Ballyfin Demesne

Price : € 450aprox per night

Ballyfin Ireland, Ballinakill

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One of Ireland’s most lavish neoclassical houses, Ballyfin stands in its own 614-acre demesne, full of delights, including lake (with glorious new water feature), water cascade, Victorian fernery, Edwardian rockery and walled garden, not to mention the tower, which has panoramic views of the Slieve Bloom mountains from the top. A Downton-esque knot of neatly uniformed staff awaits each arriving guest, setting the tone for service that is old school, yet full of Irish warmth. The reception rooms are filled with superb antiques and paintings and there is a classically styled indoor pool and two treatment rooms . Every bedroom is gorgeous, in classic Irish country-house style. Perhaps the loveliest is Lady Caroline Coote, with its graceful Empire-style ceiling, but it’s hard to choose. Five more have recently been added, making 20, from the lake-view Lady Kildare, with its delicate chinoiserie, to the subtle Indian accents of Lady Mornington. As for the food, it lives up to the surroundings. Standards are sky-high; this is the sort of place where one jarring note would spoil the show – but it never does.