Ireland Tops Best Hotels of 2016

Ballyfin Hotel. (Photo: Ballyfin.com)
Ballyfin Hotel. (Photo: Ballyfin.com)

By Olivia O’Mahony, Editorial Assistant
December / January 2017

The Ballyfin Hotel of Co. Laois (pictured right) was named the best hotel in the world by Conde Nast Traveller in an October listing. Two other Irish hotels made the top ten, with Waterford Castle and the Lodge at at Ashford Castle in Co. Mayo (which was itself recently ranked as the world’s best hotel by Virtuoso Travel) ranking seventh and ninth respectively. The rise of interest in luxury Irish hotels has been attributed to its reputation as a safe travel destination among high-spending individuals.

“[Travellers] are increasingly seeking security but also the attention of the ‘big house,’ epitomized in shows like Downton Abbey,” Shane Leahy of Ireland Chauffeur Travel told the Irish Times. “These properties lavish attention without the intrusions of the outside world and modern life. Ballyfin embodies this ideal.”

“If you’ve ever dreamed of summering at a country house, you couldn’t do much better than this stately, 20-room Georgian home,” Condé Nast said while making the announcement, going on to highlight “having a butler row you out on the lake before enjoying a sumptuous lunch at the picnic house” as one delight of the Ballyfin experience.

“We should only ever aspire to the highest standards, the highest classification system, and benchmark ourselves against the highest international standards,” said Irish Hotels Federation president Joe Dolan. “[The award] is not a surprise. The industry has been investing in product, services, and staff all along.” ♦

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