Iconic Ashford Castle set for facelift to mark 75th anniversary

The iconic Ashford Castle is preparing for its 75th anniversary next year – by undergoing a major refurbishment that will restore the historic hotel to its former glory.

But the Castle’s new owners going further than just planning a tasteful facelift – phase one will see the renovation and redesign of 30 guest rooms as well as the addition of a cinema and a billiard room.

And the second phase includes possible plans for a swimming pool and a wellness area, but a timescale for that work has yet to be finalised.

The revamp of the world-famous hotel – purchased last year by the Red Carnation Hotel Group – has already started and will be ongoing for two years. The hotel will be closed from January until March 2014 to facilitate some of the more extensive work.

Ashford Castle General Manager Niall Rochford said he was looking forward to the new changes at the hotel.

“We have some nice, interesting plans for the castle. Our new owners Bea and Stanley Tollman are wonderful. They have 60 years of experience in the hotel business, they know the industry and also what it takes to really create a top level successful hotel,” he said.

“All renovation works will be done very sensitively and the furniture still left from the time when the Guinness family lived here, will remain. The new owners are very careful with the history and heritage of the castle and also understand that it has to be of time and place,” he added.

The new owners have already guaranteed the jobs of the existing staff – but Mr Rochford said they also had plans to increase the number of employees into the future.

“In the previous environment, having gone through receivership, nothing was secure. It was a huge relief for everybody employed at Ashford that the hotel is now debt free. Mr and Mrs Tollman will look at Ashford in the long term not as developers but as hoteliers,” he said.

There are also plans for improving the grounds and gardens at the premises.

“What we would like to achieve is to bring the grounds back to where Lady Ardilaun had wanted them to be. Ashford is very special to us; therefore, we will pay greater attention to preserving the unique, old trees and plants in the castle garden, as well as grow our own vegetables on castle grounds,” revealed the General Manager.

The aim is to give Ashford a new look while still keeping its original charm. Guests can look forward to more comfort, new interior design and ‘tiny nice touches’ combined with the old castle feeling and history.

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