Adare and Doonbeg listed 4th and 10th in Europe’s top ten resorts by Conde Nast

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  • Readers’ Choice Awards 2018
  • Adare in 4th place Doonbeg in 10th place
  • Westbury and Ballyfin top Irish hotels
  • Dublin listed 20th among world’s top cities
  • Results heavily biased towards destinations favoured by US visitors.

Pilar Guzmán editor in chief of Condé Nast Traveler

Adare and Doonbeg were listed among Europe’s top ten resorts by Condé Nast Traveler’s 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards. The full list of winners, including a dozen galleries and web-only exclusives of the 50 Best Hotels in the World and 50 Best Resorts in the World, can be found here.

Adare was described by Condé Nast as “a stately manor house on hundreds of acres, a raging river, and a picture-perfect adjacent village, Adare is a delicious mix of old and new. It’s barely 30-minutes from Shannon Airport, making it one of the closest country manors you can reach on seasonal, nonstop flights from the U.S. (it’s an easy two hour drive from Dublin in winter). While retaining an old-school, aristocratic vibe, Adare’s fanciful gargoyles, genuinely warm staff, grand and intimate spaces, and super-comfortable rooms make it somewhere uniquely and unabashedly the Ireland of now.

Joe Russell GM of Doonbeg

Doonbeg was described by Condé Nast:  What appears to be an aristocrat’s stately nineteenth-century seaside manor was in fact built in 2006 by the developers of South Carolina’s Kiawah Island and designed entirely by Americans. But what is very real about Doonbeg (and all that really matters) is its stunning setting on a remote white-capped bay in west County Clare, the perfection of its every detail, and staff who are easily among the most welcoming in Ireland. Accommodations are in one- to four-bedroom suites with high ceilings, gas fireplaces, kitchens, and sumptuous beds. The centerpiece of the resort is the Greg Norman–designed course mowed through the rolling marram grass dunes, but there are many diversions for non-golfers, too, including dolphin watching, hiking the nearby cliffs, treatments in the superb spa, and the simple pleasure of sipping tea or a Guinness and staring out at the windswept sea.

Colm Hannon CEO of Adare Manor

Dublin was named 20th in the world’s Top 20 cities in a list topped by Tokyo, Kyoto and Melbourne. “Sitting on the mouth of the River Liffey, the capital of Ireland is renowned for its medieval buildings, live music in Temple Bar, stately churches, and of course, Guinness. Underneath it all hums a modern heart“.  Ireland did not make the world’s top 100 experiences and no European resort made the top 50 in the world.

The results were voted by 429,000 print and on line readers of Condé Nast Traveller who chose lists in categories such as the world’s best hotel (La Mamounia, Marrakech, Morocco), best island (Santorini, Greece), best cruise line (Crystal for more than 500 passengers and Seabourn for fewer than 500), best river cruise line (Viking) best ski resort (Val d’Isere) and top airline (Singapore Airlines, with Aer Lingus 18th among top 20 airlines in the world).

Top resorts in Europe

  1. Relais Borgo Santo Pietro.Palazzetto, Italy
  2. Belmond Castello di Casole, Casole D’Elsa, Tuscany,
  3. Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort, Lucca,
  4. Adare Manor, Co. Limerick,
  5. Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco Montalcino,
  6. blue-palace-resort-crete-greece.jpg
  7. Blue Palace, A Luxury Collection Resort and Spa, Crete
  8. Natural Lakes at Stanglwirt
  9. Bio-Hotel StanglwirtGoing am Wilden Kaiser, Austria
  10. Six Senses Douro Valley, Portugal
  11. Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort, Tourrettes, Provence
  12. Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Doonbeg, Co. Clare
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Top hotels in Europe

  1. Baur au Lac Zurich, Switzerland
  2. Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine, Madrid
  3. Hôtel Métropole Monte-Carlo
  4. Mystique, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Santorini
  5. Finca Cortes in Casares, Málaga,
  6. Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Hamburg[
  7. Beau-Rivage Palace, Lausanne
  8. Das StueBerlin, Berlin,
  9. Hotel Continental Oslo
  10. Belmond Hotel Splendido Portofino,

Top Hotels in Ireland 

  1. The Westbury, Dublin
  2. Ballyfin, Co. Laois
  3. The Lodge at Ashford Castle, Co Mayo
  4. Park Hotel Kenmare, Co Kerry
  5. Waterford Castle, Co Waterford
  6. Intercontinenal, Dublin
  7. The Shelbourne, Dublin
  8. Lough Eske Castle, Co Donegal
  9. The Merrion, Dublin
  10. Clontarf Castle, Dublin

