Checking In: Ballyfin, Co Laois - The Gloss Magazine

Checking In: Ballyfin, Co Laois

At Ballyfin, guests come for peace, privacy and pampering. Here’s everything you need to know before planning your five-star stay …

VIBE Regency mansion set on 614 acres of gorgeous woodland and gardens.

BACKSTORY The Anglo-Irish owner, the 3rd Baronet Coote, sold the property after World War I. It became a boys’ school before being bought by American billionaire Fred Krehbiel in 2001. Interior designer Colin Orchard coordinated the impeccable restoration project.

DECOR Haute, not stuffy, brimming with antiques, impressive gallery walls, squishy sofas and excellent reading material.

ROOMS Twenty, each individually decorated. I stayed in the luscious Wellesley Pole suite which overlooks the Cascade waterfall, and comprises sitting room, bedroom and vast bathroom with Pevonia amenities.

DINING Exceptional, from breakfast in the formal dining room, served on blue and white Italian Spode, to lunch in the divine Turner conservatory, coffee and cakes in the Library, pre-dinner aperitifs in the Gold Salon and an à la carte tasting menu prepared by chef Richard Picard-Edwards. I admired a group of American guests dining in period costumes sourced from Chicago’s Lyric Opera Company.

DO take a carriage ride with Lionel Chadwick around the grottos, tower (often the site for proposals of marriage) and lake (particularly romantic during bluebell season). Explore the walled gardens with head gardener Kayleigh Keenan; the exquisite Gardener’s Cottage is regularly booked by writers working on final drafts of their books.

VERDICT The hype is deserved, due in no small measure to the friendly staff led by genial general manager Peter White. Don’t expect buzz – it’s quiet and kid-free – guests come for peace, privacy and pampering. A mid-week overnight stay costs from €810.


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