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LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER

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The Luxury Hotel Insider: Exclusive luxury hotel deals, features and special rates from the luxury hotel experts at Five Star Alliance.
Named one of Tripbase's Best Luxury Travel Blogs for 2011, below are Five Star Alliance's newest articles featuring exclusive information on luxury hotels worldwide including special offers and deals at the world's best hotels.

| By: Rachael Weir

Happy 2020! It's the start of a new year and a new decade. Where will you go this year? This decade? If you're like us, your list is long. We've put together our top 20 picks for this year. From the Mayflower 400th Anniversary Celebrations in England and Massachusetts, to the Olympics in Tokyo, we've gathered some of the world's most exciting events and happenings, along with luxury hotel suggestions in each locale. 

Happy Travels!

20. Manchester, England

20 Places To Go In 2020 ManchesterOne of Europe's fastest growing cities, Manchester is a popular base for digital and media companies. Blending history and design, the city is experiencing a growth in new development, including the Cultureplex, a railway goods house transformed into a restaurant, bar, and cafe. The revolving program of film, performing arts, and visual arts provides a constant array of entertainment options, and epicurians flock to the city to dine at Mana, the city's first Michelin Star recipient with a Nordic-influenced menu.

A few luxury hotel options ideal for exploring Manchester include The Lowry Hotel, Macdonald Manchester Hotel, and the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Manchester Piccadilly.

Explore Manchester Luxury Hotels

19. The Big Island, Hawaii

20 Places To Go In 2020 Big Island Hawaii

Following the 2018 volcanic activity on Hawaii's Big Island, the five-month eruption has stopped, and the blue skies have returned. The Halemaumau crater is now three times as wide and four times as deep as it was prior to the 2018 eruption, and a freshwater lake has started to form on the crater's floor. The Thurston Lava Tube is expected to reopen in early 2020 with a redesigned parking area, and roads outside of the park have recently reopened. In November, the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival will celebrate its 50th Anniversary. There are multiple hotels on the island offering exclusive Perks, including the all-new Mauna Lani luxury resort, which will debut in January 2020 with a new era of experiential luxury. As well as the beachfront Fairmont Orchid Hawaii and the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.

Explore Big Island Luxury Hotels

18. Vienna, Austria

20 Places To Go In 2020 Vienna

There's much to explore in this Germanic destination with cutting-edge art museums and music halls. The Musikverein concert hall will celebrate its 150th anniversary and events will be held throughout the city celebrating Beethoven's 250th birthday. While the classic city is known for its Baroque architecture and classical music venues, the contemporary art venue was transformed into the Belvedere 21, the Freud Museum will reopen in May following a major renovation with nearly 40,000 adds to its library, and the Belvedere Palaces with an extensive classical art collection have been completely renovated.

Luxury hotels in Vienna offer historic charm blended with contemporary amenities, such as the Hotel Sacher Wien, The Ring, and Park Hyatt Vienna, all with exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks. 

Explore Vienna Luxury Hotels

17. Cape Town, South Africa

20 Places To Go In 2020 Cape Town

Beginning this year, United Airlines will offer non-stop service from Newark to Cape Town, saving travelers up to eight hours of travel time from the United States. In addition to new air routes into the Mother City, there's a constantly evolving art scene, and the nearby Winelands offer plenty of vineyards to explore for wine enthusiasts. 

Cape Town is also home to an array of luxury hotels offering exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks including the One&Only Cape Town, Belmond Mount Nelson, and Taj Cape Town

Explore Cape Town Luxury Hotels

16. Buenos Aires, Argentina

20 Places To Go In 2020 Buenos Aires

Currently, travelers can stretch their travel dollars in the land of tango, beef, and Malbec, due to the devaluation of the Argentinian peso. The city is in the midst of a gentrification process with areas like the Old Market expanding with wine bars, cafes, and patisseries, and the Plaza Dorrego neighborhood is bustling with newness. There's a variety of luxury hotels within this South American city, many with exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks including The Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, Alvear Palace Hotel, and the Sofitel Buenos Aires Recoleta Hotel

Explore Buenos Aires Luxury Hotels

15. Edinburgh, Scotland

20 Places To Go In 2020 Edinburgh

Scotland's capital city serves up plenty of history, a multitude of festivals, and the famous Edinburgh Castle. But this year the city is debuting several new attractions including the three-story Johnnie Walker Experience, which will feature a museum, event space, and whiskey shop. The city's ever-expanding selection of luxury hotels provide unique lodging options occupying historic buildings such as the Kimpton Charlotte Square within seven Georgian townhouses, the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Calendonian Victorian Railway hotel, and the Rocco Forte Balmoral Hotel with its landmark clocktower. 

