The restored twenty-bedroom Georgian house Ballyfin in county Laois has been voted as the number one hotel in the world in the Conde Nast 2016 readers choice awards – and it’s easy to see why. Situated on 641 acres of lush Irish greenery and Lakelands, this opulent five-star hideaway will stop time with its lavishly decorated accommodation and reception rooms mirrored from the 18th Century; complete with Irish art and antiques.
The spectacular bedrooms are enough to make you want to stay. The mansion is replicated and refurbished to model what the house would have looked like during the Georgian period when it was owned by the Coote family who was descendants of sir Charles Coote, an Elizabethan adventurer who came to Ireland in 1601. Each of the 20 outstanding bedrooms are suitably named after Coote family members and are oh-so luxurious.
The Lady Caroline Coote
The Westmeath Stateroom
The Dr Beaufort stateroom
Recent refurbishments have also seen the addition of a state of art swimming facilities and spa. But if relaxation doesn’t tickle your fancy you can also take a row-boat out on the lake (or have a butler row it for you), try your hand at archery or falconry, or take a trek around on horseback at the hotel paddocks.
Swimming at Ballyfin spa
Over 300,000 travel enthusiasts take part in the annual Conde Nast readers choice awards, who combine data, survey results and comments (over 75,000 of them) to produce the final winners’ list of 50 of the worlds best and most luxurious getaway destinations. Hotels were chosen based on their passion for authenticity, allure, and personalization. How much does a stay in this luxurious estate cost? Oh not much. A one-night bed and breakfast stay during off-peak times will set you back around €560 and anything above €1000 during high season.
Also making the cut was the opulent Waterford Castle in Ballinakill, Co. Waterford. Placing seventh on the list, this 16th Century castle is exquisitely decadent and homely, and it even housed on its very own private island. Placing ninth was The Lodge at Ashford Castle in Co. Mayo, which splendidly sits on over 350 acres of manicured land, offering a charming and very sophisticated retreat to the west.
Bathroom facilities in the Junior Suite at The Lodge at Ashford Castle
Click here for a look at the full Conde Nast readers choice list to see who some of our competitors are (*warning: you might be provoked into booking a getaway asap).