Thursday, February 29, 2024

‘Nothing short of epic’ – Forbes Travel Guide rates its top 10 hotels in Ireland

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FTG bills itself as “the only global rating system” for luxury hotels, restaurants and spas

Adare Manor and Ashford Castle are listed as ‘Forbes Five-Star’ hotels for 2024 – the only two properties to receive its highest accolade on the island.

Conrad Dublin and The Merrion are rated ‘Forbes Four-Star’, while ‘Recommended’ properties include The Shelbourne, The Westbury, The Fitzwilliam and InterContinental in Dublin.

The K Club in Co Kildare and Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in Co Clare are also ‘Recommended’.

Adare Manor exudes “both Old World extravagance and fun”, Forbes Travel Guide (FTG) says.

“The former ancestral home of the Earls of Dunraven carries a regal air, but it’s a friendly destination, welcoming locals and guests alike… the manor experience elevates body and soul to banish the knotted stresses that come along with 21st-century life.”

Ashford Castle’s grounds “are nothing short of epic”, it adds. “Inside, the service is as warm and welcoming as the luxury hotel’s crackling open fires.”

“No request is too large, no detail is too small and discretion is always paramount,” it adds.

B&B rates at Adare Manor start from €650 per room this month, while B&B at Ashford Castle leads in from €525. Rates rise significantly in peak season.

The spa pool at Ashford Castle

Forbes Travel Guide, a separate company to the global media giant, styles itself as “the only global rating system for luxury hotels, restaurants, spas and ocean cruises”.

It began as Mobil Travel Guide, a guidebook for US motorists, in 1958.

FTG ratings are highly coveted by luxury properties, who see them as something of a global gold standard based on anonymous inspections – similar to Michelin star ratings for restaurants.

The 2024 list rates 2,040 properties worldwide, with just 340 ranked as ‘Forbes Five-Star’.

“To go through such an in-depth judging process and to achieve a Five-Star rating means a great deal to us all,” said Brendan O’Connor, general manager at Adare Manor.

“There’s a nervous excitement that permeates the castle in the weeks leading into the annual Forbes Travel Guide rating announcement,” said Ashford Castle’s general manager, Niall Rochford.

The Conrad’s baby grand piano (bottom left)

FTG’s 66th annual list saw its ratings expand into new destinations including the Algarve, Curacao, Iceland and Rwanda.

Just three hotels won a new triple ‘Forbes Five-Star’ status, combining the top awards for hotel, restaurant and spa.

They are Salamander Middleburg in Virginia, Rosewood Miramar Beach in California and The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.

There are only 15 triple five-star winners in the Forbes ratings. The Spa at Ashford Castle is also listed as a ‘Forbes Five-Star’ rating, making it Ireland’s only double ‘Forbes Five-Star’ property.

Forbes Travel Guide 2024 (Ireland)

  • Adare Manor, Co Limerick (Five-star)
  • Ashford Castle, Co Mayo (Five-star)
  • The Spa at Ashford Castle (Five-star)
  • Conrad Dublin (Four-star)
  • The Merrion, Dublin (Four-star)
  • The Fitzwilliam, Dublin (Recommended)
  • The K Club, Co Kildare (Recommended)
  • InterContinental Dublin (Recommended)
  • The Shelbourne, Dublin (Recommended)
  • Trump International Doonbeg (Recommended)
  • The Westbury, Dublin (Recommended)

“Travel was highly anticipated to have a strong year and the new winners on our 2024 list reflect the increased efforts properties are making to deliver elevated guest experiences,” said Amanda Frasier, President of Ratings for FTG.

“This year’s list demonstrates the evolving focus the discerning traveller has on well-being and the desire for authentic destination-centric itineraries.”

The full list is on ForbesTravelGuide.com.

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