Explore Edinburgh Luxury Hotels

14. Kyoto, Japan

20 Places To Go In 2020 Kyoto

While Tokyo is hosting the Olympics, Kyoto is another trending destination within Japan. The city's imperial history is evident throughout, providing travelers with a glimpse into the past. There are temples, gardens, and tea houses for an authentic feel, along with museum expansions at the Fukuda Art Museum and the Kyocera Museum of Art.

Kyoto has a variety of luxury hotel options with exclusive Perks ranging from the countryside Suiran within the grounds of the Tenryuji Temple to the contemporary Hyatt Regency Kyoto and the riverside The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto

Explore Kyoto Luxury Hotels

13. Maine

20 Places To Go In 2020 Maine

2020 marks 200 years of statehood for the state of Maine. In honor of the Bicentennial year, the state is hosting a year of special events. To experience coastal life, the Cliff House Maine has an oceanfront location where travelers can enjoy the waves hitting the rocky coast from the comfort of their room, plus exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks. For a private cottage, Hidden Pond offers a charming setting with access to the Tides Beach Club situated two miles away at Goose Rocks Beach. While the White Barn Inn offers rustic luxury with the hotel's restaurant occupying two restored barns from the 1860s. 

Explore Maine Luxury Hotels

12. Galway, Ireland

20 Places To Go In 2020 Galway

This bohemian city with an arts-focused feel on the west coast of Ireland has long been a destination for creatives. Named a European Capital of Culture for 2020, the city by the sea is home to an array of festivals throughout the year, as well as forward-thinking luxury hotels like The G Hotel and The Galmont Hotel & Spa. For a unique and completely Irish experience, the nearby Ashford Castle is about a 30-minute drive from Galway City with creative cuisine, spa, and exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks. 

Explore Galway Luxury Hotels

11. Macau

20 Places To Go In 2020 Macau

On December 20, Macau will celebrating its 20th anniversary as a Special Administrative Region of China. Macau is an international destination mixing Asian and European cultures, providing travelers with luxe hotels such as the Four Seasons Hotel Macao Cotai Strip, Wynn Macao, and the Banyan Tree Macau. In addition to fine hotels, Macau offers travelers an array of world-class dining options, casinos, and cultural experiences. 

Explore Macau Luxury Hotels 

10. Tel Aviv, Israel

20 Places To Go In 2020 Tel Aviv

Experience a destination where modern living merges with ancient history. In 2020, the Ben-Gurion Airport will expand to accommodate additional aircraft. Tel Aviv's White City Zone is a UNESCO-designated site and home to over 4,000 Bauhaus-style buildings, the largest collection of its kind in the world. The area will take center stage this year, as Tel Aviv commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the Bauhaus architecture movement. The beach city along Israel's Mediterranean coast offers an array of luxury hotels including three with exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks: The Setai with a seafront location, beachfront Dan Tel Aviv Hotel, and the InterContinental David Tel Aviv

Explore Tel Aviv Luxury Hotels

9. Vancouver Island, Canada

20 Places To Go In 2020 Vancouver Island

From the capital city of Victoria on the harborfront to the surf town of Tofino, Vancouver Island offers land and sea experiences along with local cuisine. Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Empress is a classic institution. Travelers can experience Native traditions as the island is home to 50 First Nations communities, or book a cycling tour in Ucluelet. Spring is an ideal time to visit the island, with the West Coast Trail opening for hiking season May 1. Watch for whales from Prestige Oceanfront Resort Sook, or dine at the Pointe Restaurant offering ocean views at the Wickaninnish Inn. Located about 70 miles west of Vancouver, the island is reachable via ferry or flight into Victoria's International Airport. 

