Ireland's Ashford Castle Unveils Renovated Suites

Heads up, Ireland fans! The historic Ashford Castle in County Mayo is undergoing a renovation now that it's part of the Red Carnation Hotels collection. Eight guestrooms in the Victorian and East Wings have completed their renovations, headed by Beatrice Tollman, founder and president of The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, and her daughter Toni Tollman.

Nice touch: We hear that each room is individually decorated with antique furniture to preserve the sense of history. 

The second stage of the refurbishment is now underway and the castle is closed until mid-March 2014. This stage will focus on the hotel’s existing public areas and 30 further guestrooms. 

Parts of Ashford Castle date back as early as 1228, so the current restoration work includes an overhaul of the building’s infrastructure, including stonework, windows and roofs, to ensure the castle’s long-term future. When the renovation is complete, we hear the castle will be fully air conditioned, will be Wi-Fi enabled throughout and will get connection points installed in each guestroom. (All enhancements will blend in with the castle’s original features.)

Good news for readers: A dual-aspect new library will be created in the vaulted area near the entrance hall. Guests can pick a window seat, read a good book and enjoy some afternoon tea. 

By the end of the second phase of the refurbishment, the existing public areas and more than 30 guestrooms will be complete. Many of the rooms and suites will be named to honor the famous guests that have stayed at Ashford over its illustrious history. 

Behind the scenes, the castle’s kitchens will be moved and completely rebuilt on a different level closer to the dining room, facilitating a more efficient and timely service for future diners. 

The third and final phase of the renovation will take place from October 2014 – March 2015, during which the remaining guestrooms will be completed. Subject to planning permission approvals (which are still pending), the subsequent renovation plans for phase three also include the installation of a 32-seat indoor cinema, a billiard room and a cigar terrace, as well as a children’s game room. 

Further down the line, also subject to appropriate planning permission, a full-service spa and large indoor heated pool are in development.