The luxurious Ashford Castle in Co Mayo has been named the world’s best hotel at an international travel show in the US.
The awards were held on Wednesday night at the prestigious Bellagio Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
“We are thrilled to have been awarded one of the luxury travel industry’s top awards, Virtuoso Hotel of the Year,” said Niall Rochford, general manager at Ashford Castle.
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“It is a fantastic recognition of the exciting journey Ashford Castle has been on over the last few years and all the hard work that has gone into the $75m restoration by the Tollman family and all the team at Ashford.”
The three-year programme, much of which was carried out by local craftspeople, has seen the castle restored as one of the country’s most luxurious hotels.
“It is also an endorsement of the training, development and investment in staff which has enabled us to offer even greater attentive and personalised service,” said Mr Rochford.
Every year, travel advisors Virtuoso vote for their favourite luxury hotels from a portfolio of more than 1,000 properties around the world. Dubbed the Best of the Best awards, honours are awarded in a number of categories including best restaurants, best bars and best spas.
Ashford Castle, which has just undergone a major refurbishment, was the only Irish premises to appear on the shortlist of 50. The luxury getaway is accustomed to prestigious accolades – last month it was listed third best hotel in the world by US magazine Travel and Leisure, beaten only by the Oberoi Udaivilas in India and Italy’s Hotel Castello di Casole.
Last year, Conde Nast Traveller listed the hotel as the second most romantic place in the world to propose and also named it the second best resort in Europe.
Meanwhile, the Cliffs of Moher may soon be giving the Guinness Storehouse some competition for the title of Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction.
The number of people visiting the cliffs has skyrocketed in recent months, jumping by roughly 15%.
If this increase continues until the year’s end, visitor numbers could reach more than 1.2m, roughly the same amount of people as attended Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse, last year.
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