Mary Gostelow discovers luxury just outside Dublin

Girlahead checks in to room #40 of newly minted Carton House

Living Area, The Duke Suite

Ireland has not always had a strong reputation with luxury brands – both Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton came to the Dublin area. And left, leaving the stage to such globally-recognised independents as The Merrion. But now Accor’s Carton House, a Fairmont Managed Hotel, is here, ready to welcome those who want to live like an Irish lord, at least for a memorable few days.

While you are at Carton House, 26.5kms west of Dublin, reminders of the FitzGerald, Kildare and Leinster dynasties of past eras permeate your stay.

Carton House facade

Take breakfast in the portraits-hung Gold Room, with a high and soaring white and gold-leaf barrelled ceiling. This is complemented by dozens of vertical gold pipes on one end wall, showing there was once an organ here. The adjacent Butler’s Pantry still has over 30 bells with clangers, each with a different tone and labelled for a specific room. As a change from Emerald Isle history, Lady Emily’s Chinese Boudoir’s midnight walls display applied panels of Mandarin silk.

First-generation American John Mullen, today Philadelphia-based founder of Apple Leisure, bought this 600-hectare estate as a memento of his roots, and as heritage for his children. The uninterrupted rolling landscape conveniently came with two champion 18-hole golf courses, one Mark O’Meara and the other Colin Montgomerie. Add a football pitch, booked out as practice by Chelsea, Real Madrid and other top-level clubs. And, guarded by immaculately manicured topiary and centuries-old Cedars, there’s a three-floor stone mansion.

Martin Mangan, General Manager, Carton House, A Fairmont Managed Hotel
Gold Salon

All 1739 vintage, the house and its numerous outhouses are now imaginatively connected by 21st- century stone and glass walkways so today the entire main entity measures at least 300 metres end to end. At one end a tasteful new block houses nearly all 169 bedrooms, well thought-out with ample sockets and USB ports: #166 is handy for the two-floor gym, 18-metre indoor pool and Aromatherapy spa.

I was in character-full #40 on the top floor of the main house. The superb mattress, surrounded by an outline-only four poster, was Fairmont-standard. Overall-leafy wallpaper was location-suitable.

Bedroom of the Duke Suite

I loved dinner, at a high-up table in the one-time Cheese Room where Derek Kelly, working a massive Berto’s range in the adjacent Kathleen’s Kitchen, leads colleagues, all Irish and Gen-Y, using local produce for, say, Koji-marinated Achill Island lamb neck with kelp-infused mash. We could have had Guinness or a local whiskey but chose a tasting of Pinots by the glass (an impressively well-stocked Wine Room, once used for storing lords’ riding boots, leads off today’s lobby lounge).

Kathleen's Kitchen, Carton House

As complement to a kitchen dinner, the equally-memorable breakfast, by contrast, is elegantly nibbled in that Gold Room. Try the hotel’s signature Carton House plate, Foxbrook eggs, Crowe streaky bacon, Dublin Gold sausages, Tommy Doherty black and white puddings, and more (dare I admit merely followed an apple-avocado smoothie with an egg white omelette with soda bread?).

You leave here immersed in Ireland, its history and its people. As hotel GM Martin Mangan, born here and a returner after years working overseas, says, there is something about Ireland and the fact that everyone has time to talk, and share.

Wine Cellar

Mary Gostelow publishes the daily and a unique weekly 15-minute industry Mary Gostelow Girlahead Podcast, both part of Almont Global.

Subscribe to LATTE’s free eNewsletter to keep up to date with everything in the luxury travel industry.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

WP to LinkedIn Auto Publish Powered By :