Friday, 02 June 2023

Carton House, Fairmont celebrates milestone

Carton House, Fairmont celebrates milestone
Celebrating its second birthday as a Fairmont managed resort, general manager Martin Mangan feels incredibly lucky to work in this exquisite location. “It’s such a relaxed and peaceful environment. I drive in every day and have to pinch myself. It’s just incredible that we get to work here and our guests get to stay here. And I always say to our team that we're the custodians, just looking after this beautiful, resort estate while trying to be as effective as we possibly can. There are so few Palladian mansions that are open to the public in a way that Carton House is, where you can come and visit and stay and experience it. Ordinarily, the closest you can often get in these buildings is from behind a velvet rope.”

(The only velvet rope guests will find here is in the beautiful, temperature-controlled Chinese Boudoir, Queen Victoria's bedroom, where the original hand-drawn papyrus wallpaper from China is too delicate to touch.)

Bringing a new hotel to market with a familiar name presented exciting challenges, as Carton House, Fairmont changed up a gear, repositioning itself as a new five-star offering. “We’ve got two very strong brands: Carton House is very well known in Ireland and was probably better-known for golf than maybe as a leisure destination. Fairmont’s values and brand DNA resonated too. When you look at the type of properties that they have around the world they're very much heritage properties and iconic buildings that evoke a very strong sense of memory. There's such a great history here and we’ve found a brand that embraces that.”

Guests who stayed in Carton House prior to 2021 will find a very different hotel today.

“Back then, you saw this beautiful Palladian mansion but much of the guest experience was spent in contemporary surroundings. Unless you were attending an event or a wedding, you didn't get to stay in the beautiful manor house or experience what it was like to dine in those spaces,” Martin explains. Happily the new owner, architects and Fairmont set about changing that, ensuring every guest gets to enjoy this amazing house. “So we flipped all the dining back into the manor house, from The Morrison Room, arguably the country’s most beautiful dining room, to Kathleen’s Kitchen, which was the manor’s original kitchen, complete with beautiful old ovens. Even if you’re not having dinner in The Morrison Room you still get to enjoy breakfast there the next day.”

Sympathetic to the original design, much research was conducted into the materials, paint, patterns and wallpapers of the time. The result is an astonishing space, rich with historic detail and period opulence. “Now there’s a real connection between the old and the new, particularly the new entrance, the new foyer, the lobby, and how they connect to some of the formal spaces.” Carton House, Fairmont still has a smart modern extension, which has been refurbished in a classical style and is discreetly set into a wooded area. The manor house offers 18 magnificent suites, creating a hotel within a hotel that promises an elevated experience with butler service, a house manager and larger suites. The atmospheric Whiskey Library and Duke’s Rest offer exclusive whiskey and wine tastings in the original house too.

Carton House, Fairmont now has three unique dining options, including the formal Morrison Room, which is proudly recommended in the Michelin Guide 2023, the casual Kathleen’s Kitchen and relaxed Carriage House, a gastro bar in the courtyard. Constantly evolving, the courtyard stables also house The Pantry café and a brand new ice-cream parlour in The Old Stable. Afternoon tea, a Carton House tradition, is served in some of the grandest settings imaginable, from the glittering Gold Salon and elegant Drawing Room, to the manicured Rose Garden on fine days. Tying in with the hotel's second birthday celebrations, the talented pastry team has just launched Celebrate with Cake, meaning anyone can order a special occasion bespoke cake for their private event.

With two challenging golf courses, Carton House, Fairmont attracts local golfers and stay-to-play guests. Others come for the resort’s wellbeing credentials, which include an impressive swimming pool and spa housed in a beautiful 18th century mill building. “We are very focused on wellness here,” Martin explains, “From the spa to the food and the nature seekers who come to enjoy our vast estate and its wildlife.” With 1,100 acres including wild wooded areas, rolling grasslands and meandering rivers, it’s a magical habitat for birds and animals, including deer, foxes, badgers, squirrels and hares.

Families love exploring the marked trails by foot or bicycle, with swimming, including a kids’ pool, kayaking, tennis, picnics, horse-riding, clay pigeon shooting and archery all ready to help make special memories together. Exciting plans are afoot for new family activities this summer too, including junior golf camps.

“We love to welcome families here!” Martin declares, “Just as we love to welcome the community. It’s great to see locals taking their morning walk on the estate, meeting for coffee, dining with their families or celebrating a special occasion here.”

And with its own birthday in focus, it’s hard to imagine a finer place to celebrate than Carton House, Fairmont.

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