Martin Castle, outside Lexington, KY
The Martin Castle, also known as the Castle Post and the Versailles Castle, is located on 201 Pisgah Pike in Versailles, Kentucky. The Castle Post overlooks the Elkhorn Creek watershed on the Woodford/Fayette county line.
While this Versailles Castle has never been home to King Louis XIV, its grand accommodations and prime location in Kentucky horse country have made it a destination for other royalty. The Castle Post has hosted such dignitaries as Saudi Arabia’s Prince Turki al-Faisal; Princess Haya bint al-Hussein, president of the Fédération Equestre Internationale; and her husband, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum of Dubai, a leading buyer of horses at nearby Keeneland.
Rex Martin and his wife, Caroline Bogaert Martin, were inspired to build the castle after they had returned from a trip to Germany in 1968. They purchased 53 acres on U.S. 60 outside of Lexington and broke ground in 1969. The Martins’ finished estate was to have seven bedrooms, fifteen baths, four corner towers, a dozen turrets, 12-foot-high walls, a drawbridge, manicured gardens, an Italian fountain in the courtyard, tennis courts, and a 20-by-50-foot pool in back.
But in 1975, before the castle could be completed, the Martin’s divorced, leaving the place unfinished and empty. Over the years, it became a popular oddity and roadside photo-op for tourists. In 1988, Rex put the castle on the market with a sign reading FOR SALE on the castle’s gates that listed a phone number and announced showings were by appointment only. Many who tried to call the number to inquire about a price claimed no one ever answered or returned phone calls.
Rex died in 2003 without ever selling the castle. His estate sold it for 1.8 million dollars to Thomas R. Post, a wealthy lawyer of property tax (University of Kentucky) from Miami, and the name was changed to "The Castle Post". He quickly began renovations to finish the castle. But on May 10, 2004, after months of renovations, tragedy struck when newly installed woodwork and wiring caught fire in the main building, burning many parts to the ground.
Post vowed to rebuild, and in 2005 began construction. Approximately twice the castle's original cost went towards the reconstruction project. In the fall of 2008 the Castle Post opened as a luxury bed and breakfast inn. New additions include 16 suites, a great hall, grand staircase, full library, sitting room, game room, music room, ball room, dining hall that can seat up to 40 guests, swimming pool, formal gardens, basketball court, bar, and tennis court. Prices range from $325 per night for a State Room to $1,250 a night for the “Royal Turret Suites.”
In addition to its use as a tourist inn, the castle hosts weddings, corporate functions, special events, dinners, and charity fund raisers. The fundraisers, including events for the Salvation Army and the Scott County Humane Society, raised $700,000 in 2009.
“Kentucky castle is up for sale,” USA Today, November 9, 2010
The Lexington Herald-Leader
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