My goodness, my Guinness! It’s been 200 years since Guinness Brewery first started exporting beer to the United States (what swill were Americans imbibing before that?) and to mark the occasion, two of Ireland’s top hotels are rolling out the red carpet for Guinness fans. After all, the 13th-century Ashford Castle—located just 45 minutes from Galway City—was once the Estate of Lord Ardilaun and the Guinness family. (Guests will have the opportunity to speak with Martin Gibbons, whose ancestors worked with the Guinness family.) And The Merrion—the five-star hotel comprised of four restored Georgian townhouses in Dublin—is situated near the Guinness Storehouse, the most popular tourist attraction in Ireland and—according to the website—the “home of the Black Stuff, the heart of Dublin and an unforgettable start to your Irish adventure.”
The two luxury hotels are offering a special package that combines overnight accommodations (two nights in each property), full Irish breakfast, Art Afternoon Tea at the Merrion and an Afternoon Tea in the Connaught Room at Ashford Castle, a full body massage for two at The Merrion, a three-course dinner for two in The Merrion restaurant, an excursion to the Guinness Storehouse to include the Guinness Connoisseur Experience, dinner for two at Ashford Castle and a few Guinness-themed treats: Arthurs Bellini (a signature Champagne cocktail made with Guinness) before dinner in the Prince of Wales Bar, plus the Guinness Gift Box designed by Executive Pastry Chef Paula Staklum, including a Guinness bread recipe and Guinness petit fours. The total cost of the package, including the transfer between the hotels, is €4,090 (approximately $4,641).
The Merrion is home to the Tethra Spa, a large art collection, and Ireland's only two-star Michelin restaurant (Patrick Guilbaud). In 2013 Ashford Castle became part of the Red Carnation Collection, which undertook a large restoration of the legendary castle hotel. Red Carnation comprises 17 family owned boutique hotels in the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Switzerland and the USA.