Explore Victoria Luxury Hotels

8. Doha, Qatar

20 Places To Go In 2020 Doha

In preparation for hosting the 2022 Fifa World Cup, Doha introduced a brand-new underground railway system, and the city is expanding its arts and culture scene with the opening of new museums including the National Museum of Qatar. Getting from the airport to the palm-lined Corniche is more convenient than ever with the new transportation system, Old Doha provides a historic feel, and Souq Waqif is a must-see open-air street market. Choose from an array of luxury hotels in the city including the InterContinental Doha, JW Marriott Marquis City Center, and The St. Regis Doha

Explore Doha Luxury Hotels

7. Melbourne, Australia

20 Places To Go In 2020 Melbourne

Providing a European feel in the land of Oz, Melbourne is a cosmopolitan city known for its street art, constantly changing landscape, and live music. There's a strong coffee culture throughout the city, and it is the capital of the Australian state of Victoria. Ideal for foodies, coffee lovers, and art enthusiasts, Melbourne is considered the Culture Capital of Australia. Cobbled laneways in the city center have coffee shops, cafes, and one-of-a-kind boutiques ideal for exploring, while the Queen Victoria Markets is the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere.

The city will be hosting a number of major events throughout the year, including the Australian Open January 20 - February 2, the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020 will February 21 - March 8, and the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2020 will be October 18 - November 15.

Melbourne is home to an array of five star hotels, including several with exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks such as The Langham Melbourne, InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto, and Park Hyatt Melbourne

Explore Melbourne Luxury Hotels

6. Nashville, Tennessee

20 Places To Go In 2020 Nashville

While this trend-setting destination has been popular for the past few years, Nashville is continuing to grow, adding new draws to the city beyond country music. In the summer of 2020, the National Museum of African American Music will open along Broadway, right in the heart of downtown. The museum will feature five interactive galleries showcasing the 50 genres of African American Music. Plus, the city is constantly expanding its hotel selection with new additions like the JW Marriott Nashville, Thompson Nashville in the growing neighborhood of "The Gulch", and the newly-renovated Hutton Hotel with writer's rooms and a 5,000-square-foot live music venue.

Explore Nashville Luxury Hotels

5. Dominica

20 Places To Go In 2020 Dominica

Paradise for outdoorsy travelers, Dominica is a 290-square-mile teardrop-shaped island with the world's second-largest hot spring, plus 300 miles of hiking trails, 365 rivers, and a dozen waterfalls. The recently opened Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski is a luxury five star resort with a spa designed to create a greater connection to nature and the island's ecosystem. The massive Spa at Kempinski Dominica offers mud baths sourced from the island's ten volcanoes, and a water temple surrounded by rainforest trees. There's also four restaurants and bars each with a local-focused approach, four hot and cold water pools, tennis courts, and easy access to the island's eco-tourism opportunities. Plus, exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks. 

Book a stay at Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski

4. Porto, Portugal

20 Places To Go In 2020 Porto Portugal

Ideal for wine lovers and foodies, Porto offers idyllic weather along with great food and wine. As the home of Port wine (and the city's namesake), Porto is perfect as a starting point for exploring historic Port Wine houses and the vineyards of Douro Valley. Offering travelers a good value for their monty the city center of Porto is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and an easy trip from Lisbon.  

The city is also home to several luxury hotels including several with exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks: The Yeatman, InterContinental Porto Palacio Das Cardosas, and Infante Sagres

Explore Porto Luxury Hotels

3. Plymouth, England & Plymouth, Massachusetts

20 Places To Go In 2020 Plymouth

2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's voyage from Plymouth, England to Plymouth, Massachusetts. In celebration, both cities are hosting an array of events to commemorate the pioneering voyage and the group of travelers that would go on to have more than 30 million United States descendents. In England, the Mayflower 400 celebrations focus on the towns and cities along the national Mayflower Trail. While the Plymouth 400 events in the United States will be centered in the town of Plymouth, located 40 miles south of downtown Boston. 

Interested in partaking in these commemorative events? In England, travelers could consider basing themselves in London and taking daytrips via train to various towns on the Mayflower Trail. An additional option would be the Lime Wood in Lyndhurst, a Regency country house hotel located a short drive from Southampton, a key destination on the Mayflower Trail. For participaing in events near and around Plymouth, Massachusetts, we recommend a luxury hotel in Boston such as the Fairmont Copley Plaza or Fifteen Beacon

2. Dubai, UAE

20 Places To Go In 2020 Dubai

Beginning in October 2020, Dubai is hosting the World Expo. Lasting for 6 months, the city has designed the metropolis of the future with 130 buildings connected via smart technology. Later this year the Museum of the Future designed by a computer algorithm and the Aladdin City will also open.