Top Hotels in the world 

  1. La Mamounia, Marrakech, Morocco
  2. Cartesiano, Puebla, Mexico
  3. COMO Uma Punakha, Bhutan
  4. Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad, India
  5. Royal Mansour, Marrakech, Morocco
  6. Suiran, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto, Japan
  7. The Twelve Apostles, Cape Town, South Africa
  8. Baur au Lac, Zurich, Switzerland
  9. Hacienda de San Antonio, Comala, Mexico
  10. Capella Singapore
  11. Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine, Valladolid, Spain
  12. The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong, China
  13. Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
  14. Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena, Colombia
  15. Belmond Palacio Nazarenas, Cusco, Peru
  16. La Residence, Franschhoek, South Africa
  17. Birkenhead House, Hermanus, South Africa
  18. Hôtel Métropole Monte-Carlo, Monaco
  19. Gibb’s Farm, Ngorongoro, Tanzania
  20. Ellerman House, Cape Town, South Africa
  21. The Norman Tel Aviv, Israel
  22. Hotel Matilda, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
  23. Mystique, Santorini, Greece
  24. Rambagh Palace (Taj), Jaipur, India
  25. Finca Cortesin, Málaga, Spain
  26. Sagamore Pendry Baltimore, Maryland
  27. Inkaterra La Casona, Cusco, Peru
  28. The Temple House, Chengdu, China
  29. XV Beacon, Boston, Massachusetts
  30. One&Only Cape Town, South Africa
  31. Taj Jai Mahal Palace, Jaipur, India
  32. Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, Hamburg, Germany
  33. JW Marriott El Convento Cusco, Peru
  34. COMO Uma Paro, Paro Dzong, Bhutan
  35. Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel, Peru
  36. Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur, India
  37. Beau-Rivage Palace, Lausanne, Switzerland
  38. The Chatwal, New York City
  39. Villa Maly, Luang Prabang, Laos
  40. Hotel Continental, Oslo, Norway
  41. Das Stue, Berlin, Germany
  42. The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, India
  43. Dunton Town House, Telluride, Colorado
  44. Belmond Hotel Splendido, Portofino, Italy
  45. Archipelagos Hotel, Mykonos, Greece
  46. Mercer Hotel Barcelona, Spain
  47. Raffles Jakarta, Indonesia
  48. Hotel Nena, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
  49. Park Hyatt Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  50. Cromlix Hotel, Kinbuck, Scotland

Top resorts in the world

  1. Viceroy Bali, Indonesia
  2. Viceroy Los Cabos, San José del Cabo, Mexico
  3. Naladhu Private Island Maldives
  4. L’Horizon Resort & Spa, Palm Springs, California
  5. Angama Mara, Great Rift Valley, Kenya
  6. Singita Sabi Sand, South Africa
  7. Marataba Safari Lodge, Marakele Concession, South Africa
  8. Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, The Maldives
  9. Royal Chundu Luxury Lodges, Zambezi River, Zambia
  10. COMO Uma Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
  11. Chindeni Bushcamp, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
  12. Bahia Vik José Ignacio, Uruguay
  13. Royal Malewane, Kruger National Park, South Africa
  14. Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica, Puerto Maldonado, Peru
  15. InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, Vietnam
  16. Makanyi Private Game Lodge, Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, South Africa
  17. JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa, Vietnam
  18. The Mulia & Mulia Villas, Bali, Indonesia
  19. Singita Lebombo Lodge, Kruger National Park, South Africa
  20. The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
  21. Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana
  22. Alila Diwa Goa, India
  23. Vumbura Plains, Okavango Delta, Botswana
  24. Morukuru Family, Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
  25. The Oberoi Vanyavilas, Ranthambhore, India
  26. Ol Jogi Home, Laikipia, Kenya
  27. Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga, Wyoming
  28. Cape Weligama, Sri Lanka
  29. El Nido Resorts – Pangulasian Island, Philippines
  30. Soneva Fushi, The Maldives
  31. Velaa Private Island, The Maldives
  32. The Ranch at Rock Creek, Philipsburg, Montana
  33. Iniala Beach House, Phuket, Thailand
  34. Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion, Puerto Maldonado, Peru
  35. Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, Sabi Sand, South Africa
  36. Rosewood CordeValle, San Martin, California
  37. Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
  38. Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood, Thailand
  39. Namale Resort & Spa, Fiji
  40. Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, Sacred Valley, Peru
  41. Chileno Bay Resort & Residences, An Auberge Resort, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
  42. Sanderling Resort, Duck, North Carolina
  43. Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa, Trancoso, Brazil
  44. Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Krabi, Thailand
  45. The Resort at Pedregal, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
  46. Richard’s River Camp, Mara North Conservancy, Kenya
  47. Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
  48. The Lodge at Pebble Beach, California
  49. Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, Australia
  50. COMO Cocoa Island, The Maldives
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David Jeffery‘s review of Adare Manor for Condé Nast Traveller reads:  A stately manor house on hundreds of acres, a raging river, and a picture-perfect adjacent village. The long drive to the hotel’s porte cochère is impossibly smooth, parked cars are spit-shined, and staff holding umbrellas make sure not a drop of Irish rain hit a single head or piece of luggage. Am I dressed well enough? This isn’t your predictable, gravel-groomed, stiff and slightly-spooky country estate. The renovation and expansion of County Limerick’s most famous hotel, the most expensive in the country’s history, didn’t skimp on a thing. A new wing blends seamlessly, in soft grey granite, with its mid-nineteenth-century main building—which has a total of 365 leaded windows, 52 chimneys, 7 pillars, and 4 towers (based on calendar and season counts, natch).Guests were an even spread of Sunday-luncheon locals, American tourists, skilled golfers, families, and returning couples curious to see what’s changed and what hasn’t. The hush in public spaces isn’t intimidating and there are myriad of cozy places to sit and converse. No annoying background music, just the crackle from open fireplaces. Refreshingly, the check-in and concierge desks aren’t a focus. It still feels much like the home it once was for the Earls of Dunraven. It remains privately-owned, so you’ll not find a smidgen of corporate heraldry.

