Journey into the rugged splendour of County Kerry and you’ll find wonders like the River Laune, Killarney National Park, Macgillycuddy Reeks, the Gap of Dunloe… and the best hotel in Ireland. The Dunloe Hotel & Gardens perfectly encapsulates the region’s spectacular beauty, with five-star luxury nestled amongst lush parklands and ancient castle ruins. We dive into the Dunloe and find out what makes this Irish hotel so special.
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The Dunloe Hotel & Gardens underwent a major refurbishment, reopening in 2018 after 18 months and €19 million. The result? A sophisticated, luxury hotel that melts into the natural surroundings. The hotel is set on a raised site in the Macgillycuddy Reeks mountain range, and it does not miss an opportunity to show it off.
The dining room has a double-height ceiling, drawing the scenery into the room. Meanwhile, the six-metre-high lobby is a whimsical library with striking glass-stained windows and tiled columns, designed by Swiss architects Monoplan.
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Set in Beaufort, Killarney, in the heart of the Kerry countryside, The Dunloe overlooks the stunning Gap of Dunloe. The hotel is set on a 64-acre estate among the ruins of the 13th-century Dunloe Castle. Built by the Norman Fitzgeralds in 1215 as part of the Kerry Defence to patrol the Gap of Dunloe, the castle grounds are now a tranquil oasis to explore. With beautiful gardens, an arboretum with rare trees from around the world, and a dreamy field dotted with cows and mini Austrian Hafflinger ponies, this is the place to unwind in nature’s best.
Outside, you’re surrounded by centuries-old castle ruins and mountain ranges… But once you step inside the hotel, you’ll find that the ancient world melds into modern luxuries. All the large bedrooms have plush carpets, comfortable beds, and velvet chairs, while the balconies bring the views right to your bedside. The ensuite bathrooms have a separate bath and shower, along with luxurious extras like fluffy bathrobes and slippers. There are cosy rooms for couples and several family suites that sleep up to five.
Or stay in the lavish Dunloe Suites, which have a large reception area, guest cloakroom, spacious lounge, King Size master bedroom, and luxurious ensuite bathroom with a bath and steam room. These elegant suites also have a large balcony overlooking either the Gap of Dunloe or the Rolling Parkland.
The Grill is the Dunloe Hotel’s restaurant – and it may just have the best view from any hotel in Ireland. As you sit down at your table, you’ll first marvel at the six-metre windows providing a dazzling view of the Gap of Dunloe and the Haflinger ponies grazing under horse chestnut trees. The only thing that may tear your eyes away from the scenery is the food.
The restaurant dishes up regional produce from County Kerry. You’ll find delectable ingredients like fresh wild Atlantic fish and the iconic Kerry lamb. You can even wash it down with a glass of Dingle Gin, distilled just an hour away in Dingle, County Kerry. The atmosphere at the Grill is laidback and friendly, with an open sizzling kitchen serving up everything from casual breakfasts to fine dining at dinner.
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What can you do here?
While there are plenty of remarkable things to see in the region, you don’t need to wander far for adventure. The Dunloe offers guests the opportunity to go horse riding, hiking, fishing, swimming and kayaking around the expansive grounds. You can also play tennis or relax in the spa. With full-height windows, a 25-metre pool, steam room, sauna, and gym, the spa is a gorgeous sanctuary within the hotel.
With stylish architecture, superb dining, ancient history, and natural wonders all wrapped up into one exceptional stay, the Dunloe may just be the best hotel in Ireland.
If you can’t wait to stay at the Dunloe Hotel & Gardens, take a look at our Castles & Kingdoms luxury guided tour. You’ll spend two nights at the Dunloe Hotel, with the region’s greatest wonders at your fingertips. You can choose to drive the iconic Ring of Kerry or take a scenic carriage ride through Killarney National Park. You can even board a boat to cruise through the pristine scenery and rolling green hills of Killarney.