In Ireland, it's not uncommon for hotels to label themselves as castles without being truly deserving of the word. Ashford Castle is not one of these hotels: The imposing property on Lough Corrib is as castle-like as it gets, from the sweeping manicured lawns, to the suits of armor, to the turreted towers, to the friendly resident Irish wolfhounds who hang out in the lobby in the morning. There's even a secret tunnel dating to the 16th century (now a wine cellar). The property’s rich, centuries-long history includes a 60-year spin as the private residence of the Guinness family. Today, Ashford Castle offers 82 sumptuous, individually decorated guest rooms; a fine-dining restaurant, a beautiful spa, and a wide range of estate activities includes falconry lessons, boat tours on the lake, and golf on the nine-hole course. It's one of the best hotels in not only Ireland but the world, and for many guests will be a magical, once-in-a-lifetime experience.