Ballyfin Demesne in Laois is named on ‘top 10’ list – by prestigious Travel + Leisure magazine

Conor Ganly


Conor Ganly


Ballyfin Demesne has been named on the prestigious ‘top 10’ list of resort hotels in the UK and Ireland, in the annual reader survey of the popular US travel magazine, Travel + Leisure.

The Laois hotel came in second behind Ashford Castle in Co Mayo. Ballyfin scored 94.48 out of 100 just behind Ashford Castle 95.52.

Tourism Ireland says that every year, Travel + Leisure asks its almost 5 million readers to weigh in on their favourite hotels, cities, travel providers and more, in its annual World’s Best Awards. The magazine has unveiled the results of its 2020 survey, including its list of the top resort hotels in the UK and Ireland. 

In all, an incredible eight luxury Irish hotels made it onto the ‘top 10’ list. The others included: Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa, Sheen Falls Lodge, the K Club, Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, Dromoland Castle and Adare Manor also featuring.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland welcomed the awards.

“I am delighted to see eight of our fantastic resort hotels appear in the prestigious Travel + Leisure readers’ survey. I would like to congratulate all eight properties – it is truly another well-deserved accolade. Our industry has been one of the hardest hit by COVID-19, so this accolade is extremely welcome, as we look to the future and plan for the recovery of overseas tourism,” he said.

This year’s World’s Best Awards survey closed on March 2, just before Covid-19 lockdown.

The magazine outlined the background to the awards.

"The results reflect our readers’ experiences before the pandemic, but we hope that this year’s honorees will inspire your trips to come — whenever they may be.

"Visitors head to the great castle hotels of Ireland and Great Britain looking to unwind in the quiet of pastoral surroundings. But these sprawling properties, many of which are former private residences, offer something more than the opportunity to decompress. The U.K. and Ireland’s grand manor houses deliver a chance to escape into the past, to immerse oneself in the fine craftsmanship and well-honed design of earlier centuries, and to come face-to-face with history," it says.

Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.

These hotels distinguish themselves for their long-standing connection to the land on which they were built. 

Ballyfin Demense opened in May 2011 as a 5-star country house hotel after an extensive multi-million euro renovation. 

With only twenty rooms for the 614-acre estate, the former secondary school and before that the home of the Coote family has just 20 bedrooms.