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'Of all the years, this is most significant' - Harvey's Point scoops top TripAdvisor award for seventh time

"Of all years, this was the most significant one," says Noel Cunningham, general manager at the hotel

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First choice: Harvey’s Point in Co Donegal

First choice: Harvey’s Point in Co Donegal

First choice: Harvey’s Point in Co Donegal

Harvey's Point in Co Donegal has been named Ireland's top hotel in TripAdvisor's Travellers' Choice Awards for 2020.

Remarkably, this is the ­seventh time in eight years that the four-star facility, set between Lough Eske and the Blue Stack Mountains, has topped the poll.

It also won last year, and from 2013 to 2017 straight.

"Of all years, this was the most significant one," said Noel Cunningham, general manager at the hotel.

"Anything of a positive nature for hospitality should be shouted from the rooftops. We're delighted, not just that Harvey's Point has been ­recognised so many times, but for the industry as a whole to get some exposure... to get someone saying bravo is so important at the moment."

Killarney Park Hotel in Co Kerry, Ashford Castle in Co Mayo, Dromoland Castle in Co Clare and Ballygarry House Hotel in Tralee complete the Top five on TripAdvisor's list.

"It has been an incredibly tough year for the hospitality industry, but with doors again open to hotels and restaurants across Ireland, now is the right time to celebrate those businesses that have delivered consistently outstanding ­service and quality over the last year," said James Kay, ­Tripadvisor spokesperson.

"These awards should give consumers confidence to venture out and support the industry's vital recovery."

Hotel occupancy levels in Ireland are low this summer. Self-catering, camping and well-known and coastal resorts have rescued some good news from the season, but others have struggled to fill rooms due to a lack of overseas visitors, big events, festivals, coach tours or weddings.

A recent report for the Kerry Tourism Industry Federation showed occupancy hovering at around 30pc this summer.

However, in a reminder of the Kingdom's enduring place in Irish tourism, Kerry took four of the Top 10 hotel spots (Killarney's Lake and Brehon hotels also featured), while the Killarney Park was named Ireland's top luxury hotel.

In other awards, Heaton's Guesthouse in Dingle was named Ireland's best-rated small hotel, while sister property Castlewood House won the award for best service.

"For a small, indigenous family business to get such recognition is a testament to the pride and dedication of our teams, and to our continuing commitment to delivering the absolute best in traditional Irish hospitality," said director Helen Heaton. "We look forward with positivity to the challenges ahead."

Noel Cunningham says of the health and safety changes forced by Covid-19: "People are very understanding. "They are getting used to doing things slightly differently."

TripAdvisor, which dubs itself "the world's largest travel platform", has its critics, of course. In recent years, it has come under fire for the reliability of some user reviews - but the site says it has stepped up efforts to improve checks, moderation and transparency.

Its Travellers' Choice Awards are determined based on "the quality and quantity of the millions of reviews, opinions and ratings collected on TripAdvisor in 2019," it says.

In the restaurant categories, Chapter One in Dublin was named Ireland's top fine ­dining restaurant, ahead of An Port Mór in Westport.

Mulberry Garden and Pearl Brasserie in the capital, along with Rossers Restaurant in Aghadoe, Co Kerry, rounded out the Top Five.

Daly's House in Doolin, Co Clare, was named Ireland's best B&B in the Travellers' Choice Awards.

In the global gongs, Viroth's Hotel in Cambodia was named the world's number one hotel, and Auberge Du Vieux Puits in France was named the top fine dining restaurant.

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Irish Independent