Hundred Years' War. It is a tall round tower, similar design to the towers built at Gisors and the medieval Louvre.Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840, Château de Falaise has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.

A programme of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during the Second World War in the battle for the Falaise pocket in 1944, but the three keeps were unscathed.