Dro­moland Cas­tle

County Clare, Ire­land

Business Traveler (USA) - - TRIED & TESTED - BT

WHERE IS IT? Less than 20 min­utes from Shan­non air­port, this ma­jes­tic cas­tle prop­erty is sur­rounded by 450 acres of man­i­cured gar­dens, a 6,824 yard, 18-hole cham­pi­onship golf course and coun­try club. Within a short drive is the Bur­ren Food Trail, the Cliffs of Mo­her, and the cities of Lim­er­ick and Galway.

Once the home of the royal Gaelic O’Brien fam­ily, the cas­tle boasts re­gal in­te­ri­ors graced with gilt-framed paint­ings of its former res­i­dents and warmed by crack­ling fire­places. Guests are wel­comed into gor­geous draw­ing rooms where tra­di­tional af­ter­noon tea is served daily.

ROOM FA­CIL­I­TIES: De­sign­ers re­spected the his­toric na­ture of the cas­tle while up­dat­ing the in­te­ri­ors with more con­tem­po­rary fab­rics and fur­nish­ings. Plump du­vets coat the over­sized beds, some with four-poster frames, stacked high with over­sized pil­lows. Bed­side power and USB ports were cer­tainly never around cen­turies ago, and Amer­i­can power out­lets by the desks are ap­pre­ci­ated. Wire­less In­ter­net ac­cess is free and speedy through­out the cas­tle while mod­ern cab­i­nets house Ne­spresso ma­chines, hot wa­ter ket­tles, mini­bars, flat-screen ca­ble TVs, CD/DVD play­ers, and robes and slip­pers. Many rooms add sofa beds pop­u­lar with the multi­gen­er­a­tional fam­i­lies that stay here. All bath­rooms have rain­fall show­ers and deep soak­ing tubs ex­cept for two, which have even larger shower areas fit for roy­alty. They are stocked with towel warm­ers and Asprey Pur­ple Wa­ter toi­letries. RESTAU­RANTS AND BARS: Earl of Thomond serves el­e­gant a la carte break­fasts and din­ners on the finest china and starched white linens. Ser­vice is per­fected by tuxe­doed staffers, and the gourmet dishes by ex­ec­u­tive chef David McCann in­cor­po­rate lo­cal pro­duce and in­gre­di­ents. The toasted Ir­ish brown bread is de­li­cious, and spe­cial menus for gluten-free and veg­e­tar­ian din­ers are ex­ten­sive. The evening hours en­cour­age jack­ets for gen­tle­men, but guests can al­ways forego the more for­mal at­tire to dine in The Gallery on light meals through­out the day. Fig Tree at the coun­try club of­fers ca­sual fare while af­ter­noon tea and a lively cock­tail bar are pop­u­lar later in the day. Live mu­sic and bar­tenders that dou­ble as show­men are the norm. LEISURE FA­CIL­I­TIES: Recre­ation is yet an­other of Dro­moland’s strong suits with com­pli­men­tary bik­ing, boat­ing, ten­nis and swim­ming among the choices. Each day a com­pli­men­tary ac­tiv­ity is open to guests in­clud­ing archery, fal­conry lessons, pony rides or clay tar­get shoot­ing among oth­ers. A lav­ish spa of­fers mas­sage and beauty treat­ments us­ing Elemis prod­ucts. BUSI­NESS AND MEET­ING FA­CIL­I­TIES: Meet­ing space for as many as 450 is avail­able, but more com­mon are so­cial events like wed­dings and re­unions. The ho­tel spe­cial­izes in unique experiences such as the re­gal horse and hound wel­come for spe­cial events where dozens of lively hounds and uni­formed horse­men usher guests down the tree-lined drive­way to the cas­tle.

VER­DICT: Every­one leaves this cas­tle feel­ing like roy­alty, and its rep­u­ta­tion for the finest ser­vice is well de­served.

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