Alberta castle offering 'Downton Abbey' bed and breakfast experience
TORONTO -- If you think you had to travel to Europe to explore a castle, think again.
A castle in Alberta is now open to the public as a one-bedroom bed and breakfast.
Located approximately 40 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, behind a locked gate in Sturgeon County, Ryans Castle has been under construction for the past 13 years.
"It didn't start out as a castle. We did the main house at first and it just evolved," owner Barbara Ryan told CTV News Channel. "My husband thought we should put battlements on it and that's how it evolved into a castle."
Ryan said the idea came from her travels in Europe.
"My uncle owns an apartment in Italy by a castle and it was my inspiration. We would visit it quite often," she said.
Ryan lives on the property and designed the castle herself. As a collector, Ryan has furnished the castle with ornate antiques and Catholic relics from local vendors, the United States and Europe.
"I tried to go for a medieval-formal look [so] it's more of a palace than a typical castle… I've acquired a lot of antiques and different types of furniture to furnish it over the years," Ryan said.
As per its website, Ryans Castle is "the ultimate accommodation for those looking for a Downton Abbey experience right here in Alberta."
The castle sits on a wetland and has approximately 760 square metres of space, including a carriage house, dining hall and a private pool. The property is home to various birds and domesticated animals, including horses, goats, rabbits, and an indoor aviary of parrots.
The bedroom for rent is in the main building with access to the pool and costs $995 per night. Guests are offered a gourmet breakfast and traditional English afternoon tea with the option of a candle-lit dinner at additional cost.
Those who aren't looking to stay the night can visit the castle on Saturdays for afternoon tea costing $75 per person.
The first guests arrived on New Year's Eve and Ryan said they enjoyed their stay. Since opening, Ryan says she has been flooded with booking requests.
"[The castle] seems quite popular, the response is overwhelming," she said.
The castle only hosts two guests at a time, but Ryan says they are working to expand the operation.
She said construction is currently underway to add more bedrooms and they are working to have a wedding venue on site by fall 2021.
"It looks a lot bigger than it is… But we're completing other rooms and will have them open very soon hopefully," Ryan said.