Wednesday 19 June 2019

'Downton Abbey fantasies' - Irish hotel ranked No.2 in the world

Irish five-star pipped to the post by Four Seasons Bali in Travel + Leisure's 'World's Best' list

Rooms in Ballyfin are decorated in the original style of the house.
Rooms in Ballyfin are decorated in the original style of the house.
Ballyfin, Co. Laois
Ballyfin, Co. Laois
The swimming pool at Ballyfin.
The conservatory at Ballyfin
Lap of luxury at Ballyfin
Sheen Falls Lodge, Co. Kerry
Ballyfin, Gold Drawing Room. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Another top-notch US travel awards; another reason for Ballyfin to celebrate.

The Co. Laois hotel, a former boarding school lavishly transformed into one of Ireland's leading five-stars, is listed as No.2 on Travel + Leisure's 2018 World's Best list.

The 20-room hotel takes second place on the 'Top 100 Hotels in the World' for 2018 behind the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan, Indonesia.

Travel + Leisure has a print audience of 6.7 million, according to its latest media kit, with millions more travel fans tuning in on digital and social media.

Ballyfin, Co. Laois
Ballyfin, Co. Laois

Ballyfin also ranks No.1 on the magazine's list of Europe's Top 10 Resorts, where it is described as "a great place to fulfill all your Downton Abbey fantasies."

And price for a night in Ireland's Downton?

In peak season, doubles start from €960 per night on a B&B basis.

This year, it has also added a €2,000-a-night private cottage to the 614-acre demesne.

No stranger to awards

Dating from the 1820s, when it was built as a Regency-era mansion for the Anglo-Irish Coote family, Ballyfin is no stranger to international awards.

Sheen Falls Lodge, Co. Kerry
Sheen Falls Lodge, Co. Kerry

Owned and restored by US businessman Fred Krehbiel and his Irish wife, Kay, it has been ranked as the world's No.1 hotel by Condé Nast Traveller, this year became the AA's Irish hotel of the year, and is a regular in our annual Reader Travel Awards

"For the royal treatment, look no further than this Regency mansion near the Slieve Bloom Mountains, an hour and a half west of Dublin," T+L gushes.

Irish award-winners

Sheen Falls Lodge, set in Kenmare, Co. Kerry, was the only other Irish hotel to feature in the Top 100, ranking in 50th place. The five-star also ranks No. 6 on a list of Europe's Top 10 resort hotels, and third among the Top 10 resort hotels in the UK and Ireland.

The latter also includes Aghadoe Heights (10), Dromoland Castle (9), Ballynahinch Castle (8), Ashford Castle (5) and Ballyfin (1) in a vibrant Irish showing.

In other awards, Six Senses was named the world's top hotel brand, with Red Carnation (which owns Ashford Castle, among other properties), in second place.

The full awards are online at

Read more:

The Fab 50: Ireland's 50 best places to stay for 2018

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