Is there any nicer way to catch up with your loved ones than by booking a hotel break away together? Here, Lizzie Gore-Grimes shares her favourite Irish spot that's perfect for a night away with your other half – Carton House in Kildare.
WHO TO BRING? Your other half.
WHAT? Once the ancestral home of the Earls of Kildare and the Dukes of Leinster, Kildare’s 250-year-old Carton House has always been impressive; it’s even more so now, thanks to a multi-million-euro refurbishment that has seen the hotel awarded five-star status since December.
Under new ownership, the hotel is also now part of the prestigious Fairmont group, joining the ranks of such grande dame hotels as The Savoy in London and The Plaza in New York.
WHY? The refurbishment has reinstated the splendour of the original 18th century Palladian mansion, now referred to as “The House”, and it’s wonderful to see rooms formerly only used for events now part of the everyday guest experience.
To see the attention to detail in the preservation of hand-painted wallpapers and stucco plasterwork in the stunning Gold Salon, Drawing Room, Bell Room and breath-taking Morrison Room is really something; Downton Abbey, eat your heart out. A stay in one of the exquisite period rooms in The House, combined with a fine dining meal in The Morrison Room really does make for a very special romantic night away.
HIGHLIGHTS: There are many – between the 1,100 acre estate to explore by bike, two championship golf courses and beautifully designed new lobby bar area – but breakfast in The Morrison Room really is a standout experience (complete with a tiered breakfast tray of dreams). Meeting so many local young people on staff was also a highlight (particular shout to you, Kyle!), as was the superb Indian head massage with Orla in the spa.
THIS SPRING: It’s all about serene sipping this season at Carton House, with special offer The Duke’s Rest and Retreat offering an hour-long spa treatment (with access to the sauna and indoor hydrotherapy pool) followed by a wine tasting with cheese and charcuterie in The Duke’s Rest, available every day for €150 per guest. Garden Wing double rooms from €280; double rooms in The House from €695, cartonhouse.com.
Photography by Melanie Mullan and Barry Murphy. This article originally appeared in the Spring issue of IMAGE Magazine.