Ballyvolane House – Castelyons, County Cork
Imagine a grand, Italianate, Irish Georgian country house; gorgeous but lived-in and run as a guest house by its old-school owners since the mid-1980s. Imagine their son growing up there, then leaving to work at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong and later as general manager at Babington House. Imagine him returning home to take over the reins and run the hotel his way. You are imagining Ballyvolane. Filled with antiques, oozing atmosphere, it’s also – thanks to deft touches from Justin Green and his wife Jenny – somewhere that’s cool and stylish too. It’s that hard-to-achieve ideal: a place where guests can unwind but feel glamorous and special too. There are Persian rugs, antiques, quirky retro tables, roaring fires and a lavishly stocked honesty bar, with Justin’s own delicious gin, Bertha’s Revenge, which is made from local cows’ milk, water from the hotel’s well and foraged botanicals, taking pride of place. The bedrooms are lovely, and the food – eaten communally unless you specify otherwise (you won’t) – delicious. Breakfast is whenever you want. There’s glamping too, in the lovely gardens, and fishing.
Doubles from €200
+353 (0)25 36349; ballyvolanehouse.ie