Beautiful surroundings and impeccable details at Dromoland Castle
Who wouldn’t be excited to spend the night in a real castle? We’d looked forward to this part of our tour package to Ireland. Dromoland Castle, from what we could see, appeared to be exactly what you think of when you think “castle.” Dromoland Castle is nestled into a picturesque landscape with beautiful and extensive grounds. The castle itself is replete with turrets, ramparts, and luxurious appointments. We had very high expectations. Dromoland Castle exceeded every single one!
Dromoland Castle has a customer service ethic that should be bottled and sold. From the moment we arrived, it was easy to forget that we were “normal people.” Tom, the doorman, knew exactly who we were and what to do with us. From that moment, we were transported into a kind of parallel existence. At check-in, we were delighted to learn that a room upgrade awaited. Really? Us? Yes, really!
Situated next to the Queen Anne Suite, our spacious room was beautifully appointed. Each of the queen beds was dressed in fine Irish linens with feather pillows and duvets. Our luxurious bathroom featured a soaking tub, heated towels, toiletries displayed in crystal dishes, and thick terry robes with satin collar and cuffs. There was even a pair of slippers for each of us. Pete was overjoyed to see that there was an American-style electric socket to recharge our electronics. Why should we have to bother with a converter, indeed?
Our windows overlooked Dromoland’s serene lake. We were surprised to see a little gift on the chairside table. There was a sweet note from the staff member, a friend of a friend, who had arranged for our upgrade. The lovely box revealed an assortment of artisan chocolates. We felt really special! It took approximately 3 minutes to get used to all this pampering.
An early evening walk around the castle grounds allowed us to take in the beautiful surroundings. Dromoland Castle has its own golf club and course, along with an event center, where there was a fine antiques show the day we visited. At the lakeshore, you could while away time in one of the traditional rowboats, or arrange for some fishing equipment. Of special interest to us was the falconry program; you could participate as a spectator or one-on-one with an estate falconer.
Formal afternoon tea was just finishing up when we headed into the bar area. Our bartender ordered fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice for my cocktail, which was delivered by a smiling server. Dromoland Castle staff dress in crisp black, the men in tails and the women with starched white linen aprons. The service response is the perfect mix of friendly, unobtrusive deference without devolving into the obsequious.
Because we were quite tired, we decided we’d eat dinner in our room. Of course it arrived with a stunning presentation, with silver accoutrements, fine monogrammed china, crisply ironed linen napkins, and white-gloved set-up. This was all starting to feel like a Downton Abbey experience for us.
Then came a knock at the door. I opened it to two smiling housemaids who were there to perform our evening bed service. They closed the window draperies (presumably to ward off any chill), turned back the bed coverlets, inspected the bath for any forthcoming needs, and replenished our bedside tables with crystal water glasses and individual chocolates. Sweet dreams came quickly, nestled as we were in clouds of eiderdown.
The next morning, we made our way downstairs with our Irish Times newspaper, which had been hung on our door inside a monogrammed bag. Our table was set with a traditional butler’s precision. There were individual monogrammed china coffee pots, toast points protected on their rack in a folded linen cosset, and fresh flowers. The breakfast room was graced with ancestral portraits, gleaming mantel décor, and authentic wallpaper and draperies.
Dromoland Castle is known for its menus. The breakfast buffet tables were bountifully appointed with fresh yogurt, expansive assortments of fruit and breads, cereals, juices, cheeses, meats and pastries. Our egg dishes were prepared to order and delivered exactly when we’d finished our first course. We could have lingered at our breakfast all day long. We did for quite a while, finishing our newspaper, replenishing our coffee and nibbling at this and that.
All too soon, our amazing stay came to a close, and we had to take leave of Dromoland Castle. I found myself fantasizing about living there permanently. What a life it would be! If you’re visiting Ireland, we highly recommend you consider a stay. Even if it’s only one night, it does a body good to be treated like royalty.