Winner: Adare Manor, Co Limerick
Looking for elegance, beautiful surroundings and the royal treatment from a hotel? Look no further.
"This is the place for you", our readers said of Adare Manor, named Ireland's Favourite Hotel in our Reader Travel Awards 2020. This is a "world-class" stay, "a once in a lifetime opportunity" and "without doubt, the best hotel in Ireland", you told us.
"It is just wow. It's like being in a fairytale! All the staff are so helpful and attentive, while not overdoing it and giving you space."
That last point is key, and was made several times. In describing the "old-fashioned hospitality" of this Co Limerick five-star, you were also quick to mention how "lovely, friendly" and "down-to-earth" its staff were.
"Spectacular service, they couldn't do enough for you, from taking your jacket when you first entered to immaculate service for the dinner", one guest reported.
They treat you as if you are a family guest they invited over and cannot do enough for you", another said. "Simple as that!"
Our judges noted that, since it re-opened following a multi-million euro refurbishment in November 2017, Adare Manor has quickly established itself as a flagship Irish five-star.
As well as our readers' recognition, last year alone saw it secure the Ryder Cup for 2026, a Michelin Star for its Oak Room Restaurant and a place on Condé Nast Traveller's Gold List.
If this run of form continues, it may need a bigger mantelpiece.
FINALISTS: Ireland's Top 10 hotels for 2020
Yes, this is an exclusive, expensive resort. "Unfortunately, I will never be able to afford it", as one reader wrote - and they're not alone. Rooms start from €700 a night in the peak summer months, making this one of Ireland's priciest stays, though you can check-in for less than half that at quieter times, and non-residents can spend a few hours enjoying afternoon tea (from €55pp).
Is it worth the high prices? "It's in a different league - super luxurious with the warm personal touch from the staff," one reader said. "This is the ultimate guest experience." Others highlighted the "beautiful restoration" that has transformed the manor, and the fact that it is, unlike many Irish five-stars, "wholly Irish-owned" by JP McManus and family. This summer, the hotel is also set to reveal a new activity centre. It just keeps improving.
As well as wow-moments like the sprawling estate, golf course or Hogwarts-like gallery, attention to detail was also mentioned many times - something our judges consider key to a truly great hotel. Think of the casual offer of a lift, wellness shots or caramelised hazelnuts at breakfast (the hotel is also a finalist in our 'Ireland's Best Breakfast' and 'Best Welcome' categories), as well as the exquisite craftsmanship.
"There is too much to list really", one reader mused. "But we loved the attention to detail and the hospitality of all the staff, especially the gillie, Jim. The grounds are immaculate and the small touches in the bedrooms just make you go ah! Plus the beds - like sleeping on clouds. Quite simply perfect!"
1832: Work begins on the transformation of 'Adare House', first built in the 1720s. The project is overseen by the 2nd Earl of Dunraven, who lives largely indoors due to "a crippling case of gout".
1860s: After over 30 years of construction, Adare Manor is completed as 'a calendar house' by the 3rd Earl of Dunraven with the Latin motto 'Quae Sursum Volo Videre' ('I wish to see what is beyond').
1900s: The manor passes through successive generations of earls until 1982, when 7th Earl Thady Wyndham-Quin sells the estate and its contents to an investment consortium.
1988: Adare Manor opens as a 15-bed hotel after its purchase by US investment banker Thomas Kane. As it expands, famous guests include US President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary as well as actors Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones.
2017: After a multi-million-euro refurbishment by its new owners, the McManus family, Adare Manor opens as a 104-bed resort. Its new motto? ‘Beyond Everything’.
Contact 061 605 200; adaremanor.com