Glass experiences the gilded glory of Carton House, Ireland

STEPPING inside the gilded walls of  Carton House, A Fairmont Managed Hotel, it feels like stepping back in time into a Jane Austen novel – well sans romance – and with improved plumbing.

Located just outside of Dublin, Ireland, Carton House is a countryside escape with a combination of modern amenities and historical luxury. It is a hotel that truly sits outside the orthodox timeline. 

The exterior of  Carton House

The Georgian era property was commissioned by Earl FitzGerald in 1739 and designed by famed architect Richard Castles. It was a home fit for aristocrats and royalty, including none other than Queen Victoria.

In June 2021, the property underwent an extensive refurbishment which included the expansion of an entirely new Garden Wing. On the opposite side of the property sits The House wing,  comprising of the original kitchens, dining, sitting and drawing rooms, in addition to a series of one of a kind bedrooms and suites. 

The Courtyard Bar

Checking into the Earl’s Suite, I enjoy the delicious edible welcome treats and make good use of the luxurious Le Labo toiletries stocked in the bathroom. My window offers a wide-reaching view of the manicured garden and green putting grounds against the backdrop of a picturesque Irish blue sky.

My king-size bed is tucked away separate from the seating area decorated with time period art with a stack of coffee table books. 

House Presidential Suite Duke bedroom

 It can be hard to feel at home in a place as grand as the Carton House, but any hesitation is eased by the hotel’s warm welcome and continual hospitality. The Carton House staff takes hospitality to the next level with their historical insight  and daily commitment to making my stay as comfortable as possible.

I explore the many wallpaper-clad, sun-soaked rooms. This included the two-story whiskey library and the beautifully ornamented Chinese Boudoir. The property manager, with great excitement, offers insight into the wonderful history of the house and the painstaking detail that went into maintaining the integrity of the property during the renovations. 

The Whiskey Library

While I could have easily been entertained simply wandering the Carton house grounds during my stay, I was fortunate enough to enjoy the wonderful activities available on the property. I was spoiled in the Carton House spa and left with glowing skin and a slight buzz from the complimentary prosecco and sorbet that followed my treatment.

The onsite beekeeper Thomas took us on a brief excursion to show us the beehives just at the edge of the golf course. Thomas ventured into beekeeping as a post-retirement hobbing and now spends his days harvesting honey for the hotel and sharing the joys of beekeeping with lucky guests like me.

Carton House grounds

Prefer your honey on a plate rather than a hive? Carton House offers a wide range of extraordinary dining experiences. In the candlelit setting of the stunning Morrison Room, I realise how much of an art form food can be. Each dish included in the 8-course tasting menu looks as if it belongs on the walls of the Tate Modern.

The food presentation is impeccable, and the taste is equally worth noting. Our servers are well versed in wine pairing knowledge and went above and beyond to even create a custom handcrafted cocktail for me when notified of my distaste for red wine. 

Dining at the Morrison Room

Kathleen’s Kitchen is home to perhaps some of the best pasta I have ever eaten. Sitting within a clear view of the chefs working away, we chat away to the sounds of clanking pans. The menu features locally sourced ingredients, even as locally as the Carton House grounds.

Chefs meet with local botanists to choose herbs to garnish seasonal dishes and try their own hand at foraging. It’s locally sourced world-class cuisine. 

Kathleen’s Kitchen

Carton House has managed to capture a sense of luxury and glamour that sits outside any time period, from the glimmering chandeliers to the modernised lobby bar. There is a meticulous attention to detail that permeates the hotel, starting with the decor and ending with the staff.

While staying at  Carton House, you can trust you are in good hands while sitting down for a meal or suiting up to visit beehives.  

The exterior of Carton House

by Jamison Kent

Rooms start around £340 per night. You can book here