Ranked by Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure as among the best hotels in Europe, there are only 20 rooms and suites in the mansion sitting on a 614-acre estate. Ballyfin is less than two hours drive from either Shannon or Dublin airports.
Christopher Coote Suite
Named after the 15th Baronet and the senior member of
the Coote family, who took a close personal interest in the restoration of the
house built for his great-great-great grandparents, the nearly 1,200 sq. ft. suite enjoys a
handsome sitting room, its curved windows looking out to beautiful views over
the fountain and the Pleasure Grounds. The decorative theme of the suite is
determined by a series of eighteenth-century Chinese wallpaper panels, formerly
in the collection of the Prince of Hanover at Schloss Marienburg.
Not a suite, but 549 sq. ft. of and exquisitely
decorated in richly patterned wallpaper with a wonderfully carved French bed
positioned prominently in the center room. The portrait above the chimney piece,
from the studio of Sir Thomas Lawrence, depicts the dashing Marianne Jeffreys
of Blarney Castle, County Cork, after whom the room is named. I think this is the
most romantic because of the positioning of the bed and its canopy.
At 345 sq. ft., this is a standard size hotel room, however, the bedroom scene
evokes a series of summer garden views with flowers, fruit and trees framed in
trellis work. The light garden theme is continued on the painted posts of the
canopied bed creating the illusion of a bed set in a garden. The murals were
painted on canvas in Lucinda’s studio over a six month period and then
carefully mounted on the bedroom walls by Lucinda and her assistants. This is
one of the recently added rooms. Five were added to the house in late 2014 and it is truly unique as Lucinda created such a realistic mural, you feel as if you are
sleeping in a garden.
Sheens Falls Lodge is just 35 miles from Kerry Airport (KIR), an international port, including a 6,562 ft. runway. Overlooking the picturesque Sheen Falls, this 5-star Relais & Chateaux hotel is known for its 2AA Rosette restaurant and luxurious rooms, suites and villas. Set on the Wild Atlantic Way, outside the town of Kenmare, it is a good base.
The Falls Master
The Falls Master Suite is the epitome of comfort with 1,350 sq. ft. of
carefully designed space. Architecturally it is stunning. The octagonal shaped drawing room with
it’s 20 ft. high ceiling leading up to an oculus is a unique space to be
cover half the wall space in the room looking out on panoramic views including
Kenmare Bay in the distance, the Sheen River flowing over the cascading
waterfalls and the old 18th century stone bridge. A white limestone fireplace burns wood cut from the coppicing
of the surrounding woodlands, its color contrasting with the dark Jatoba wood
The private bar
area is stylishly incorporated into the room, the perfect location to entertain
or to enjoy the elegant grandeur of the room as you sip a cocktail and listen
to gentle music.
The large bedroom
window flows out onto an impressive balcony, which overlooks a pond beside the
private stone gated entrance. A
separate entrance allows for ease of access and private parking. The “Scarlet Wonder” Rhododendron leads
you on a path through the gardens, perfectly at home with the other semi
tropical trees and plants that play host to the surrounding landscape.
Amenities include fully
stocked bar, fruit, chocolates and flowers in the room. There is private check in, within in room if
requested. Your fire can even be
lit pre arrival once they know your arrival time.
Suite 160 – The
Sheen Suite – Signature Suite
Architecturally, The Sheen Suite is stunning. The octagonal shaped
room is open plan with double doors that open out to the waterfalls and stone
bridge. It also has an open
fireplace, giving an element of warmth. Recently refurbished with an emphasis on Irish design and crafts, this
is my personal favorite. It has everything. With the open door
listening to the sound of the waterfalls, enjoying a book from our librarian’s
selection in the room, you can escape in this room. It’s peaceful and
My other favorite is technically not at suite, but worth a
mention is Marianne’s Cottage. One of four two-bedroom thatched cottages, it overlooks Kenmare Bay and has its own private
entrance behind electronic gates.
On the estate, the cottage from the exterior is postcard perfect, thatch room and pink against a setting of green gardens and Kenmare Bay. Two ensuite bedrooms, kitchen, open plan
dining room and sitting room and sun lounge overlook Kenmare Bay.
It’s somewhere to seek
sanctuary, in elegant surroundings, yet have all the facilities of a 5-star
hotel available to you. You get a welcome hamper on arrival, full housekeeping service, chef
With 123 guest rooms and 19 suites, you will find design light and airy, decorated in colours selected from a subtle palette inspired by one of Paul Henry’s Irish landscape paintings which hang in the Front Hall of the Hotel. Each room is furnished with a King Koil Executive Club 6 bed with 400 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets.
During the spring and summer months, guests can enjoy the the Garden Terrace, while the Drawing Rooms, with their open log fires, are perfect for Afternoon Tea at any time of the year.
The Tethra Spa’s and infinity swimming pool and steam room provide a way to unwind. The Merrion is home to two bars and two restaurants, including 2 star-Michelin Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud.
