A man's home is his castle. But for the next two nights, another man's castle is my home.
I'm lounging on the plush down of a canopy bed, sipping 18-year-old scotch, gazing out a picture window, across a veranda, at a sunset view of a Scottish loch. It's a room well-suited for a British monarch or business mogul. But for now it's mine, and I'm relaxing. Believe me, I've had a rugged day: massage in the morning, skeet shooting at noon, twilight golf at one of the world's best courses. Talk about stress.
Off in the distance, I hear murmured voices and the clink of glasses - my summons to dinner. I stroll from my room, down a winding stairway flanked by stained-glass windows. A kilted butler greets me in the foyer with shrimp hors d'oeuvres.
"It should be a pleasant day tomorrow, sir," he says, holding out his platter. "Will you be golfing or falconing in the morn?"
Decisions, decisions. But I'm not the first to face tough choices at Skibo Castle, a princely retreat tucked into the folds of the lush green Scottish landscape, about 200 miles north of Glasgow. Late last year, pictures of Skibo splashed across the tabloids when Madonna chose it as the site of her wedding reception.
But long before the Material Girl sipped champagne at Skibo, the 12th-century castle was a magnet for distinguished guests.
A bishop once lived there. Then a British nobleman. In 1898, it was bought and restored by industrialist Andrew Carnegie, the world's richest man, who turned it into a playground for his closest friends.
In recent years, the castle has served as a secluded hideaway for a new breed of aristocracy - Sean Connery, Jack Nicholson, Michael Douglas, and Ted Danson. Their signatures are scrawled across the guest book. But the castle isn't off-limits to non-elites.
I obviously slipped through the gates. And, for a price, so can you.