For accommodations in this world-class city in the desert we have three key recommendations, each with exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks: One&Only Royal Mirage, Taj Dubai, and Burj Al Arab

Explore Dubai Luxury Hotels

1. Tokyo, Japan

20 Places To Go In 2020 Tokyo

Hosting the XXXII Olympic Summer Games, Jul 24 - Aug 9, Tokyo is a business and cultural megacenter. Known for extreme attention to detail, the cutting-edge destination is home to world-class art galleries and museums, as well nightlife. With 234 Michelin-starred restaurants (the most of any city in the world), Japan's capital city is an ideal destination for foodies.

The Aman Tokyo offers an urban sanctuary setting on the top six floors of the recently-built Otemachi Tower, plus exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks including daily breakfast. For a landmark stay, The Peninsula Tokyo is an iconic destination in the prestigious Marunouchi financial district with sophisticated facilities including a wedding chapel, indoor pool, outdoor pool with views of the Imperial Palace Gardens, and exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks. While the Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel is located directly above Shibuya Station with a modern design, entertainment venues, and perks for Five Star Alliance guests.

Explore Tokyo Luxury Hotels


| By: Rachael Weir

Destination Spotlight: 5 Irish Castle Hotels

As St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner, Ireland is on everyone's mind. While cities like Dublin, Galway, and Cork have much to offer, Ireland's Castle Hotels offer one-of-a-kind experiences like on-site falconries and clay pigeon shooting. Many of the estates also have formal gardens, world class golf courses, and full-service spas infused with Irish influences. Plus, the fine dining and afternoon teas at castle hotels provide travelers with the opportunity to live like royalty within exclusive settings, sure to create special memories.

In this edition of Destination Spotlight, we highlight 5 Top Irish Castle Hotels offering luxe accommodations, gourmet restaurants, spa, golf, and more. 

5. Lough Eske Castle

Lough Eske Castle

Once the home of the powerful 14th-century clans of the Donegal and the O'Donnells, Lough Eske Castle  is an award-winning historic hotel with a vital role in the story of County Donegal and Ireland. Set at the lake's edge, the castle hotel provides a range of accommodations options from Castle Suites with traditional elegance, the Garden Suites with contemporary styling to the stables converted into courtyard rooms with country charm. Nestled in the castle's garden, the spa offers a range of pampering, restorative, and natural treatments. 

Check availability at Lough Eske Castle

4. Waterford Castle

Waterford Castle Hotel

Located on a private island, Waterford Castle offers the finest traditions of Ireland including a falconry where guests can schedule private experiences to fly a trained hawk above the hotel's grounds. There's also clay pigeon shooting and training available for all skill levels, archery, tennis, and croquet. Guests can stroll the Island Trails to see native wildlife such as fox, swan, deer, hare, and pheasant, or arrange for a Waterford Castle picnic basket to dine amidst the property's 310-acre island.

Check availability at Waterford Castle

3. Ashford Castle 

Guest room at Ashford Castle

Dating back to 1228 on the shores of Lough Corrib, Ashford Castle is one of the most luxurious castle hotels in Ireland. Once the estate of the Guinness family, guests enter the property through grand stone gates. Following an extensive refurbishment, the castle's 83 rooms, suites and the Hideaway Cottage each offer traditional elegance with custom carpets, bespoke beds, feature lighting, unique works of art, Egyptian Cotton bed linens, and the latest modern luxuries. The spa has a full-length relaxation pool with a "Tree of Life" mural, five treatment rooms, steam room, and a range of services. While the property offers four main dining rooms, afternoon tea in the Connaught Room, private wine tastings and dinners in the wine cellars, and creative Irish cuisine throughout the property. 

FIVE STAR ALLIANCE PERK: Guests booking the "5 Star Signature Package" rate or "Best Available Bed and Breakfast" rate will also receive full Irish breakfast daily, an 85 Euro food and beverage credit per room/per stay, complimentary green fees daily, and complimentary WiFi. 

Plus, this property offers exclusive 2019 FIVE STAR ALLIANCE SUITE & VILLA PRIVILEGES that can be combined with the FIVE STAR ALLIANCE PERK (if requirements are met). 

2019 FIVE STAR ALLIANCE SUITE & VILLA PRIVILEGES: Guests booking a stay of 2 or more nights in a villa or suite receive lunch or dinner for two, once per stay (minimum value US $100). This offer is valid for stays of at least two nights through December 31, 2019 in the Hideaway or Presidential Suite. 

