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“Magical” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Ashford Castle

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Ashford Castle
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Ashford Castle Estate, Cong, Ireland   |  
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Ranked #1 of 3 hotels in Cong
Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Magical”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2013

The castle is fabulous and the grounds spectacular, no doubt about it. I appreciate history, art and architecture so the place is amazing. The activities offered by the hotel is one of the reasons I wanted to stay. We enjoyed golf, falconry, bike riding and fishing (separate reviews). However, except for the golf all of these activities are separate fees and in some cases totally separate businesses not affiliated with Ashford. This makes the hotel difficult to rate because although there are those who will stay for one night for the experience of staying at a castle and do nothing but soak up the beautiful surroundings, I just can't see paying to stay there for more than one night UNLESS you take advantage of the activities.

Hotel: The reception service was first class. The doorman was on top of everything. The check-out desk exchanges foreign currency with no fees, which was very helpful and much appreciated. The hallways, lobbies and sitting areas beautiful and clean. Fresh flowers throughout, which in my experience separates 4 Star hotels from 5 Star. Take the time to look around the different rooms and admire the beautiful art work, carved wood accents and fireplaces. Our actual room was dated but clean and the bathroom needed a bit of work. Bed was uncomfortable. We did not have dinner at the hotel because my husband wasn't about to pack a jacket for just one evening's use but did dine in the George V Room twice for breakfast and it is a really beautiful room with exceptional service. Great variety for breakfast. Breakfast attire was anywhere from business suits to men in shorts and flip-flops and women with their bellies hanging out of their crew-necked t-shirts (really????). Such a strict dress code for dinner yet anything goes for breakfast held in the same room. The night time entertainment (?) in the Drawing Room was horrible. This woman is more suited to entertain in a retirement community. She continuously lauded and flirted with some of the men in the room with us (all much older than she was) and was annoying. This, coupled with the fact that we could not seem to get any service, drove us out of the room and there are no other options for socializing in the evening. They have a Dungeon Room downstairs that is open in the winter when Cullen's is closed (maybe I have this wrong) but it was empty and it seems could be put to good use for those who would like to socialize in the evenings in a more relaxed atmosphere. With a little effort management can make the stay a little more appealing for the younger (30-50's) crowd.

We have stayed at some beautiful 5 Star resorts over the years and while I appreciate luxury I don't want to be treated as if I am lucky to be at their hotel/resort. The servers in Cocktail Bar, like those in the Drawing room, were beyond snooty. A couple we were sitting with and ourselves were continually ignored in favor of locals/regulars?? We were celebrating our 25th Anniversary but did not expect the hotel to do anything 'special' because if they did that for everyone the room rates would probably go up. Everyone is there for some special something.

Ashford caters to one or two-nighters, like us, who do not want to blow their whole vacation budget in one place or are celebrating special events. People pay the high room rate (ours was $600 USD, although the USD to Euro exchange rate is hardly the hotels problem) for the opportunity to stay at the castle and I don't regret that we did.... for one night. The hotel has been sold (the new owners or managers were there when we visited) and I hope that after the much needed renovations they do not raise the room rate so high as to exclude younger visitors of being able to enjoy this romantic, fairy tale atmosphere.

For those who want to enjoy Ashford but don't want to stay more than one night my advise would be to arrive early the day of your booking to make sure you get the most out of your day at Ashford, leave your bags at reception and go on a hawk walk (must) or rent a bike and perhaps take a bottle of wine and some crackers/cheese and enjoy the miles of absolutely gorgeous trails along the rivers and lakes, Cong town, Cong Abbey and the Monk's Fishing Hut (very easy ride). This can all be done before you even check in. Enjoy some of the other activities (golf, fishing, clay target shooting and horseback riding, lake cruise, archery) and eat dinner at Cullen's at the Cottage which is on the property (fabulous food). Likewise, after check out time you can still leave your luggage at reception and enjoy the activities offered through the hotel. Reception is very accommodating and the activity desk will arrange everything for you if you haven't already done so. Take advantage of the activities offered and you won't cringe at the room rates because it becomes part of the overall experience, which truly is magical.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (273)
Date | Rating
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  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
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English first
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2013

The castle grounds, staff, restaurant, stables, boat tour, golf and history are all grand! It was by far the most beautiful place we stayed in Ireland. Cong is the quaint village that
The Quiet-man with John Wayne was filmed. This is how you imagine Ireland will be in your dreams!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mount Kisco, New York
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2013

