Ireland Hotels › Boutique Hotels
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Ashford Castle

Ashford Castle Rating: 4.5 Pearls

Ashford Castle embodies the fantasy of the Irish castle hotel, featuring a massive historic stone facade, complete with towers and turrets; gorgeous, manicured grounds; a stunning setting on a huge lake; and common spaces that are truly grand, with rich wood paneling, chandeliers, and antique furniture. After such magnificence, the rooms can be a bit of a letdown. They still retain elements of their original elegance, but some have frumpy style and need renovations. George V Dining Room offers excellent, formal fine dining (jackets are required in the evening), and drinks and tea can be enjoyed in the graceful drawing room with lake views. The wide range of estate activities includes falconry lessons, boat tours on the lake, golf on the 9-hole course, clay shooting, and archery.
Sheen Falls Lodge

Sheen Falls Lodge Rating: 4.5 Pearls

Sheen Falls Lodge is arguably the top hotel in County Kerry. The 300-acre estate belonged to the Marquess of Landsowne in the 18th century, and the hotel -- opened in 1991 -- feels like a country manor house. It has a stunning setting on both Kenmare Bay and Sheen River, which has, as the name suggests, gentle tumbling waterfalls. The 66 rooms have classic country decor -- crown molding, cheerful prints (plaids and florals among them, in moderation), and soft yellow walls; all but one have water views. Estate activities range from clay pigeon shooting to fishing to tennis, and more traditional luxury hotel features include a lovely indoor pool, spa, and small fitness center. Formal fine dining is offered at La Cascade restaurant, while (slightly) less expensive dishes are served at the classy Restaurant Lounge. The sommelier hosts daily tastings in the wine cellar.
Cliff House Hotel

Cliff House Hotel Rating: 4.5 Pearls

Billed as the only five-star seaside hotel in Ireland, the 39-room Cliff House "hangs from the cliff's face," offering stunning views of Ardmore Bay. It draws travelers looking to escape, unwind, and take in the spectacular views, and foodies eager to try the one Michelin-starred hotel restaurant in all of Ireland. Rooms are large, comfortable, and modern, with a color palette inspired by the natural surroundings. All have sea views, and come with flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. Large, luxurious bathrooms have walk-in rainfall showers and egg-shaped soaking tubs. The indoor infinity pool has a glass wall offering beautiful views over the bay, and there’s a full-service spa with sauna, steam room, a relaxation terrace with outdoor soaking tubs, and a natural rock pool. The quaint fishing village of Ardmore, with its sandy beaches and 12th-century church ruins, is less than a five-minute drive, and Cork is an hour's drive. Many charming towns and villages are within a short drive of the hotel.
Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort

Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort Rating: 4.5 Pearls

The 62-room Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort is a luxurious five-pearl property housed in a gorgeous castle-style manor house set on a sprawling estate on the banks of the River Maigue. The surrounding parkland makes for a peaceful countryside retreat, where guests can partake in a wide range of outdoor activities, including falconry, archery, fishing, and golf on the championship golf course. They can also pamper themselves with treatments at the Lavender Cottage spa. Interior spaces are full of antique pieces and decorative details -- original stone fireplaces and stained-glass windows -- that evoke another era, and extend to the rooms and suites. The Adare has two atmospheric restaurants, and a late-night cellar bar offers live music. Self-catering villas and town houses are also available, but villa guests cannot use the hotel’s indoor pool, steam room, and fitness center.
Dylan Hotel

Dylan Hotel Rating: 4.5 Pearls

The Dylan Hotel is a stylish 44-room boutique with a quiet and safe location in Dublin 4, an upscale neighborhood a short walk from the city center. Each room has been individually styled with a mix of whimsical decor -- artistic headboards, intricate mirrors, and statement chairs -- and classic pieces. Amenities are fantastic for such a small property. In the room, there are flat-screen TVs, iPod docks (with iPods loaded with historical Dublin walking tours), stocked minibars, and bathrooms with underfloor heating. Some bathrooms also have big, luxurious soaking tubs with small flat-screen TVs. Amenities in the hotel include a fitness room, cozy bar, heated outdoor terrace, solid restaurant, and 24-hour room service. In addition to its character and sleek style, the Dylan is known for excellent service.
Hayfield Manor Hotel

Hayfield Manor Hotel Rating: 4.5 Pearls

One of Ireland's most acclaimed properties, this family-run, 88-room boutique hotel in Cork City pulls out all the stops for an authentic Irish experience. The hotel is set on two acres of manicured gardens, in a Georgian-style manor house with elegant, traditional decor, and has an impressive array of features, including two popular restaurants, a lively bar, and a spa with heated indoor pool. Guests can also expect warm Irish hospitality, exemplified in perks like a golf putter in every room and a special milk-and-cookies turndown service for kids. Charming rooms include upscale amenities like iPod docks, orthopedic beds, Nespresso machines, and Elemis bath products. Rates are reflective of the level of luxury; this is definitely Cork's top hotel.
Ambassador Hotel Cork

Ambassador Hotel Cork Rating: 4.0 Pearls

A former military hospital, the Ambassador is now an upscale historic boutique. Its 70 spacious rooms all feature colorful decor, high ceilings, king beds, free Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs. Some have balconies offering expansive city views. Property highlights include a beautiful restaurant with a homey feel, and a fitness center complete with a sauna. The location atop a hill allows for panoramic views -- but guests will have to drive to the city center or take a 20-minute uphill walk on their way back.
Pembroke Hotel

Pembroke Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls

Built in 2007, Pembroke Hotel is fairly new for this medieval city. The chic, modern property has 74 air-conditioned guest rooms in the heart of the old city. It is located just around the corner from Kilkenny Castle, and there are spectacular views of the castle from the roof deck and from the special Castle View rooms. The trendy Stathams Bar and Restaurant draws locals and guests for its creative takes on seasonal ingredients, and the bar offers live music on weekends. Rates are on par with hotels in a similar class, but the Pembroke is the highest-rated of the bunch.
Maritime Hotel

Maritime Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls

With a dark, sexy lobby design, stylish rooms with bay views, and a spa offering treatments for two, this upscale boutique is a solid pick for couples -- but the large suites with kitchenettes, and the myriad kid-friendly amenities make it a favorite among families as well. Its location on the waterfront, a five-minute walk from the city center, is convenient for those looking to explore Bantry. Just note that street-facing rooms can be a little noisy due to traffic, and that the fitness center has no windows.
Dromhall Hotel

Dromhall Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls

The 72-room Dromhall Hotel is a family-owned upscale property within walking distance to Killarney’s town center. The elegant, bright interiors are traditionally decorated with antique furnishings, damask wallpapers, and patterned armchairs and sofas; inviting common spaces include a lovely lounge with a fireplace and selection of books. Guests also have access to a leisure center located in an adjacent property with an indoor pool, sauna, steam room, and full-service spa. There are two restaurants on-site: a relaxed bar and bistro and a more refined dining room, both serving local, seasonal menus. Rooms have marble bathrooms, and many have mountain views. For the price, though, it may also be worth considering Sheen Falls Lodge, a 300-acre estate with more activities.


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