Check availability at Ashford Castle

2. Dromoland Castle Hotel

Dromoland Castle Hotel

Originally the ancestral home of one of the few families of Gaelic Royalty, Dromoland Castle Hotel blends Old World elegance with contemporary luxuries. Guests arrive with a warm Irish welcome fit for royalty, and once settled in they can stroll the 450-acre estate to visit the walled garden, discover the falconry, row out on the lake for a picnic, or tee off on the world class golf course. There's an intimate spa with a variety of rejuvenating treatments, afternoon tea is served by a warm fireplace, and dining at the castle's flagship Earl of Thomond offers an authentic taste of Ireland amidst sparkling chandeliers, Venetian silk, and estate views.

FIVE STAR ALLIANCE PERK: Guests booking the "5 Star Signature Package" rate or "Stay More Winter Rate" or "Midweek Special Rate" will also receive a full Irish Breakfast for each guest daily, complimentary airport transfer from Dromoland Castle to the Shannon Airport, and a guaranteed room upgrade at booking based on availability. 

Check availability at Dromoland Castle Hotel

 

1. Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort

Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort

In the heart of Adare Village, Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort is a luxe castle hotel with a movie theater, full-service spa, championship golf, falconry, archery, and clay pigeon shooting. Amidst woodlands, walled gardens, and medieval ruins, the 840-acre estate provides guests with a world-class setting and personalized service. Taking its name from the nearby village of Adare, which is known for thatched roof cottages and antique shops, the retreat offers visitors to step back in time within a grand setting filled with the latest luxuries.  

FIVE STAR ALLIANCE PERK: Guests booking with Five Star Alliance receive full breakfast for each guest daily in Minstrels Gallery, and once per stay an afternoon tea for 2 guests in the Minstrels Gallery. Also, the following amenities are provided subject to availability at the time of check-in and check-out: room upgrade, early check-in, and late check-out.

Check availability at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort


| By: Rachael Weir
Originally built in the 13th century as a castle, then rebuilt as a hunting and fishing lodge in the 1800s, Ashford Castle was once the estate of the Guinness family, and the filming location of the classic movie, "The Quiet Man". Situated in County Mayo, the castle is one of Ireland's most luxurious hotels. The award-winning property is part of Red Carnation Hotels, offering a cinema, spa with an indoor pool, fishing, falconry, ziplining, shooting & archery, horse riding, wine tastings, luxury charters, and lake cruises on Lough Corrib. Continue below the photos. 

Spa pool at Ashford Castle
Cinema at Ashford Castle
Five Star Alliance Perk: All Five Star Alliance guests reserving the "Best Available Bed & Breakfast Rate" will receive full Irish breakfast for two daily, 85 Euro food and beverage credit, complimentary green fees, and VIP status. In addition, based on availability at check-in, room upgrades, early check-in, and late check-out. 

Click here for rates and availability at Ashford Castle

Ashford Castle

| By: Five Star Alliance

Creative cooking, inspired use of seasonal ingredients and an innovative menu await you at Ashford Castle.
Chef Stefan Matz has received many accolades for his culinary expertise and has developed an impressive
choice of four unique dining experiences, each with its inimitable style and ambience.

Ashford Castle

Book a stay at Ashford Castle >>


| By: Five Star Alliance

Michael Wurm of www.InspiredByCharm.com recently shared the photo below from the lobby of The G Hotel in Galway that we absolutely love.

Now THAT is a light fixture!


| By: Five Star Alliance

Ashford Castle
Ashford Castle
in Mayo is founded by the Anglo-Norman de Burgo family following their defeat of the native O'Connors of Connaught. The de Burgo's would build several such castles throughout the province, but Ashford in Ireland would remain the principal stronghold. The native O'Connors also leave a legacy in the form of the nearby 12th century Augustinian abbey of Cong, Co.Mayo, built on the site of a 6th century monastery.

After more than three and a half centuries under the de Burgo's, Ashford passes into the hands of a new owner. following a fierce battle between the forces of the de Burgo's and those of the English Lord Bingham, governor of Connaught, a truce is agreed and the castle falls to Bingham who adds a fortified enclave within its precincts.

 

 

 

View rates, details, and more images of Ashford Castle >> 

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| By: Five Star Alliance

 

Ashford Castle will be soon be seeing red.  Our sister publication Luxury Travel Advisor, has reported that Red Carnation Hotels has taken over the historic property. Ashford Castle is the former estate of the Guinness family. It dates back to 1228 and is set on the shores of Lough Corrib, Ireland's second largest lake, in the picturesque village of Cong. Jena Tessa Fox reports that:

Ashford Castle

 

 

Red Carnation Hotels' Managing Director Jonathan Raggett said that the team was looking forward to working with Ashford's General Manager Niall Rochford and to growing the workforce with local talent. "We will be working with local suppliers and partners on a refurbishment program that will restore this illustrious hotel to its former glory, and build on the fine reputation that the hotel already enjoys," Raggett said.

