Thursday 20 September 2018

This luxury Irish hotel is the talk of Twitter after being featured on BBC's Amazing Hotels

Ashford Castle
Ashford Castle
Ashford Castle on the edge of Lough Corrib
The spa at Ashford Castle
The new spa, housed within a bronze conservatory, at Ashford Castle.
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

One of Ireland's finest hotels has become the talk of Twitter after it landed a coveted spot on BBC's Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby.

The one hour programme focused on Ashford Castle's extensive 800 year history, from its construction in 1223 to its current reputation as a modern day paradise for the rich and famous, all while keeping local charm.

One of the newly refurbished rooms at Ashford Castle, recently voted the world's No.3 hotel
One of the newly refurbished rooms at Ashford Castle, recently voted the world's No.3 hotel

Presenters Monica Galetti and Giles Coren toured the grounds at length, speaking to staff, including last night's unofficial star, general manager Niall Rochford, who has been with the hotel for 16 years.

Ashford Castle hasn't been short of positive PR since its €75m million refurbishment in 2015 was finished, with Irish golfer Rory McIlroy marrying there last year and American jewellery designer Michelle Campbell Mason's wedding there, which was covered by US Vogue.

The new spa, housed within a bronze conservatory, at Ashford Castle.
The new spa, housed within a bronze conservatory, at Ashford Castle.

But last night offered rare insight into the day to day complexities of running the business, which prides itself on the use of local artisans over mass production, for example, during a foray to meet the source of the castle's oysters in Connemara.

The 350 acre estate was purchased by South African hoteliers Stanley and Beatrice Tollman, and Beatrice said that she oversaw the entire restoration, which took two years to complete and also ensured all staff remained employed during the transition.

"It needed everything, new furniture. Wherever you look is new. Everything you see I bought, at auctions, everything," Beatrice told Giles in conversation. "It deserved it. We put everything into it, our souls into recreating what it deserved to be."

Ashford Castle is continually named among the best hotels in the world and it seems like most visitors agree.

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