The Penthouse Suite
The two-bedroom Penthouse suite in The Merrion’s Garden Wing has played host to heads of state,
visiting dignitaries, celebrities, and other guests for whom independence and
privacy are vital. The Penthouse
is a sumptuously appointed split level apartment that offers 2,200 sq. ft. of
living space and boasts private access.
On the ground
floor, both bedrooms are en-suite with separate baths and showers. The bedrooms are decorated with
Georgian-inspired fabrics, in keeping with the heritage of the hotel.
carpeted living and dining areas are decorated with exquisite furniture and
fabrics. Guests can relax in the Penthouse Suite’s own Music Room, and on the
private roof terrace which overlooks the hotel’s classical 18th-century gardens
and stunning views of the Dublin Mountains.
The Merrion can choose between our Georgian Main House rooms, or the more
contemporary style rooms found in the hotel’s Garden Wing.
The Main House
rooms are bursting with the character and charm you would expect from a series
of buildings that date back to 1760.
The Lord Monck Suite
My personal favorite would be The Lord
Monck suite, named after the original occupant one of the Georgian Townhouses,
Lord Charles Stanley Monck. The
suite features a very unusual curved, boat-shaped ceiling which is adorned with
exquisitely restored rococo plasterwork.
The Packenham Suite
Also, suites on
the first floor of the Georgian Main House feature 16 ft. high ceilings with large
sash windows and beautifully restored original features such as fireplaces and
delicate rococo plasterwork.
Again, personal favorites would be The Packenham suite which overlooks Dáil
Éireann, the house of the Irish Parliament.
The Shelbourne is a 5-star hotel set in a hundreds-year-old building in the center of Dublin. There are high ceilings, big windows bringing in daylight and a full service spa, salon, indoor pool and fitness center. The hotel overlooks St. Stephen’s Green.
The Princess Grace
The Princess Grace Suite is the hotel’s presidential suite and the largest suite within the hotel,
where you are welcomed with an entrance hallway adorned with graceful artwork
and beautifully captured photography of Princess Grace. The suite spans a
spacious lounge area with stunning window seats offering sweeping views of St. Stephen’s Green and the city surrounds. Side by side guests of this suite can
enjoy an opulent dining area with seating for up to eight people, master
bedroom and spacious marble bathroom, accompanied a second guest bedroom with
This one of a kind suite is home to a bespoke furniture collection, both handpicked from Irish
designers alongside vintage items restored from The Shelbourne’s own
collection. The elegance of this suite is echoed by a selection of literature
in honor of its name, Princess Grace, where guests and sit back, relax and
journey through time and experience Hollywood royalty from their luxurious
suite in the heart of Dublin.
The stay includes champagne on arrival,
unpacking and packing of luggage, private 24-hour butler service, breakfast for
all guests, complimentary return Dublin Airport transfers, and complimentary
newspapers, valet parking, Internet access and daily amenities. Princess Grace stayed
here first in 1973, and on her return visits to Dublin, with Prince Rainier,
she chose the same hotel, the same room. It was her favorite.
Michael Collins Suite
The one bedroom
suites also welcome guests to sheer luxury within a landmark city centre
location, from their spacious lounge areas to their opulent bedrooms with
elegant sash windows, some with views overlooking St. Stephen’s Green. Some suites are named in honor of those with a special connection the hotel’s history. One such
example is the Michael Collins Suite, named in honor of Michael Collins, a
famous politician who was a leading figure in Ireland’s independence and in the
drafting of the Irish Constitution here in the hotel’s own Constitution Room named after the historic event it was host to.
This one bedroom suite
named in his honor, boasts a large lounge with elegant fireplace, Waterford
Crystal Chandelier and Irish literature for guests to enjoy with views of St
Stephen’s Green as their backdrop. The adjoining bedroom also enjoys views over
St. Stephen’s green, a window side seating area where a bespoke Foxford blanket. It
is these personal touches amongst others and historical connections which add
another level to the guest experience.
Peter O’Toole Suite
I also like the
Peter O’Toole suite, who also stayed in the hotel on many occasions and on one
such occasion, he decided that he needed to bath in Champagne following a long
day at theatre rehearsals.
Park View Rooms cannot go unmentioned. They boast beautiful views over St. Stephen’s Green, tastefully restored with an inviting calm palette of blues,
granite greys and so to furnished with exclusive welcome amenities, welcome
literature of Irish Heritage alongside in-room Bose speakers, Nespresso Coffee
machines for coffee lovers alongside bespoke china and elegant crystal
Killarney Park has seven
suites, all individually named, and all suites come with fresh flowers, and platters of fruit and cookies. Use the hotel as a base to see the coastline of Kerry, including UNESCO Heritage sites and stunning scenery.
