Tuesday 17 July 2018

First Look: Inside Ballyfin’s new €2,000-a-night private cottage

The 'Gardener's Cottage' has been unveiled at a hotel once dubbed the best in the world

Front view of the Gardeners Cottage at Ballyfin
Front view of the Gardeners Cottage at Ballyfin
Bedroom - Gardener's Cottage
The living room at Ballyfin's Gardener's Cottage
Ballyfin, Co. Laois
A bathroom at Ballyfin's Gardener's cottage
The living Room at Ballyfin's Gardener's Cottage
Living room and flowers at Ballyfin's Gardener's Cottage
The swimming pool at Ballyfin.
Lap of luxury at Ballyfin
Ballyfin, Gold Drawing Room. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile

Nicola Brady

You’d be hard pushed to find a hotel in Ireland as luxurious as Ballyfin.

The opulent country pile in Co. Laois is the pinnacle of lavishness, with grand drawing rooms, antique furniture and even the antlers of a 10,000 year old Irish elk displayed in the entrance hall.

In 2016, it was named best hotel in the world by Condé Nast Traveler, and Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are reported to have stayed on their Irish honeymoon.

Until now, the five-star has had only 20 rooms. But Ballyfin’s first standalone residence is about to add one more to the list.

Bedroom - gardeners cottage.jpg
Bedroom - Gardener's Cottage

Set to launch later this month, the Gardener’s Cottage sits right next to the main house and is completely private, with the accommodation spread over two floors.

Upstairs, you’ll find the grand bedroom (above, which can be set up as either a twin or a double) with two bathrooms, one of which is home to floor to ceiling mirrored walls and an incredible copper bathtub (pictured below).

There’s a full minibar too, so you can enjoy a glass of wine while you soak.

And the price?

Rates for a full board stay in the Gardener’s Cottage start from €2,000 per night on a full board basis. The same stay in a Deluxe Room in Ballyfin's main house starts from €940. 

A cottage comes back to life

Bathroom 1 - gardeners cottage.jpg
A bathroom at Ballyfin's Gardener's cottage

“Since Ballyfin opened as a hotel in 2011, The Gardener’s Cottage has been in a state of disrepair and it has been a long-term goal of ours to transform it into guest accommodation," says Ballyfin's GM, Damien Bastiat.

"This year it is finally being realised and we’re delighted to be working once again with Colin Orchard and his team to bring The Gardner’s Cottage back to life.”

Orchard is the London-based interior designer responsible for the cottage interiors, as he was for the main house when it was originally renovated.

Inside the cottage, a sitting room is a little more relaxed than its counterparts in the main house (the Gold Room, with its dreamily plush golden sofas, is a particular standout).

Living room - gardeners cottage - fire.jpg
The living room at Ballyfin's Gardener's Cottage

It makes for a striking drawing room, however - with cosy seating alongside glossy antiques, and open fireplaces at either end of the room. The double doors can also be opened directly onto the lawn, so you can pad around on the grass during the summer months. 

While the cottage is a hermit’s delight, there is of course still access to the main house, with its enormous library, cosy saloon and exceptional restaurant. Head over for pre-dinner drinks for a glass of wine and some truly satisfying people watching.

The main house is just a short hop away, but the cottage also comes with its own golf buggy, so you can nip around the grounds (there’s a crumbling tower with amazing views of the surrounding countryside, and the on-site gardens are a dream to amble around).

Three classy Irish cottage stays

Ashford Castle Hideaway Cottage (Copy).jpg
Ashford Castle's Hideaway Cottage
 

Manor Lodges at Adare Manor

There are two private cottages on the grounds of the newly reopened Adare Manor, sleeping up to six apiece. Rates from €800 per night. See adaremanor.com.

The Hideaway Cottage, Ashford Castle

The Hideaway Cottage (pictured above) was a former boathouse at Ashford Castle. It’s sleek, it’s private, and you can even have an al fresco dinner on the pier... from €3,000 per night. It sleeps two. See ashfordcastle.com.

The Gate Lodge, Cabra Castle

If you need a bit more space, there’s a four-bedroom Gate Lodge on the grounds of Cabra Castle in Co. Cavan. Rates start from €495 per night. See cabracastle.com.

Read more:

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

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