An outstanding building situated on the picturesque shores of Lough Corrib in Ireland,  Ashford Castle is an idyllic getaway for Luxury Gold guests. Owned by the brand’s founders, this Red Carnation property is set in 350 acres of lush countryside and dates back to 1228. It provides guests with luxury rooms, a wealth of activities, thoughtful touches and plenty of Irish charm. 

And who better to fill you in on this magnificent castle than Bea Tollman, the President and Founder of Red Carnation Hotels? 

Bea Tollman.

When my son Brett was 11 years old, he caught his first salmon in the waters of Lough Corrib, in the shadows of Ashford Castle, a wonderful 12th Century castle property set within a 350-acre estate in County Mayo in the West of Ireland. It was an exhilarating moment that will remain etched in his memory forever, but little did we know then that, decades later, this beautiful hotel would play an even bigger role in our family story.

In 2013, Ashford Castle became the jewel in the crown of our Red Carnation Hotel Collection, and today we stand as proud guardians of this iconic building with all its history, grandeur and array of activities. It has been a real labor of love for me, my family and our team at the Castle, as we sensitively restored the property to its former glory and added an award-winning spa, cinema, cigar terrace, billiard room, and wine cellars for private dining. We even turned the old boathouse on the lake into a luxurious hideaway cottage, the ultimate in secluded accommodation.

Guests exploring Ashford Castle.

The estate now offers over 30 fabulous activities, from falconry, horse riding, clay shooting, cycling, tennis and golf on the shore, to cruising, canoeing and, of course, fishing on the water. There is even zip-lining ad tree-climbing, which is not for the faint-hearted! Within the property, we have world class dining in our George V restaurant and more casual options at the Dungeon, Cullen’s at the Cottage and Mrs Tea’s Boutique, with many of my own signature dishes featuring as popular fixtures on the menus. We also serve a delicious afternoon tea every day in the Connaught room, and with sumptuous spa treatments, wine tastings and daily screenings in our cinema, there is never a dull moment at Ashford.

Wherever possible, we used local artisans and materials, and beyond that sourced antique, original art, chandeliers, fabrics and bespoke furniture to complement the ambience and tradition of this much-loved landmark.

But above all, it is the people of Ashford that make the difference. Some of our staff have been working here for as many as forty years, in some cases their children do too, passing their knowledge and expertise on through the generations. They always give the warmest of welcomes and look after their guests individually and tirelessly to make every stay special. It’s this attention to detail and generous hospitality that has led the hotel to be recognised as Virtuoso’s ‘Hotel of the Year’ and the ‘Best Resort in the UK & Ireland’ by readers of Travel + Leisure.

I am so proud of what Ashford Castle is today, in this latest chapter of its illustrious history. Ashford Castle was once home to the Guinness family and has played host to royalty, sporting legends and stars of stage and screen including George V (then Prince of Wales), Ronald Reagan, Brad Pitt, John Wayne, Fred Astaire, Barbra Streisand and many more. We are excited that from 2019, Luxury Gold guests can now join this esteemed company and stay with us as part of the new Ultimate Ireland escorted journey. I can personally assure you a wonderful stay, and I would love to hear from you afterwards on how you found it.