The 1,500 sq. ft. Master Suite includes two bedrooms, a living room overlooking Killarney Gardens with working fireplace and a fully fitted
kitchen. Additional amenities include a pastry basket daily, plus complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks.
The 850 sq. ft Killarney Suite features high ceilings with a separate living room, spacious bedroom area and a contemporary bathroom. The furniture uses richly textured fabrics styled in a warm, country palette. Relax by a lit fire in the sitting room.
6. K CLUB, Straffan, County Kildare
One of the best known estate hotels in Ireland, K Club remains a must visit and also is an excellent venue for weddings, family celebrations and corporate meetings. Golfers flock to The Ryder Cup Course designed by Arnold Palmer, site of 11 European Open Championships. There is an extensive spa, plus fishing, falconry, sporting clays, archery, horse riding, biking and kayaking. Only 23 miles from Dublin’s airport, it has easy access if members of your group are flying commercially.
The 1,720 sq. ft. Imperial Suite is the most lavish unit at The K Club and is ideal for
families looking for a luxurious, private getaway. You can sleep two adults, two teenagers
and two younger children. The master bedroom is home to a four poster bed, and the
suite comes with the option of a second bedroom. The elegant
hand-painted bathroom features a separate bath and shower, while guests can
delve into complete relaxation with their very own private in-room sauna.
over the gardens and the River Liffey await guests, who will be catered for
with their own 24-valet service. Everything you could possibly want is included
in the room, from a Nespresso coffee machine to a large flat screen television
and air conditioning, ensuring that guests will enjoy a stylishly private
My favorite place
to stay at The K Club is The Viceroy Suite (Room 41), at 1,500 sq. ft. an elegant residence that
is steeped in the history of the hotel. It brings guests into old world beauty
with its elegant master bedroom that comes with a hand-painted bathroom
complete with your very own Jacuzzi.
The suite design
was a homage to the master bedroom of the original house at The K Club, Straffan
House, and the king size bed has been lined up perfectly to look out over the
stunning gardens, making this an ideal space for honeymooners or those in
search of a romantic escape. You also have 24 hour valet service.
One of my favorite hotels in Europe, the 5-star Trump International Doonbeg awaits
guests with large accommodations, fine amenities, and dedicated service.
Trump International Doonbeg offers a wealth of attractions including
world-class links golf, rejuvenating treatments from their spa,
fine dining, as well as exciting sports and sightseeing offerings. Suited to all visitors, including group
travelers, the suites are crafted to ensure space, comfort, and
privacy. It’s Old World luxury with curated furnishings, art and antiques.
Ocean View Suite 14
This four bedroom, 3,000 sq. ft. Ocean View Suite 14 is spans two floors, including a private kitchen, separate sitting room and
grand fireplace. Bedrooms boast 6 x 6 ft. king beds and oversize bathrooms
stocked with handmade Irish toiletries.
Suite 14 is one of
The Ocean View Suites collection, one to four bedroom suites, all situated in the main building, which also hosts the award winning Ocean
View Restaurant and the Members Bar & Restaurant. Suite 14 offers views of the 18th hole of the one of Irelands top
championship golf courses Doonbeg, which sits on a mile and a half of the Doughmore Beach met by the Atlantic Ocean. And in the distance, beyond the end of this crescent moon shaped beach, you have majestic views of the Cliffs of Moher.
The village of Doonbeg has a population of
784, and 250 of them work in the hotel and golf club, so no matter where you go
you will be looked after.
It’s a Royal adventure in an 800-year-old castle on 350 acres. Former home of
the Guinness family, Ashford Castle is a destination unto itself with yearround
activities. There is an extesnive spa, clay shooting, archery, cycling, tree
climbing, zip-lining, golf, tennis, horse riding, lake cruises, row boats,
falconry and fishing. There are over a dozen bars and restaurants, and even a
private cinema. Galway Airport (4,226 ft. runway) is 26 miles and Ireland West
Knock Airport (7,546 ft. runway) is 39 miles from Ashford Castle, both with
Reagan Presidential Suite:
The height of
elegance is named after Ronald Reagan who stayed at Ashford in 1984 as a
personal friend of former owner John A. Mulcahy. The Reagan
Presidential Suite (Room 221) is located in the oldest wing of the castle,
with an original fireplace, a stunning antique George III style four poster
bed, original portrait art, individually sourced antiques and spectacular floor
to ceiling views of Lough Corrib. This split level suite offers two bathrooms
and can be combined with two adjacent rooms for a private three bedroom
wing of the castle with The Kennedy Suite (Room 224) and a Corrib Lake
View Room (Room 222.)
Amenities include Champagne and chocolate on arrival, complimentary
canapés delivered each evening, complimentary bar, a daily gift delivered to you room, 24-hour
housekeeping and 24-hour in-room
Any of the rooms,
as they are located in the oldest side of the castle and the additional two
rooms would be definitely my favorite of all the 83 rooms (and Hideaway Cottage)
they have at Ashford Castle.