Luxury Hotels in Ireland | Virtuoso choices

reflections of Dromoland Castle, built in 1730
Eleven hotels in eight days is a lot to write about, this is more of a quick summary than a detailed set of reviews of luxury hotels in Ireland. Upscale travelers to Ireland have a LOT of great choices in all manor of styles (from centuries-old castles to ultra-modern hotels). A travel consultant who's been to Ireland can really help, not only with personal recommendations but also with value-added amenities — such as free breakfasts — that you'd normally have to pay for yourself.

Check out this google map of the Virtuoso hotels of Ireland, showing locations as well as the Virtuoso amenities.


There's so much to see and do in and around Dublin. Must-sees include the Book of Kells exhibit at Trinity College, the old Kilmainham Gaol, and the Guinness factory. Visit Newgrange north of Dublin, a megalithic passage tomb that is older than Stonehenge. South of Dublin are the gorgeous Powerscourt Gardens.

The Merrion is located in the heart of Dublin, an ideal place for most travelers to stay. Comprised of four traditional mansions, along with a new Garden Wing, The Merrion is a traditional hotel with a strong sense of place. Standard and Superior rooms in the Garden Wing are smaller but newer, while most luxury guests will choose a Deluxe Room in the Main Georgian Mansion.

Four Seasons Dublin, just a six minute drive north of the city center, is found in the most upscale residential neighborhood in all of Ireland. Just 11 years old, the hotel's red brick exterior makes it look as though it has always been in the neighborhood. Large, comfortable rooms and marble bathrooms with everything FS guests would expect, you will have a very comfortable stay here. My favorite room was the Corner Executive Suite.

Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt is a new hotel 20 minutes south of downtown Dublin. This resort is a recent build, and guestrooms and bathrooms are everything you'd expect from a new Ritz-Carlton. The resort has a huge 30,000 sq. ft. ESPA spa as well as its own golf course; moreover, County Wicklow is home to a greater concentration of golf courses than any other place on earth. If you stay here, do not miss the gorgeous Powerscourt Gardens.


Mount Juliet is a WOW property, a former Manor House built in the 1760s. Set on 1500 acres overlooking the River Nore, activities include golf, fishing, horse riding, shooting, archery, and a spa. The rooms are charming and beautifully decorated, with the best views out the back of the house over the river towards the green fields beyond. Its golf course has twice hosted the Irish Open.


Hayfield Manor is a good choice within the city of Cork with spacious rooms and and a good location walking distance from the center of town. While the rooms are nice for a small city hotel, they do not rise to the level of five star accommodations. Bathrooms appear finished in faux marble ceramic tiles, and the gold-colored plating splashed around the room does not create true elegance. Breakfast was good, but we found the service was uneven.

Castlemartyr Resort is a better choice in the area. A very large property with only 103 rooms, and I was struck with the expansiveness of the place. Rooms are spacious, decorated in attractive shades of greens and tans, and provide everything a discerning upscale traveler would expect. The resort offers a links style golf course and five restaurants and bars.


In the southwest of Ireland, visitors will want to drive around either the Ring of Kerry or the Ring of Dingle (but probably not both!) 

Sheen Falls Lodge was originally built as a fishing lodge in the 1600s. A 300 acre resort in Kenmare, it is set by the side of the picturesque waterfall from which the property gets its name. We were fortunate to visit on a beautiful, sunny day and were struck by the beautiful light that filled the guest rooms and dining areas of the hotel. One of the most requested rooms is Signature Suite # 209. Occupying a corner location with a private outdoor terrace, guests enjoy a panoramic view of the bay and the falls.

Aghadoe Heights is a spa resort five minutes from downtown Killarney that boasts a magical view of the lake and mountains in front of the hotel. Built 45 years ago, the exterior reflects the 60s architecture of its day, but updated guestroom interiors are appealing and comfortable. Most guests will want to end up in a Junior Suite in the new wing of the hotel.

Killarney Park is a family-run hotel built in 1992 with just 68 rooms. This hotel's major advantage is its location in the heart of Killarney. Step outside the front door, and you have countless options for shopping and dining within a couple of minutes' walk from the hotel. Deluxe rooms feel like Superiors, so you will want to book a Jr. Suite (or higher) to get the space normally associated with a Deluxe accommodation. While guest rooms could benefit from a soft and hard goods renovation, the staff here is warm and genuinely friendly.


The Cliffs of Moher, ancient Celtic archeological sites, and golf are among the attractions that bring visitors to County Clare, convenient to Shannon and its international airport.

Dromoland Castle was originally built in 1730 and converted to a hotel in 1963. There are three different buildings, but you will want to request a room in the Main Tower, the most elegant building in the complex with 18 foot ceilings and with the most convenient access to the spa, dining facilities, and bar. Stay here to have the experience of spending a few nights in a castle! As every room is unique, take the opportunity to see several rooms when you check in to choose the one you like the best. The real WOW accommodations are the State Rooms with high ceilings and tall windows.

The Lodge at Doonbeg is an hour north of Shannon, closer to the Cliffs of Moher and home to a dune style championship golf course designed by Greg Normal. With the tall, thick, and deep dune grasses that constitute the rough, and every hole by the sea, this will be one of the most challenging tests of golf you've ever experienced. An all-suite property, the lodge has everything from basic 1 BR Suites to elaborate 4 BR, 3000 square foot homes.

luxury hotels in Ireland (search here on Google)

copyright (c) 2012 by David Ourisman LLC. All rights reserved. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website. .

No comments: