There’s no scarcity of historic and opulent resorts dotting the picturesque Irish countryside, however when you arrive at Ashford Citadel, it shortly turns into clear that you simply’ve reached a really particular place. The dreamy property was initially constructed as a fortress within the twelfth century, and over the previous a number of hundred years, it has belonged to a lot of outstanding Irish households; most notably, it was a longtime nation dwelling of the Guinnesses.

The property was ultimately reworked right into a lodge, which opened in July 1939, and whereas it’s lengthy been an opulent retreat, its newest multimillion-dollar revamp turned it into a very noteworthy, bucket list-deserving vacation spot. Ashford Citadel grew to become a a part of Purple Carnation Assortment in 2013, and shortly thereafter underwent a powerful $75 million renovation. The lodge reopened its doorways in 2015, revealing the outcomes of the expensive refurbishment, together with freshened up rooms, a lavish spa and a non-public movie show (to call only a few updates), all whereas taking care to take care of the property’s historic nature.

The lodge has hosted fairly just a few well-known faces over time, too, welcoming everybody from Brad Pitt and Pierce Brosnan to Grace Kelly and Ronald Reagan. Whereas luxurious lodging and a ridiculously photogenic backdrop are admittedly essential elements in figuring out one of the best resorts, Ashford Citadel doesn’t cease there: the lodge is nothing in need of magical, in no small half due to the attentive workers and revered historical past. Talking of which, anybody who’s fortunate sufficient to remain on the lodge ought to be certain that to ask Robert Bowe, Ashford’s restaurant and wine program supervisor, a couple of sure ghost story.

On that word, right here’s the whole lot to learn about Ashford Citadel and why it ought to high your journey bucket record.

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Ashford Citadel.

What’s the decor scenario?  

If I hold mentioning the renovation, it’s as a result of it actually was accomplished that effectively. Ashford Citadel’s decor and furnishings handle to include fashionable touches whereas paying cautious consideration to historic particulars, as a result of let’s be trustworthy right here, if you’re spending a big sum of money (charges begin at $776 an evening), you need consolation, and modern additions are essential for that! The interiors are luxurious but inviting, with oak paneling, velvet material and comfy fireplaces with ornate mantles. Every area within the lodge has a definite, particular person aptitude, however completely enhances the remainder of the enclaves, from the elegant sparkle of the George V restaurant to the delicate sophistication of the drawing room.

Ashford Citadel.

What’s there to do? 

Ashford Citadel occupies 350 acres in County Mayo, on the West Coast of Eire. You could possibly simply spend your whole journey inside the confines of the property; there’s a nine-hole golf course, a clay capturing vary, fly fishing, archery and horse stables. Ashford Citadel can be the place you’ll discover the oldest established falconry faculty in all of Eire, the place you may be part of a non-public hawk stroll and hike alongside the grounds with an teacher—you’ll get the hold of it very quickly. For a much less strenuous however actually pretty exercise, head out on one of many morning Wolfhound Walks, the place you’ll discover the property with the lodge’s beloved wolfhounds. For a much less outdoorsy second, cease by the newly completed cinema, which has totally different film screenings every week.

Ashford Citadel.

What concerning the rooms? 

The historic citadel consists of simply 83 rooms and suites, all of that are uniquely (and lavishly) furnished with plush material, textured wallpaper, customized patterned carpets and fairly probably the softest sheets I’ve ever had the posh of sleeping in. The suites have separate dwelling rooms, and among the largest lodging even have personal eating areas. Whereas the entire rooms have pretty views of the grounds, I used to be significantly thrilled that my suite had the dreamiest vista of the lake exterior, which I may soak up from the consolation of a Sleeping Magnificence-worthy, four-poster mattress.

Ashford Citadel George V Eating Room.

Let’s discuss eating places.

Ashford Citadel is dwelling to a minimum of seven (sure, seven) eating places, a few of that are discovered inside the principle citadel, and others that are positioned additional out on the grounds. Anybody who has checked right into a considerably remoted lodge, solely to seek out that there’s one restaurant with the identical menu for just about each single meal, is aware of what a deal with it’s to have a real abundance of selection in relation to eating choices. Whereas I do advocate heading exterior of Ashford to one of many neighboring native eateries, there’s no denying that you simply’d be completely content material (and by no means bored) in the event you caught to the plethora of eating places inside the property.

The crème de la crème, nevertheless, is definitely the George V Eating Room, which was initially inbuilt 1905 in honor of the Prince of Wales, following the longer term king’s go to to the Irish property. Whereas there have been fairly just a few refurbishments over time, the room continues to be decidedly match for royalty, full with wooden paneling, many a glowing chandelier, gold accents and plush blue velvet chairs. It’s positively essentially the most formal of all of the eating choices, and in the event you actually wish to deal with your self, contemplate indulging within the tasting menu, which comes with fantastically paired wines courtesy of a really spectacular sommelier.

Ashford Citadel Stanley’s Diner.

For a cozier or extra informal expertise, strive Stanley’s, which is positioned on the decrease stage of the property, or Cullen’s on the Cottage, which is a separate constructing a quick method from the principle foyer. And, in fact, a cocktail or two within the Prince of Wales bar is nonnegotiable; you may calm down within the sumptuously upholstered leather-based chairs and couches whereas sipping on a customized drink creation. On that word, a wine tasting within the cellar (which you entry by way of many a hidden door and low-ceilinged hallway) is the right ending (or starting) to an evening.

The spa at Ashford Citadel. Ashford Citadel

A spa second is essential.

Getting into the spa at Ashford Citadel seems like an entire escape, in so small half due to the distinction within the decor. Whereas nearly all of Ashford is adorned with traditional furnishings, jewel tones, deep colorways and all of the becoming antiques you’d anticipate of a luxuriously renovated 800-year-old Irish citadel, the spa is decidedly gentle, ethereal and fashionable. The spa, which was created within the final section of the multimillion-dollar renovation, consists of 5 remedy rooms, a standard hammam and a soothing stone steam room. No element is simply too small; there’s even eucalyptus infused into the steam room to assist with respiratory and circulation.

It’s the relief pool, nevertheless, that basically makes the spa stand out from the remainder. It’s a serene area that isn’t solely calming and tranquil, with a captivating seashell chandelier and mirrored doorways, but in addition embraces the historic property’s historical past, with a “Tree of Life” mural symbolizing Irish Celtic mythology all alongside the wall extending the size of the pool.

Sure, it’s best to go away the lodge—a minimum of for just a few hours. 

Now that you realize all about what Ashford has to supply with out ever leaving the property, you would possibly surprise why you’d ever wish to go away the property throughout your keep, which, to be honest, is unquestionably a thought that crossed my thoughts. The beautiful surrounding panorama and tradition, nevertheless, is way too fantastic to cross up in the event you’re within the space. Ashford Citadel not too long ago launched a “Meet the Makers” program with rigorously curated itineraries which are personalized for particular person visitor experiences, so you may actually immerse your self within the native tradition of the group. Ashford has 37 totally different expertise companions to date, which concentrate on the whole lot from food and drinks to crafts and dance, together with workshops, tastings and extra, lots of that are held in native artisans’ personal properties or workplaces. The partnerships simply is smart, and reveals the respect Ashford Citadel has for his or her neighbors and the area people. It’ll take your Eire expertise to an entire different stage, and proved to be the right addition to an already dreamy keep.

*The keep at Ashford Citadel was courtesy of the lodge. The views and opinions expressed are the journalist’s personal.*

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