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Hotels & Resorts

 November 23, 2015
Ireland's Ashford Castle Wins "Opening Of The Year" At 2015 European Hospitality Awards

 The iconic Ashford Castle in Ireland has won Opening of the Year (Renovation or Conversion) at the 2015 European Hospitality Awards, announced last week in London. The prestigious award ceremony, established in 2010, celebrates the very finest hotels throughout Europe and for the Opening of the Year category, the judging panel sought a hotel restoration that encompassed interior design, building use and a creative use of space.

Following a two-year restoration of the 800-year-old building, Ashford Castle reopened to guests in April 2015, modernized and enhanced far beyond the requisite standards of a leading luxury hotel. A total of $75 million was spent on the intricate restoration which has firmly re-established Ashford Castle, once home of the Guinness family, as one of Europe's most prestigious hotels.

The age and scale of the castle, parts of which date back to 1228, presented particular challenges for the restoration team. The infrastructure required a complete overhaul, exterior stonework needed treatment and the battlements received extensive repairs to ensure their longevity for future generations. A total of 800 windows were replaced and approximately 30 tons of hand-carved lead was used to reinforce the roof. All 85 of the rooms and suites were either rebuilt or restored to include the finest and latest modern amenities while retaining the original features of the castle, which has played host to royalty, celebrities and heads of state. Wherever possible, materials and pieces were sourced from local artisans and suppliers to reflect the hotel's unique environment and history. A beautiful array of furnishings, art and antiques were selected to complete the luxurious feel of the hotel.

Impressive new facilities were added, including: a 32-seat cinema, a billiard room, cigar terrace, boutique shop and tea room, museum, children's playroom, and conservatory which houses a brand new spa, gym and ozone-filtrated pool. An abandoned underground tunnel has been transformed into a wine cellar to be used for private parties and wine tastings.

The monumental project was spearheaded by Beatrice Tollman, Founder and President of The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, her daughter Toni Tollman, the Red Carnation Projects team, and architect Philippe Bonino. Mrs Tollman has enjoyed previous recognition at this prestigious ceremony, when she was awarded Hotelier of the Year in 2012.

Ashford Castle

Ashford Castle is set on 350 acres in County Mayo, on the shores of Lough Corrib and the River Cong, with a spectacular backdrop of woodlands, lake, river, and mountains. It features 85 guestrooms and is renowned for a range of country sports including an equestrian centre, Ireland's only Orvis-endorsed fishing school, an exclusive nine-hole golf course, newly surfaced tennis courts and Ireland's first school of falconry. Several dining rooms, bar, cinema, billiard room, cigar terrace, wine cellar, spa and gracious afternoon tea service are among the amenities. It is a member of Leading Hotels of the World.


The Red Carnation Hotel Collection

The Red Carnation Hotel Collection is an award-winning collection of five and four star family-run boutique hotels in London, Dorset, Guernsey, Geneva, Florida, South Africa and now Ireland. Each property has its own individual character and unique location that reflects the local environment, culture and cuisine. They all share the qualities that win Red Carnation so many prestigious awards - splendid luxury, generous hospitality, inventive and traditional cuisine, private art collections, passionate service and loyal staff committed to creating richly rewarding experiences for all their guests. Red Carnation Hotels was listed as number 2 in the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For 2015, having debuted at 72 just three years previously. The Red Carnation Hotel Collection is a member of the family-owned The Travel Corporation (TTC) and is renowned and trusted for its outstanding quality, service value, reliability and financial stability.