It’s little wonder Ireland is having a record year for tourism in 2016 when our island is punching way above its weight in offering tourists an incredible hotel experience.
Influential travel magazine Condé Nast Travel agrees, naming three Irish hotels in their top ten and crowning Ballyfin Demesne in Co. Laois as the best hotel in the world.
The hotel, which hosted none other than Kim Kardashian and Kanye West during their honeymoon, was voted into the top spot in the 29th Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards. Waterford Castle grabbed the seventh place and The Lodge at Ashford Castle in Co. Mayo is ninth.
“If you’ve ever dreamed of summering at a country house, you couldn’t do much better than this stately, 20-room Georgian home,” Conde Nast wrote of Ballyfin.
“Beyond the regal four-poster canopy beds, gilded mirrors, and richly textured wallpapers, there are 614 acres of secluded private gardens begging to be strolled.
“But the real highlight? Having a butler row you out on the lake before enjoying a sumptuous lunch at the picnic house,” they added.
Scoring a 99.1 rating from the 300,000 readers who took part in the vote, the 18th-century house, a former boarding school, is owned by American billionaire Fred Krehbiel. Deluxe rooms at the hotel generally begin at $610 but prices can reach $1,860 for one of the top suites at the height of the season.
Tourism Ireland welcomed the announcement, highlighting the achievement for Irish tourism in general with three of our hotels named among such a prestigious annual list.
“Congratulations to Ballyfin Demesne, Waterford Castle, and The Lodge at Ashford Castle on this truly well-deserved recognition,” said Tourism Ireland CEO, Niall Gibbons.
“Given the intense competition from other luxury properties around the globe, it’s really a wonderful achievement.
“This accolade by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine also helps to raise the profile of the island of Ireland, Ireland in general, and gives Tourism Ireland a wonderful hook to showcase our superb luxury tourism product, including our castles, luxury resorts and boutique hotels, our rich culture and heritage and, of course, our world-class golf.”
Ballyfin Demesne may have come in the top spot, but that doesn’t mean Waterford Castle or The Lodge are any less exquisite, both definitely still on our list of Irish hotels we’ll stay in one day.
“The ivy climbing the turreted stone walls of this stately 16th-century castle should be your first clue that you’re in for a royal treat,” Condé Nast Traveler says of Waterford Castle.
“That, in addition to the patterned brocade curtains, intricate wall tapestries, and refined Irish classics (caviar-topped smoked haddock, anyone?) at the Michelin-starred Munster Room,” it continues before fawning after the hotel’s 310-acre private island.
The Lodge at Ashford Castle also sounds like the perfect Mayo retreat, where a $75 million renovation in 2015 has kitted out the Middle-Ages’ castle with a cinema, cigar room, billiard room, and dine-in wine cellars. Oh, and the hotel also has its own 40-foot Italian yacht named “Cranki” which you and seven friends can take out on the river.
Which one would be your top pick for a stay in Ireland? Let us know in the comment section.