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Dreaming of a future escape? These eight Irish hotels have been recommended by Forbes Travel Guide...

Ashford Castle has retained Ireland's only ‘Five-Star’ Award in the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide this year


Ashford Castle has again been recognised for its outstanding service and attention to detail.

Ashford Castle has again been recognised for its outstanding service and attention to detail.

Ashford Castle has again been recognised for its outstanding service and attention to detail.

For the second year running, Ashford Castle is the only Irish hotel to receive a ‘Five-Star’ ranking in Forbes Travel Guide’s (FTG) annual Star Ratings.

A separate company to the global media giant, FTG has been reviewing hotels since 1958, when it first launched as a guidebook for US motorists, and is widely seen as a gold standard in the industry.

“After a tremendously difficult year for the hospitality industry, the team couldn’t have asked for better news at this time," said Ashford Castle's General Manager, Niall Rochford.

“This is arguably the most coveted accolade for any hotel,” he added, congratulating his team.

The castle is currently closed, but bookings are available from mid-April on its website. Prices range from €525 per night in a ‘Corrib' room to €2,250 in a suite, on a bed-and-breakfast basis. Package deals bundling overnight stays with meals, spa treatments or estate experiences – such as hawk walks or fishing – are also available.

FTG rates properties in three categories - ‘Five-Star’ ("outstanding, often iconic, with virtually flawless service and amazing facilities”), ‘Four-Star’ ("exceptional service and the quality of facility to match") and ‘Recommended’ ("excellent with consistently good services and facilities").

In total, eight Irish hotels were included in the 2021 awards. The K Club in Co Kildare and Dublin’s Merrion and Marker hotels were rated as ‘Four-Star’, with the capital’s Shelbourne, Westbury, Fitzwilliam and InterContinental listed as ‘Recommended’.

Similar to independent reviews by AA Ireland and Georgina Campbell, FTG Inspectors pay their way and stay incognito. They evaluate hotels against a long checklist of "exacting standards", with 75pc of a hotel's score based on service and 25pc on facilities.

"They test up to 900 objective, stringent standards, from modern-day luxuries – such as whether a room is set up to enhance sleep, and the food-and-beverage choices are health-conscious – to more traditional luxuries, like the quality of the interior décor and design of the staff’s uniforms,” editor Jennifer Kester explains on the Guide's website.

Almost 1,900 properties feature on the 2021 list, with Tokyo gaining more ‘Five-Star’ hotels than any other city, and Scotland landing its first ‘Five-Star’ – The Balmoral, a Rocco Forte Hotel in Edinburgh.

“Our 2021 award winners are a testament to the resiliency of the hospitality industry,” said Filip Boyen, FTG's CEO.

“During an unprecedented time, Ashford Castle along with other top properties across the world adapted to numerous adversities, all while maintaining high service levels.”

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