 

 

More on the acquisition >>

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| By: Oksana Balytsky

Have a ‘Harry Potter’ filled adventure this Halloween at Ashford Castle in Ireland. For one incredible week, Ashford Castle will be under a magical spell with Hogwarts activities perfect for the whole family. Ashford Castle’s hidden rooms, soaring ceilings, and hundreds of years of history give it a wizardly feel that kids will surely appreciate. Go on a ‘Forbidden Forest’ treasure hunt, visit the hiding place of Ashford Castle’s own, Dingle, take a ‘Chamber of Art’ painting class, and of course, watch a ‘Harry Potter’ movie screening. What an incredible way to bring Hogwarts to life! Make your reservations between October 26th and November 3nd at Ashford Castle for an unforgettable adventure for you and your family!


| By: Christopher Roney

Before it became one of the most renowned castle hotels in Europe, the Ashford Castle was the home to the Guinness family, to which all of the beer drinkers among us owe a serious debt of gratitude.  I think I need not explain more, for we all know Guinness's enchanting charm.  Built originally in the 13th century, the estate holds over 350 acres of private land and has played host to the rich and famous, including President Reagan and Pierce Brosnan, who married there.  You could end up feeling just as cool as the agent himself while staying in rooms that combine a preserved 13th century style with all of the modern amenities of top-notch hotels.  Resident Chef Stefan Matz offers four unique dining experiences on the property that make innovative use of traditional Irish fare; you'll be stepping into a world where meat and potatoes are anything but meat-and-potatoes.  A dedicated spa featuring the products and philosophy of Yan Ka, meant to help the skin regain its vital balance and energy.  

Alongside the property lies the second-largest Irish lake, the Lough Corrib, whose idyllic shores offer unparalleled views as well as a number of outdoor activities.  Miles of hiking trails are available through the countryside, and a 9-hole golf course, designed by legend Eddie Hackett, features prominently.  Fishing and hunting are available on the grounds, with Lough Corrib offering some of the best in Ireland during May, June, and July.  Not only that, you can enjoy a jacuzzi, sauna, and steam room alongside your beauty treatments, and then refresh in the crisp lake air on any one of three daily lake tours.  The Ashford Castle is truly one of the jewels of Ireland.


| By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ashford CastleHarry Potter's magical world of witches and wizards will come to life this Halloween at Ireland's Ashford Castle. Situated on 350 acres on the shores of Lough Corrib and the River Cong in County Mayo, Ashford Castle dates back to 1228. The resort's activities run the gamut from falconry to golf, and Ashford Castle continually ranks as one of the best resorts in the world. For Halloween, families are welcome to the estate for a fun-filled weekend for magicians in the making. It's the ideal setting: secret rooms, hidden alcoves, and mystical woodland surroundings... Two "Hogwarts Halloween" packages are offered from October 28th through November 6th. 

October 28, 30; November 1, 3, 5

Noon - "Forbidden Forest" treasure hunt for entire family

3pm - Visit to the hiding place of Dingle, Ashford Castle's resident owl (supervised)

4pm - Afternoon "Chamber of Art" painting class (supervised)

5pm - 6:30pm: Kids' dinner in the Ardilaun Suite (supervised)

6:30pm - 9pm: Harry Potter movie evening (supervised)

From 7pm - George V Table d'Hote dinner for Mom and Dad

October 29, 31; November 2, 4, 6

Noon - "Hidden Garden" treasure hunt for entire family

3pm -"House Elves" cooking class (supervised)

4pm-5pm - Afternoon "Chamber of Witchcraft & Wizardry" (supervised)

5pm - 6pm - Kids' dinner in the Ardilaun Suite (supervised)

6:30pm - 9pm - Harry Potter movie evening (supervised)

From 7pm - George V Table d'Hote dinner for Mom and Dad

The one-night package is priced at €495 (approximately US$709) and the two-night package is priced at €950 (approximately US$1,361); both offer accommodation in a Deluxe Family Room. Both packages are based on two adults and two children under the age of 12. An additional charge of €85 (approximately US$122) per night may be applied for each additional child.


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