Red Carnation Hotels Acquires Ireland's Ashford Castle

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Ashford Castle

Ireland’s iconic Ashford Castle will welcome guests back through its doors in March, following a complete restoration program that has restored the historic building.

After acquiring the castle in June 2013, Red Carnation Hotels, a family-owned collection of 16 luxury lodgings, has worked to preserve Ashford’s history and charm while enhancing its guest facilities and level of comfort.

Due to the age and scale of the castle, the restoration required a complete overhaul of the building’s infrastructure, including stonework, windows and roofs, to ensure its long-term future.

Once owned by Lord and Lady Ardilaun of the Guinness family, the castle has welcomed royalty, celebrities and heads of state. Famous guests include King George V (then Prince of Wales), Ronald Reagan, Brad Pitt, John Wayne, Fred Astaire, Barbra Streisand, John Travolta and many more.

Parts of the castle estate date back to 1228. Every inch has been examined, restored and enhanced by a design team led by Beatrice Tollman, founder and President of Red Carnation Hotels; her daughter Toni Tollman, the Red Carnation project team and architect Philippe Bonino. The group acquired furnishings, art and antiques from auction houses and travels around the world.

“Mrs. Tollman and her team have looked at the needs of Ashford Castle from top to bottom, inside and out and have put together a restoration program that is truly out of this world. It will take Ashford Castle to another level, beyond its already world-class standards,” says Jonathan Raggett, Managing Director of Red Carnation Hotels. “As the project approaches its final stages, there is a palpable excitement throughout Red Carnation and in fact throughout Ireland and I couldn’t be more proud to be part of it.”

Family-focused enhancements include a 32 seat cinema, children’s games room and a Lego Room Service menu to keep younger family members entertained.

For adults, there’s a new billiard room, 2 outdoor roof terraces (one of which will offer Cuban cigars) and an array of enhanced public areas. The ancient underground wine stores will be transformed into private dining cellars and the old boat house on the shores of Lake Corrib is set to become a honeymoon suite.

Each of the 68 guest rooms and 14 staterooms and suites has been refurbished and furnished with antique pieces, fabrics, bespoke carpets, original artwork and marble bathrooms.

Guests can enjoy full Irish Breakfast, light lunch or an evening meal in the castle’s 3 restaurants. Guests can also indulge in Afternoon Tea, a tradition at Ashford Castle signified by the original silver tea set on display in the Connaught Room, which was given to Lord and Lady Ardilaun to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary in 1896.

Outdoor activities on offer at the estate include falconry, horse-riding, water sports, clay pigeon shooting, fishing, hiking, golf and tennis. A spa and indoor-ozone filtrated swimming pool are slated to open by August 2015.

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