Delight for Laois family hotel as major award announced

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Delight for Laois family hotel as major award announced

Roundwood house proprietors Hannah and Paddy Flynn with their daughters.

A beloved Laois country hotel has won the Irish Hotel of the Year Award.

Hannah and Paddy Flynn who own and run Roundwood House in Laois have won a prestigious César Award, “Irish Hotel of the Year” from the Good Hotel Guide.

It is all the more meaningful for the couple who took over the reins 12 years ago from Hannah’s parents, Frank and Rosemarie Kennan, because they themselves won a César Award in 1989.

“Winning that award was a real turning point for their business”, says Hannah, and she remembers how excited her parents were as they headed off to London for the award ceremony.

Hannah and Paddy won’t be going to London to collect their award, 31 years later, but rather will attend a ceremony on Zoom during which they will open a bottle of Tattinger Champagne, kindly sent to them by the Good Hotel Guide for the occasion. No doubt Frank and Rosemarie will join them for a glass too.

The Good Hotel Guide’s range of entries, 750 hotels, inns and B&Bs in the UK and Ireland, is deliberately eclectic and according to it’s editor, Adam Raphael, their selected properties “are not just the pick of the best; they have hospitality built into their very fabric.”

César Awards are given to the ten best hotels every year. Named after César Ritz, the most celebrated of hoteliers, these are, he says, “the Oscars of hotel-keeping”. Previous winners in the “Irish Hotel of the Year Category” are Gregan’s Castle in Ballyvaughan, The Quay House in Clifden and Newforge House in Co. Armagh.

According to Raphael, the award was given to Roundwood House because “Hannah & Paddy inject oodles of personality into the hotel and guests love the warm welcome and relaxed atmosphere.”

It comes at a difficult time when Hannah and Paddy have today closed their doors to guests for the third time this year, but is just the boost they need to keep their sights set on better times ahead.

“We try to be as philosophical as we can about the pandemic”, says Hannah.

“It’s a tough year for all of us in the hospitality industry but it’s also completely out of our control and so we take each week as it comes and do our best to focus on the positives, of which there are many. And even when we can’t open to guests there is never a shortage of jobs to keep us busy in this big 300 year old house.”

Paddy is also a musician and will be using his newfound extra time out of the kitchen to finish his latest album.

Roundwood is an 18th century Irish Country House set at the foot of the Slieve Bloom mountains, known for its’ pretty architecture, an impressive Library of Civilisation and “singing chef.” Of course singing to his dinner guests is no longer permitted but Paddy looks forward to the day he can reinstate the 5th course - a song - to the dining experience at Roundwood.