Ashford Castle, a luxury 800-year-old castle hotel in County Mayo, is the only Irish hotel to achieve a five-star rating in the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide for the second year running. 

Forbes's team of inspectors travels the world to assess hotels, restaurants, and spas on 900 different criteria to determine its annual Star Rating. 

The five-star award is reserved for businesses that meet more than 500 service and physical criteria during the anonymous inspection while showing "an impeccable standard of excellence in hospitality". 

Niall Rochford, General Manager of Ashford Castle, welcomed the five-star rating and praised his staff for their hard work and dedication. 

"After the year we have just had, this is a particularly welcome award and recognition," Rochford said.

"We hope this internationally recognized hotel rating system that highlights our loyal and long-serving team for delivering such consistently warm and polished service and generous hospitality will encourage our guests to return once the Covid crisis is over. In addition to praising our extremely dedicated staff, the award also recognizes the passion and values instilled by our President and Founder Mrs. Beatrice Tollman. We are thrilled." 

Ashford Castle, Co Mayo (Ireland's Content Pool)

Ashford Castle, Co Mayo (Ireland's Content Pool)

The Forbes Travel Guide team travels to hotels around the world anonymously as paying guests and every star rating must be earned fairly through an independent and objective process. 

Filip Boyen, CEO of Forbes Travel Guide, said that the winners of this year's five-star ratings showcased the highest levels of hospitality.

"We have been committed to championing genuine Five-Star service for more than 60 years, and this year's winners exemplify the very highest standards in hospitality." 

Set on a 350-acre site on the shores of Lough Corrib and the River Cong, Ashford Castle also won the "Sharecare Health Security Verified" award, which assures guests that the hotel has put appropriate health measures in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.