Laois luxury mansion named top resort hotel in Ireland, UK at World’s Best Travel and Leisure awards

Five-star country Ballyfin estate, now globally recognised for ‘unparalleled guest experience’, has previously hosted A-list celebrities

Ballyfin estate is located at the foot of the Slieve Bloom mountains, comprising of just 21 bedrooms in a secluded setting.

Ballyfin, the luxury regency mansion located near Mountrath, Co Laois, has been named the number one resort hotel in Ireland and the UK in the 2024 Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards. The annual survey recognises excellence in the travel industry, showcasing the top hotels, resorts, destinations, and airlines in the world ranked by travellers.

The five-star country house hotel which opened in 2011 following an extensive nine-year restoration project, was recognised for its “commitment to providing exceptional service, breathtaking surroundings, and an unparalleled guest experience”. Ballyfin is located on a picturesque 248 hectare estate at the foot of the Slieve Bloom mountains with just 21 bedrooms in a secluded setting and has attracted such A-list guests Kim Kardashian and Kanye West who honeymooned there, and George and Amal Clooney.

Most recently the hotel has been run by three key staff members who previously worked together at Lucknam Park Hotel, a five-star country house hotel near Bath in the UK. They include general manager Peter White, deputy general manager Claire Randall and executive head chef Richard Picard-Edwards. It is no secret that Picard-Edwards harbours Michelin-star ambitions which he aims to achieve in the kitchen at Ballyfin. The hotel has three hectares of walled kitchen gardens, where the produce feeds directly into the restaurant kitchen for seasonal and daily changing menus.

Commenting on the Travel + Leisure award, White said: “To receive this outstanding award is a testament to the dedicated team at Ballyfin. I would like to thank them for their hard work and our wonderful guests for sharing their appreciation for the experience we deliver.”

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A member of Relais & Chateaux, Ballyfin offers gourmet dining, an indoor pool and spa, and country pursuits such as fishing, horseback riding, clay pigeon shooting, archery and falconry.

The 2024 World’s Best awards are in their 29th year. The overall winner of the world’s best hotel award was The Oberoi Rajvilas in Jaipur, India. Other category winners included, Florence, Italy, which was awarded Best city in Europe, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, awarded best city in the world.

Madeleine Lyons

Madeleine Lyons

Madeleine Lyons is Property Editor of The Irish Times