Sunday 22 July 2018

Got €4,350 to spare? This 'fairytale' Irish castle stay is one of the world's Top 25 travel experiences

The Certified 25

Ashford Castle, Cong, Co. Mayo.
Ashford Castle, Cong, Co. Mayo.
One of the newly refurbished rooms at Ashford Castle
Ashford castle's new pool
The new spa, housed within a bronze conservatory, at Ashford Castle.
Ashford Castle
Ashford Castle
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Ashford Castle's 'Fairytale Castle Experience' has been named among the world's 25 best luxyr travel experiences.

The Chad Clark Certified 25, announced for the first time in Las Vegas this week, lists 25 of the top experiential travel offerings on the planet.

It ranks the Irish five-star's "fairytale" package alongside an array of ostentatious experiences - ranging from the 'Sea of Love' by Italy's Palazzo Avino to a 'Pop-Up Volcano Adventure' at the Four Seasons Hualalai in Hawaii.

The 'Fairytale Castle Experience' costs from €4,350 for two.

What do you get for your money? Well, there's a two-night stay, a "sumptuous" dinner in The Dungeon restaurant, afternoon tea, a one-hour falconry experience, a history lesson and a private chauffeur to Dublin or Shannon Airport.

In addition, the hotel will arrange a private screening of The Quiet Man, filmed locally in Cong, with Champagne, popcorn and candy, too.

Oh, and the price rises to €6,350 (for two) in peak season.

The Certified 25 is a "first-of-its-kind" initiative run by US luxury travel expert Chad Clark of Arizona-based Chad Clark Travel Ventures.

One of the newly refurbished rooms at Ashford Castle
One of the newly refurbished rooms at Ashford Castle

The inaugural list, unveiled at a luxury travel event in Las Vegas this week, aims to highlight "unique, authentic and local travel experiences that are cutting edge and life-changing"... for those who can afford them, of course.

Entries were chosen by Clark from a shortlist of experiences submitted by destinations, hotels, travel agents and even luggage companies, for a fee of $250.

He aspires to make the list an annual event.

Some $75 million has been pumped into Ashford Castle since it was acquired by the Tollman family's Red Carnation Collection in 2013.

Falconry at Ashford Castle
Falconry at Ashford Castle

Major upgrades now include a new spa, pool, 32-seat cinema, the replacement of all 820 windows and extensive room works.

In 2015, the five-star was named world's best hotel during Virtuoso Travel Week, the same luxury travel show at which Clark announced his Certified 25.

"We are privileged to represent Ireland and Irish tourism internationally as the only Irish property to be included in this inaugural list,” said general Manager, Niall Rochford.

For more on the Certified 25, see

Read more:

Three Irish hotels named among Europe's Top 15 resorts

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