Gregans Castle | hidden gem in County Clare

Cliffs of Moher — (c) 2014 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

County Clare is one of my favorite places in Ireland, home to the Cliffs of Moher (pictured above) as well as the less well-known Burren National Park. The two most popular five star hotels in County Clare are Dromoland Castle and the Lodge at Doonbeg. You'll enjoy very comfortable stays at either of these, as well as the Virtuoso amenities that you can receive by booking through any Virtuoso travel consultant.

But if you'd prefer to be a bit off the beaten path, I loved Gregans Castle. After a morning tour of the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren, we had lunch and a site inspection at this property. Don't be fooled by the four star rating, as Ireland rates its hotels by an arbitrary check list. To be rated five stars, a hotel must have a doorman — which would have been totally out of character for Gregans Castle, a small gem of a boutique hotel. We received a warm personal welcome at the front door by the hotel's Director.

A wonderful 18th century country manor house (not a castle), Gregan's Castle has a restful atmosphere, beautiful views, and a simply wonderful restaurant (our lunch consisted of a pea & parmesan Risotto, followed by an exquisite Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake for dessert). If you can overlook the lack of separate step-in showers (showers are in the tub), everything about the accommodations is great. Each room is unique and designed by the Director's wife, a talented artist. Her sense of color and styling is spot on.

Breakfast is included in the reasonable rates, upgrades are possible, and with a two-night stay my clients receive the Celebrated Perk of a complimentary half-day walking tour of the Burren led by one of the most engaging and colorful tour guides you'll ever meet.

Gregans Castle has warmth, personality, and beauty that is beyond my ability to express in words. If my description engages you, trust me. This is where you want to stay in County Clare!

copyright (c) 2014 by David Ourisman LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell Travel. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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