The hotel has top-tier rooms, like the Signature Suites, which come with butlers, and are splendidly over-the-top with carved wood panelling, fanciful stucco ceilings, overstuffed sofas, elegant Georgian-era-style mahogany writing tables, freestanding bath tubs, and impossibly-heavy drapery. Mine, chosen for being the lowest priced (a Classic, at Euros 350 per night), was a miniaturized version of its betters but hardly lacked an ounce of grand atmosphere—it helped that the view overlooked the fast-flowing River Maigue and bucolic golf course. A king-size bed and far-from-fussy marble bathroom with rain shower were perfectly-positioned in its 463-square-feet.

The hotel’s toe-to-top renovation included a basement service and kitchen “kingdom” that now runs the length of both buildings, allowing staff to appear, as if by magic, almost anywhere and anytime. Room service included fresh Dublin Bay prawns (Irish langoustines) on an open-faced sandwich to die for. Just the right ratio of bread-to-butter-to-crustacean. Mini-bars are standard, but I’d recommend enjoying a tipple or two of Irish whiskey in the underground, speakeasy Tack Room with shared company.

If I had to award a trophy to a member of the staff, it would be hard to pick one, but Susan at the Falconry Centre made my entire stay. The devotion, passion, and intention she shared during my private encounter with eagles and owls of all shapes and sizes, made me believe she might well be part-raptor herself… intensely-focused, with pale blue/green eyes and a mane of wild, red hair.

Beyond a brand new Tom Fazio-designed golf course, opened in April, there seems to be a bit of something for everyone here, and all without a lick of pretense. A movie theater shows kid-focused films during the day and classics for adults at night, there’s Ireland’s only La Mer spa with indoor pool, retro Pashley Bikes to borrow to explore the estate and village, a Woodland Walk treasure-hunt trail with fairy-driven markers along the way, and beautifully-proportioned parterre French gardens which include a four-hundred-year-old Cedar of Lebanon tree.

Adare is a delicious mix of old and new. It’s barely 30-minutes from Shannon Airport, making it one of the closest country manors you can reach on seasonal, nonstop flights from the U.S. (it’s an easy two hour drive from Dublin in winter). While retaining an old-school, aristocratic vibe, Adare’s fanciful gargoyles, genuinely warm staff, grand and intimate spaces, and super-comfortable rooms make it somewhere uniquely and unabashedly the Ireland of now.

The 2018 results are all about comfort. Readers stayed closer to home than ever before, pushing more cities like Chicago, Charleston, and Nashville to the top of our lists. They favored the Caribbean and domestic islands in the southeast, like Hilton Head, Amelia, and Kiawah. The properties that impressed them most were smaller and less flashy than in years past, and our small-cruise-ship list is longer than it’s ever been, suggesting that the right kind of less is more. The world has changed in ways no one could have predicted, and so it stands to reason that how we get away from it all would, too.

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The 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards are celebrated in Condé Nast Traveler‘s November issue on newsstands October 16 and on online at www.cntraveler.com/rca.

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