When Ballyfin Demesne opened in May last year it was a result of Fred Krehbiel’s 10 year project of creating a world class hotel experience.
I arrived in Portlaoise Station fromwhere Ballyfin picked me up and I arrived to a very impressive welcome where 5 staffs was standing outside to welcome me.
Ballyfin is a 600 acre estate and the hotel building used to be a school before being transformed into a hotel. The building is very beautiful and the first impression of the inside was very impressive before I was escorted straight to the room.
Ballyfin has a total of 15 rooms which all are individuel designed. I stayed in The Marquis de Massigny De La Pierre Room which had classical music when entering the room. It was very impressive in every way, but quite small in size. Beautiful designed, very comfortable bed, flatscreen Tv, beautiful views, free-standing bathtub and great products called Voya. I only had one problem with the room. The noise level. I could hear people talking in the room downstairs and Ballyfin informed me they haven’t received any complains about noise before, but will look at it with great concern.
The service level was overall great. I loved the fact that they try to get as many local staffs as possible as I mainly find foreigners in the other hotels in Ireland. They were very good and helpful, but some needs training to reach the level expected in a place with Ballyfin’s ambitions.
The food was a great experience and up to the standards of Relais&Chateaux. Great ingredients and they grow a lot of it themself and they try to have as many local ingredients as they possibly can. The service in the restaurant was of great standard and the Belgian Food&Beverage manager as very kind. Most hotels of this size won’t have all the facilities of a 5-star hotel, but Ballyfin does. A beautiful designed spa with indoor swimming pool, but I missed spa facilities. The gym was updated with latest technology and a pleasure to use.
Overall a fantastic experience. An incredible mansion and a result of 10 years hard work. Well done, the service can still be better, but definitely one of the best places to stay in Europe.
My opinion: Fantastic experience.