Negatives: Arrived in the evening after a long day of touring. Castle jaw-droppingly impressive, a massive stone edifice that meanders over acres and acres of brilliant green gardens and lawns. Climbed the obligatory 50 steps to the front door (who needs a gym?) only to find, for the first time in our 2 weeks of touring, that the hotel desk had none of our personal information. We know that our agent had sent all this information, as had the tour company we were using. We had to leave a passport number. Makes one wonder. On top of that, there was no personal greeting from a manager. Nor were there any goodies left in our room as there had been in every other hotel on our trip (since we were both celebrating birthdays, our travel agent had thoughtfully written to every hotel manager appraising them of this, and each one responded with birthday greetings, notes of welcome and assorted candies and pastries). Not the Ashford. It was like they never heard of us - even though I know our agent had received a note from the hotel acknowledging her letter and request. A small thing, but indicative of poor communication, if nothing else.
Had a wonderful stall shower for a change (not the usual "Irish tub" with the 1/4-size vinyl door). But I moved the shower head a tad for a better angle, and flooded the floor anyway! (Water went OVER the top of the door, which wasn't flush with the ceiling.)
Positives: George V dining room, where we had dinner (included in our room rate), was magnificent: beautiful appointments, large tables and terrific, comfortable chairs done in a maroon and gold velour which complemented the carpets. Fabulous crystal chandeliers that poured constantly changing colored lights over the room. Excellent food, with faultless service. Breakfast as good as the dinner.
Would like to stay again and spend more time on the grounds, hopefully on a sunny day.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NY
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2013

You know you have arrived when your at Ashford. You are greeted at the front gate by a man in a suite asking your name. He has you on your he list. You get welcomed and he tells you to drive a quarter mile up the road and Jim will direct you from there. Jim greets you by name and directs you over the bridge to the front door and says Dave will be there to get your luggage. Sure enough Dave is there to welcome you take your luggage {which you will next see in your room} and directs you to reception. You check in sitting in nice chairs in front of a desk where you are told a bit about the hotel and given your room key. Oddly you are not asked for a credit card until you leave. Everyone knows you by name during your visit. Except for the dinner check, I never signed or saw one charge the whole time I was there. In a Castle you should have the formal dinner which was excellent but if your there more then one night the Cottage is very good and less expensive. After dinner in the drawing room they have live Irish music sprinkled with some popular stuff. Request are welcome. The same lady that I read some negative comments about in the dungeon is now upstairs. She was charming. Perhaps the move upstairs made the difference. She looks the same as she did 20 years ago. The rooms are good size and old as is everything but in perfect shape. The golf course { 9 holes } is not terrific but they do not charge and they don't advertise as a golf resort.

If you are a Amex Platinum card holder this is one place the upgrade stuff works for the same price as if you booked it yourself. We got our upgrade, late check out and an afternoon tea that could pass as a late lunch before dinner. It was priced on the menu at 36 euro each and you received two per room.

The hotel was just sold a month ago to the Red Carnation Group and all the staff seem pretty excited. They are planning a 2 year renovation so you might want to check how that might impact your trip.

Room Tip: Lake side is the better option
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hopkinton
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2013

Such an amazing property! We were there for two nights and took full advantage of all the Castle has to offer...falconry, horse back riding, strolls through the gardens, the cruise on Lough Corrib, a few rounds of golf, dinner at Cullen's and George V, and the spa! Our only regret was not walking into the town of Cong. It had been a busy 8 days up until our stay and we were looking forward to "staying put"...little did we know Cong was just a short walk away! Everyone was warm and welcoming. Our only suggestion would be to have someone readily available to give tours of the property with the history of the castle. We were told we could hire someone, but it would be nice to have that easily available to the guests as it's a big part of the charm of the place. We would definitely come again!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winchester, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2013

Went back here for dinner with family and friend. Its been a long time since my last visit! all I can say is that my expectations were exceeded in every manner.
Great staff, wonderful food and quality wine. Ambiance as ever was super, even the dress down for the dining room was OK.
If ONLY they had cherries for the Manhattan's then it would have been perfect :-)

I won't leave it so long until my next visit....

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2013

This was our only splurge on accommodations during two weeks in Ireland last fall and it was totally worth it. The whole experience at Ashford Castle was enchanting. It started with the personal attention you receive at the door during check in and the care continued all the way through our stay to check out. The staff seemed to treat everyone like royalty and we didn't want for anything. Our room was elegantly decorated, well sized and even had American style electrical sockets, the bathroom was one I'd love to have in my own home, the grounds are magnificent and perfectly manicured, and the breakfast was unbelievable. The swiss muesli was so delicious I had to go find a recipe to make it myself. We did the Hawk Walk during our stay. It was was one of my favorite experiences to date. We learned so much and having that one-on-one encounter with the birds is unforgetable.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Ashford Castle

Address: Ashford Castle Estate, Cong, Ireland
Phone Number:
Location: Ireland > Western Ireland > Province of Connacht > County Mayo > Cong
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 hotels in Cong
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Ashford Castle 4*
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Also Known As:
Ashford Castle Hotel Cong
Ashford Castle Ireland/Cong

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