Ballyfin Demesne

Ballyfin, County Laois
Bedrooms: 15
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Ballyfin Demesne: Laois

Synonymous with grace and luxury since the eighteenth century, Ballyfin is a romantic 5-Star country house hotel majestically set at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains just one hour from Dublin.

Admired as the most lavish Regency mansion in Ireland, this opulent wedding venue houses an outstanding collection of paintings, worldly antiques, fine Irish mahogany, French chandeliers and mirrors by Thomas Chippendale.

With only fifteen guestrooms for the 600-acre estate, this particular wedding destination provides discretion and privacy for the ultimate wedding celebration in a truly spectacular setting.
Ballyfin Demesne: Please share your stay experience
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Monte D
September - 2019
"Luxury but with a warm feeling of home - can't imagine a more pefect place to stay!"
We were staying here for our 50th Wedding Anniversary special treat after seeing the restoration video on Public Television in the U.S. It was simply amazing! The staff are all so warm, welcoming and very friendly all while being professional. We tried to do as much as we possibly could during our three night stay. We had a wonderful horse drawn carriage tour driven by "Leo" around the Demesne ending with a superb lunch in the picnic house with fabulous food and views. We took a golf cart to return to the house after our picnic. We had a 3 kilometer hike with Glenn followed by a row boat ride on the lake followed by a house history tour, a peek to see inside the kitchen and meet the chef team; we enjoyed wine tasting with the Sommelier, our swim in the pool with soak in the spa hot water, a "lite" workout in the gym, a private golf cart tour of the upper and lower walled gardens, a walk through the scenic Rockery; a golf cart exploration at the church and cemetery; a golf cart drive around the lake on our own and a chance to explore the Grotto; luncheon twice in the conservatory, pre-dinner drinks in the library, Saloon and Gold room on different days; dinner in the Van der Hagen dining room and breakfast twice and dinner twice in the State dining room. Coffee and croissants in our room on the day we left before regular breakfast. We only did not do the costumes, shooting or the birds of prey or climb the tower as we ran out of time. We enjoyed the nightly piano music by Tom the piano man and bought his CD's. Francesca came to know our dining and drinks taste. She was so very easy to talk to. Damian was so courteous to let me express my fondness for the staff with my small thank you gift of California See's Candies. We could not have been happier with our stay and making such a wonderful memory for us. Also our bath in the Sarcophagus tub in our room was so enjoyable and memorable. We were only sorry to have to leave maybe we can come again for our 6oth anniversary. Thank you Ballyfin for a great stay!!
Peter F
August 2019
"Absolute Perfection"
We treated ourselves to a stay at Ballyfin for our first wedding anniversary and from start to finish it was an incredible experience. It was hard to imagine that you were actually staying in an hotel and not transported back to a bygone age of country house living. The staff were so courteous and attentive at all times . A perfect house both inside and out ,set in a strictly private Demesne of some 640 acres
Roscoe11 - Ireland
May - 2019
"Very enjoyable"
Had a wonderful 24 hours here for our 25th Wedding Anniversary. You are made feel most welcome and certainly the service is impeccable. The building is fabulous both exterior and interior and the pre-dinner drink was so enjoyable with the black tied pianist playing the Game of Thrones title music (amongst others) on the Grand Piano! Ballyfin is expensive as you would expect but for that extra special occasion, it was worth it.
Cymru63
March - 2019
"24 hours of heaven!"
We were very fortunate to have received gift vouchers for Ballyfin as wedding presents and we booked a deluxe room at the 'full board' rate for a Saturday night. We timed our arrival to just after noon to make the most of the stay.

The approach to the house is dramatic. After entry through the intercom-controlled electric entry gates, and the half mile or so drive through beautiful parkland, the house appears round a bend with staff awaiting to greet you. It's a little daunting on first visit, but the guys were very friendly and chatty, took care of our luggage, and whisked away the car whilst we entered the house and were offered a welcome glass of champagne and a tour of the public rooms. They are simply stunning. The refurbishment was completed about 8 years ago and the level of craftsmanship and the harmoniousness of the interior design is breathtaking.

We thought Ballyfin might be a bit stuffy and stifling, but nothing could have been further from the truth. The policy of hiring local staff, rather than high-end hotel staff has paid dividends, as everyone is chatty and friendly rather than cold and distant as is the case with so many top hotels. The advertising likens the stay to a stay with friends, rather than an out-and-out hotel experience, and this was our experience too (although sadly we don't have any friends that live in a country mansion!).

