Checking In: Fairmont Carton House, Co Kildare - The Gloss Magazine

Checking In: Fairmont Carton House, Co Kildare

Penny McCormick checks in to Fairmont Carton House in Co Kildare and is left with an indelible impression of the house, long after checkout…

Main Image; The Gold Salon

VIBE: Handsome, historic hideaway with spectacular antiques and amenities.

WHAT: The Palladian-style house and converted outbuildings dates back to 1176. Originally the home of the aristocratic Fitzgerald family, it is now owned by the Irish-American Mullen family. The bones of this Georgian gem have been retained and augmented during a renovation by McCauley Daye O’Connell Architects.

ROOMS: There are 170 guest bedrooms in The Garden Wing, with 18 suites in the Manor House. I stayed in The Ashford suite with a prime view of the formal gardens, ancient rose beds and golf course. Aside from its spaciousness and huge bathroom, I loved the wallpaper created by specialist David Skinner, the edit of books and Le Labo Rose 31 toiletries.

DINING: There are four restaurants and bars. Try them all if you can, from a mid-morning coffee in the stylish lobby, to afternoon tea in the Gold Salon (€55), where breakfast is served à la russe. It’s the ultimate gilt trip with Baroque stucco, huge organ and Corinthian columns. The Morrison Room, recently mentioned in the Michelin Guide, aces graceful (but not snooty) fine dining with gorgeous china by William Edwards. (Combine a sevencourse tasting menu by head chef Charles Degrendele with an overnight stay, for €640). More relaxed, is Kathleen’s Kitchen, where a new menu of tempting small plates is served. For oenophiles, The Duke’s Rest in the former entrance hall has an impressive cellar for private tastings, as does the booklined Whiskey Library. For an aperitif, The Courtyard is reminiscent of Tuscan terraces and offers (superb) people watching. The hotel is the second home of the Irish rugby team, who stay and train there.

The Boat House.

ACTIVITIES: The 1,100-acre estate has Special Area of Conservation status and is home to a herd of red deer and rare species of birds and plants. Explore on foot or on one of the complimentary bikes. If you haven’t packed for outdoor pursuits, no problem – guests can borrow boots and waxed jackets by Dubarry. For golfers, the challenging links-style course designed by Colin Montgomerie, and the classic parkland course designed by Mark O’Meara, beckon. The Boat House is a picturesque backdrop for a picnic, one of a number of bespoke experience packages that can be created; others include fishing, archery, and clay pigeon shooting.

THE SPA: Add another layer of sensory experience with top-notch treatments by Margaret Dabbs and Aromatherapy Associates. A spa and wellness overnight experience, which includes a treatment and afternoon tea, costs from €465.

VERDICT: The opulence and authenticity of Carton House’s style, setting and service leaves an indelible impression long after checkout.

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