For many of us, fully spreading our wings to take in a global city may just be a little too much. More bucolic environs beckon and provide an opportunity to ease back into world travel. There’s no need to skimp, though; you’ve earned a few days of royalty. You’ve earned an experience. You’ve earned Ashford Castle, one of Ireland’s most luxurious properties.
To be sure, there are hundreds of castles in Europe, but few have made the successful transition to five-star resort. Ashford Castle, a historic 800-year old fortress in western Ireland, did just that some 80 years ago and since has played host to royalty, presidents, and celebrities.
The location, by every measure, is idyllic. Overlooking the shores of rippling Lough Corrib in County Mayo, Ireland, the Castle is surrounded by 350 acres of beautifully manicured gardens, verdant forests, and woodland rich with birdlife. The environment, anchored by breathtaking views of Lough Corrib, lends itself well to the sportsperson seeking an all-in experience.
From country-classic pastimes such as horse riding, fishing, falconry, and shooting to more modern activities such as golf, cycling, and kayaking, Ashford Castle is manna for anyone seeking classic European countryside extravagance. And, there’s plenty to keep the kids busy while you take in more adult pursuits. (Check out the property’s sensational movie theater — your little one’s will thank you.)
Of note is the picturesque 9-hole, 2,996-yard, par 35 parkland course, perfect for golfers of all abilities to hone their skills. Also known for its falconry, Ashford offers the oldest established falconry school in Ireland. Don’t miss a private Hawk Walk and the incredible opportunity to fly your very own Harris hawks.
The activities will wear you out, and that’s a good thing. Repose will come in the sensational lodgings. Splurge on a suite for a kingly experience. Huge and well-appointed, the elegant suites are named after Ashford’s most famous guests: Kennedy, Reagan, and too many film and music stars to mention are among them. Modern amenities abound and lend to some well-deserved pampering.
Make time for what was awarded Ireland’s best hotel spa in 2020 for the fifth year in a row: The Spa at Ashford Castle. The spa offers a relaxation pool, five exceptional treatment rooms, an invigorating Hammam, relaxing steam room, and a beautiful terrace. The talented staff will soothe you with luxury brands: Voya, B|Africa, Elemis and Natura Bisse among them.
Gastronomy is among Ashford’s trademark offerings. Although there are a number of options for upscale dining, the most elegant (and a must) is the George V dining room. The graceful setting,
with rich, paneled walls and twinkling Waterford crystal chandeliers, is presided over by the acclaimed chef Philippe Farineau and the head sommelier Paul Fogerty. What’s more, the restaurant earned Wine Spectator’s 2020 Best of Award of Excellence.
Yes, it’s time to get back to being (somewhat) carefree. A few days at Ashford Castle will expand your mind and remind you how to live large.
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