The rooms aren't generally available until 3pm, and so was the case with ours, but we settled happily into the Library with our champagne and the paper until lunch at 1pm.
The State Dining Room is a beautiful space with well spaced tables and we both ordered the caramelised onion tart with goat's cheese, with salad and fries, and a glass of Sancerre. It was sensational, with sweet caramelised onion on a very flaky pastry with the tang of very good goat's cheese. The salad was beautifully dressed in a balsamic glaze and the fries were beautifully golden and crisp. My wife had a salted caramel pot as dessert and I had the cheese - three varieties with delicious crackers and gorgeous spicy fig chutney.

After lunch we retired to our room - the beautiful Mountrath - with stunning views over the cascade water feature to the rear of the house, and beyond to the folly styled as a Greek temple. What a lovely place to be. We spent the afternoon relaxing completely.

As we came down the stairs for dinner we bumped into Damien, the General Manager, and Jim, the Chief Executive and part-owner who stopped to chat. I had just watched the fascinating documentary on the TV about the history of Ballyfin and its restoration, and it was glad to have had the chance to talk to them about it as it is such a triumph.

We were offered a pre-dinner drink and an amuse bouche in the Library whilst we looked at the extensive menu, and even more impressive wine list! The dining choices are an 8-course (or 5-course) tasting menu, or the a la carte option. We opted for the latter and ordered the scallop starter, with crispy chicken skin, apple and lemon, which was divine, and then the lamb for me and the veal for her. All deliciously cooked and beautifully presented. Desserts were delayed to enjoy the remainder of a rather lovely bottle of Vacqueyras but we eventually succumbed to dessert. An excellent meal.

We were up early on the Sunday and tried the pool, sauna and jacuzzi before returning to our room to shower and then have breakfast about 10am, which is available until 11am. I had sweet freshly squeezed orange juice, yoghurt and honey followed by Eggs Benedict, mini pastries and coffee, all served on delightful blue and white Spode crockery. The attention to detail was impeccable.

After packing our bags and leaving them with reception, we took one of the available golf carts to explore the 160 acre estate. We went to the Grotto and then a lap around the lake, and on to the Tower with it's amazing far-reaching views, before returning to check out and leave (actually twice, as I forgot to hand in the key the first time!).

We had a truly memorable stay, in the most tranquil and beautiful surroundings. The obligatory 'How Did We Do?' survey was left for us to complete and asked if any one staff member stood out for service. We truthfully answered that they hadn't, as everyone had been fantastic. That sums up Ballyfin - and we can't wait to return - it's a treat beyond compare.
JCPC
March - 2019
AMAZING PLACE - AMAZING STAFF
We had the most fantastic two day retreat in Ballyfin. A special occasion to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. From the minute we arrived greeted by Damien and staff we knew this was somewhere special. The house is spectacular and you get to enjoy it at your leisure. Staff are super, so friendly and the staff behind the sense should also be complimented. Had dinner in the bar first night, open fire, had the room to ourselves and did the fine dinning second night- first time having a tasting menu - it was unbelievable - hats off to the kitchen staff and dinning room staff - thanks for the Happy Anniversary desert. We were privileged to have spent time in this fantastic house, walk the grounds and indulge ourselves in the tranquility of the surroundings. Thanks to all and hope to visit again sometime.
Very_Last_Minute71 Dublin, Ireland
November 2018
"In a word "WOW"
A number of years ago I had the pleasure in staying in what was described as one of the best hotels in the world in Thailand. I stayed for a number of days, and it was perfect, but for some reason, that I couldn't put my finger on, I had an underlying feeling of disappointment.

When I recently had the pleasure of spending a day in Ballyfin, this memory from years ago was on my mind. As Ballyfin was voted one of the best hotels in the world, will this accolade be just too much to manage the expectations of the guests. Well I can say with absolute certainty no. Ballyfin is an absolute gem. From the moment you ring the buzzer on the gate, to the very sad moment of leaving through the same gates, the experience is just wonderful. I believe the difference in my experience with Ballyfin was down to the staff. The interactions with the staff, are not the polished, sometimes cold experience you get in high end establishments, but one of personal honesty, and warmth. This approach ensures you snap into relaxation mode as soon as you get to the door.

As the manager said to me when leaving, "they want to create the feeling of staying in a home, rather that a hotel". Well they cracked it, actually no, they smashed it.

The only down side I can come up with has been, its been a number of weeks since my stay, and the place is still on my mind. I may now never be happy in any other hotel ever again.
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  • Wedding Venue Features
  • Lavish Regency mansion
  • 600 acre parkland estate
  • At foot of Slieve Bloom Mountains
  • Indoor pool
  • Spa rituals
  • Art collection and history tours
  • Wine & whiskey tastings
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