Set amongst an astounding estate at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, Ballyfin is an impeccably restored regency mansion originally built in the 1820s by Sir Charles Coote. Ballyfin prides itself on 5 star service with the utmost privacy for guests. With only 15 rooms on the 600 acre property, it isn’t hard to feel as though you have the run of the grounds. Extensive formal and natural gardens original to the property create picture-perfect picnic vistas, a 28 acre lake is ideal for scenic rowboat excursions, and carriage rides through the fields whisk visitors back in time. Butlers are on-hand to escort guests from the marble drive and through the Italian mosaic entrance hall to their chambers. The décor recalls the mansion’s grand beginnings with canopied, four poster beds fit for royalty, traditional tapestry-covered or papered walls, and period portraits that hang above marble mantles. Evening drinks are served in the library to a live harpist and roaring fire. The multicourse meals are simple but exquisite, featuring fruits and vegetables grown in the Ballyfin vineyards (guests may choose to pick their own) and local game. In designing the hotel the intent was to give visitors the impression of being the Cootes’ esteemed houseguests—the feeling the Cootes had just left the room before you walked in. With an air of familiar luxury throughout, the hotel’s owners have certainly succeeded in doing so.