Ireland's Hotel of the Year revealed at AA Hospitality Awards
AA Hotel of the Year 2018
Ballyfin Demesne in Co. Laois has been named Ireland's Hotel of the Year for 2018 at the annual AA Hospitality Awards.
Double rooms at the five-star hotel, recently ranked as the world's No.1 hotel by Condé Nast Traveller, start from €960 per room B&B in peak season.
"Ballyfin has, in its short history, become one of the finest hotels in Ireland, and perhaps one of the finest hotels in the world," commented AA Director of Consumer Affairs, Conor Faughnan, at an awards ceremony in Dublin this evening.
The AA Hospitality Awards honour "the most exacting" standards of hospitality, service and cuisine using anonymous visits by a trained team.
“It takes a lot to impress our AA inspectors," Faughnan said.
Ballyfin dates from the 1820s, when it was built as a Regency-era mansion for the Anglo-Irish Coote family. After decades as a Patrician Brothers boarding school, it was restored to former glories by US businessman Fred Krehbiel and his Irish wife, Kay.
In fact, the multi-million euro reboot took longer than the original, 19th-century build - and celeb guests are said to have included Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, who took a honeymoon trip to Ireland in 2014.
The AA’s head inspector described a stay as akin to “being in a private home, with the atmosphere of a period Irish house with all the facilities of a five star resort."
Its warm welcome, "friendly and highly professional staff" and of course, the landscaping and activities on its 600-acre estate, were also cited.
“We are very proud to gain this recognition for the hard work our team put in every day," said General Manager Damien Bastiat. "It’s a real testament to the Ballyfin ethos and to the beautiful property we are lucky enough to work in”.
Other awards saw Aldridge Lodge in Duncannon, Co. Wexford win 'AA Guest Accommodation of the Year', while the 'AA Courtesy & Care Award' for excellence in customer care went to The Twelve Hotel in Barna, Co. Galway.
All three hotels featured on Independent.ie Travel and Weekend Magazine's Fab 50, a list of the 50 best places to stay in Ireland for 2018.
Last year's AA Hotel of the Year went to Ashford Castle.