- Free WiFi
- Golf Course
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
Ireland is one of the world’s most magical destinations; it makes for an ideal place to ring in the new year. And Ashford Castle is one of the most magnificent places in the country. Just 45 minutes from Galway Airport, it’s past fields so green that they almost look fake.
The royal treatment begins the minute I get out of my vehicle: my luggage is whisked away and I’m handed an arrival drink — a top-secret recipe called “Arthur’s Bellini”, named after Arthur Guinness, the famed brewmaster and previous owner of the castle. It’s a combination of Guinness and champagne that’s just a touch sweet and remarkably delicious.
The décor inside the Great Hall is period perfect with Waterford chandeliers and gilt mirrors and fireplaces. I flop into a large upholstered chair — to me, Ashford looks handsomely well-worn like a cozy family estate.
Despite the intimate feel Ashford is quite large. With 350 acres of sprawling land and 83 guest rooms, there are plenty of opportunities to get lost (I make a few wrong turns before finding my room.) Each boudoir at Ashford has unique period décor with carefully hidden modern amenities like heated towel racks. Bathrooms are nearly as large as the bedrooms with double basins and a copious amount of marble. I love the old-fashioned claw foot tubs and oversized beds. I feel like a princess. No wonder Grace Kelly was an Ashford regular. I treat myself to afternoon tea. The scones and clotted cream, cucumber sandwiches with butter and pastel-colored cakes are so generous, I’m ready for an afternoon nap.
Over dinner in the Connaught Room, an Irish guest tells the story of the mischievous ghost on the 4th floor. The restaurant prides itself on featuring local Irish produce, tempting me to try the Chef’s degustation menu; however, traditional fish and chips win me over. For dessert, I indulge in an Irish cheese plate. Gaelic cheese is totally underrated. It is absolutely the creamiest, most delicate cheese I’ve ever tasted.
The next morning I wander the lush grounds, where wild woods border manicured gardens, until finally arriving at The School of Falconry. There aren’t many firsts left in travel, but casting my beautiful hawk “Milly” into the trees and seeing her sweep back and land delicately on my gloved forearm is an unfamiliar thrill. After a morning with the hawks and Dingle, the adorable 22-pound owl, I am happy to stay on property and go to the spa. I also debate a Lough Carrib river cruise, but the concierge convinces me to explore nearby towns of Galway, Clifdon and Cong instead.
A delightful drive through the countryside and I begin to understand what “forty shades of green” really means. I pass rolling hills scattered with blonde cows and hear the sounds of locals enjoying a pint (or two). I join them for a drink and satisfy my need for a medieval adventure.
How to Get There
Just driving up to the Castle feel like magic. It's a throwback in time with all the modern accoutrements you could want. The woods are fantastic to explore, the village is an easy walk, the rooms are plush and the rest is a joy to explore.
I have stayed in numerous hotels all over the world but none other the personal service that you get form the First Gate of Ashford Castle. The staff make everyone feel so important and look after your every need. We were there for 3 days, 2 nights and it was virtually one of most relaxing few days we have ever had. The grounds, the atmosphere, the food , our room, the staff all 5 stars and more. I could single them all for special mention and that is extra ordinary. A good judgement of a hotel is when everyone knows their job and the manager is invisible. With a wide range of nationalities staying at the hotel you can only compliment the very experienced staff on how they do their job and guide their trainees. Fantastic, we will be back.
We planned a 3 night stay at Ashford Castle for our family of 4 (4yr and 6yr old), and loved it so much we cancelled our end of the week plans to stay for 5 nights.
Upon arrival we were given royalty treatment, with a seamless check in process and multiple "welcomes" from the entire staff. Callum and Shane were amazing hosts giving us a tour of the castle, and providing gifts for our children that would help them explore everything the castle had to offer. Laura and Hannah made sure we had all our plans ready for the week ahead.
Our room was top notch, and very spacious with views of the lake, fountain, and grounds in the back of the castle. The room was equipped with heated bathroom floors and towel rack, bath robes for use of the spa (including children sized bathrobes), and very thoughtfully decorated.
We took advantage of long walks on the grounds, searching for leprechauns and fairies, climbing Guinness Tower, horseback riding, carriage ride, the spa - yes, treatments for the kids too and an amazing swimming pool. The Spa staff got to know us very well as we took advantage of the kids hours in the pool. Housekeepers stopped to learn out kids names and spoke to us each day of our plans. The restaurant managers knew us, what we liked to eat, and spoke to us every morning. Adelina was an amazing waitress and genuinely looked forward seeing us each morning for breakfast. We ate at The Dungeon, Cullens at the Cottage, and Wild at The Lodge. The food was some of the best we have ever had (and we appreciate good food).
On rainy days we took advantage of the in hotel Cinema with fresh popcorn and treats for the kids. A kids movie played each afternoon, but was told that they could put on any movie we like at anytime for our kids...WOW!
I cannot say enough positive things about our stay at Ashford Castle. We were genuinely sad to leave, even after spending an extra two days there than originally planned. Upon leaving, our kids received a gift from the lobby staff. Then as it poured rain and we the car loaded, the general manager of the hotel ran out in the rain to shake our hands and made sure we were well taken care of. This was the most sincere and caring staff we have ever come across.
I recommend Ashford Castle to anyone, and guarantee their experience will be unforgettable.
I visited Ashford Castle three years prior for just one night and knew I had to come back to stay longer and I was so happy I did. This time we visited in early January and were so happy to still see such gorgeous holiday decorations and we made sure to take advantage of everything they had to offer - afternoon tea (which was so delicious and the tea room was beautiful), the extended hawk walk (our favorite activity there and even better than the normal hawk walk because you get to interact with the owl), massages in the heavenly spa, private wine tasting in the underground wine cellar (worth the price!), dinner in The Dungeon and The George V dining room (such amazing service and food), and the amazing breakfast buffet. We also really enjoyed the different live bands each night and of course just exploring the castle itself with all of it's many beautiful rooms was so much fun. Our room itself was incredibly comfortable and clean and of course the service throughout the castle at every step in beyond compare. Such an amazing, magical place!
Treated to a trip to Ashford Castle... such an experience. Service, staff , food and spa exceptional. Everyone goes beyond the call of duty to make your stay memorable. Can’t wait to be treated again!