aerial view of grand irish estate hotel with palace-like main building set back from a pond
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Ballyfin Demesne

There might not be a more luxurious estate-hotel in Ireland than Ballyfin Demesne, located about a 90-minute drive from central Dublin.

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Adare Manor

Adare Manor is an impressive manor house has been brilliantly transformed into a gracious castle property with five-star amenities. Read more.

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Ashford Castle

Located in the small town of Cong, the 13th-century Ashford Castle is one of Ireland’s finest castle properties with a host of on-site amenities. 

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Grey room at Ballymaloe House, Cork, Ireland

Ballymaloe House

Ballymaloe offers an incredibly unique experience, as it is both a quintessential Irish country farmhouse and home to a world-renowned cooking school. In 1964, Myrtle Allen, started a revolution in the Irish culinary world when she opened the restaurant at Ballymaloe House. Her home soon became a hotel to accommodate guests that came to experience her food and life on the farm. Years later, Darina Allen, Myrtle’s daughter-in-law, opened the Ballymaloe Cookery School with her brother Rory and today, Ballymaloe is well known both for the quality of their teachings and the vision of both Darina and Myrtle.

Rooms are cozy and decorated in light, soothing colors with floral fabrics and wallpapers and comfortable beds. Visitors will feel like part of the family and food lovers will appreciate the opportunity to see the property and experience the farm to table connection first hand. In addition to the farm and cooking school, there is a beach nearby so guests can see where the seafood comes from each day as fishermen arrive with their catch. Guests can also learn how to make bread, taste wine and collect eggs or enjoy a tour of the grounds, yoga or a massage. The town of Shanagarry is nearby, where guests can go on a cliff walk, go fishing or horseback riding and visit the nearby Ballycotton island and lighthouse.

Suite at Ballynahinch Castle Hotel and Estate, Ireland

Ballynahinch Castle Hotel and Estate

Set a few miles back from the Connemara coast, Ballynahinch is a wonderful mix between a castle hotel and family-run hotel. With just 40 rooms, the property feels like a cozy estate and staff is able to provide a high level of attention and service to its guests. Rooms are decorated in the style of a country sporting estate with beautiful curtains and fabric headboards reflecting the warm tones of the Connemara landscape. The Castle is comprised of an original building and two riverside wings, which boast the best views over the river below.

The list of activities is so extensive that guests could stay on-property the duration of their stay without getting bored. Highlights include fly-fishing, shooting, cycling, nature walks and sea experiences. In addition, Connemara National Park is located just 30 minutes away, where guests can experience the region’s extensive bogs, grasslands and woodlands, as well as the Twelve Bens mountain range. The property has two dining experiences to choose from: a formal dining room and the Fisherman’s pub, which highlights the area’s local seafood.

Exterior of Hotel

Carton House, A Fairmont Managed Hotel

Carton House fits in nicely with Ireland's collection of historic mansion hotels. Built in 1739 for the Fitzgerland family, this Maynooth property was almost burned down in 1923 by the IRA. (The story goes: when a local unit marched to Carton with the intention to destroy it, a member of the Fitzgerald family brought a large painting of Lord Edward Fitzgerald—a lauded Irish patriot—to the front door, effectively stopping the unit in their tracks.) Beyond Lords and Earls, Queen Victoria is also said to have stayed twice, and guests who join the morning history tour will be able to see the carefully kept room she stayed in—still outfitted with the tiny, secret door used by her attendants (who were not permitted to use the main door). In more recent years, Carton House has hosted a variety of other notable guests from Princess Grace of Monaco to popular Irish rugby teams.

There are two distinct sections: the restored Manor House and the Garden Wing. The Manor House transports guests back in time with its focus on ultra luxury and historical restoration, while the Garden Wing is the low-rise 21st century extension and better suited for shorter, perhaps more corporate, stays. Between the two buildings, there are 169 guest bedrooms (18 in The Manor House and 151 in The Garden Wing). The Manor House has a more exclusive feel within the larger hotel and guest rooms have dark floorboards, original fireplaces and textured wallpaper that balance ample character and sleekness.

As a relatively new hotel continuing to build its footing in the luxury space, Carton House is likely to continue growing in top quality amenities and service. While still working out some minor hurdles in their current service delivery, Carton House has already collected an impressive array of staff—and some particularly standout service from team members such as Lochlan, the concierge.

On property, guests can find a variety of restaurants ranging in formality. Start the day with breakfast in Kathlen’s Kitchen (one of the original kitchens of the house) while surrounded by old cast-iron stoves, white tiles and copper pots. Pop in for lunch at The Carriage House for a hearty menu of casual comfort food. For fine dining, visit the The Morrison Room—one of the most beautiful rooms on the estate—and possibly one of Ireland’s grandest dining rooms. For lighter fare, make a reservation for afternoon tea in the Gold Room and Drawing Room or visit the Courtyard Bar. For drinks, sample whiskey in The Whiskey Library or head to The Dukes Rest for some wine.

Visitors interested in Ireland’s equestrian culture or Gaelic sports like rugby and golfing will enjoy their time in County Kildare. There are two 18-hole championship golf courses on property—the first is a links-style course designed by Colin Montgomerie and the second is a parkland course by Mark O’Meara. Only 30 minutes away from the capital, guests can visit Dublin without sacrificing the activities of a sprawling 1,100 acre estate, including boat trips, cycling, fishing, picnics, trails and more.

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Suite at Cliff House Hotel, Ireland

Cliff House Hotel

The Cliff House Hotel is located in the small town of Ardmore along the eastern coast of Ireland. Originally opened in the 1930’s as a seaside resort for Ireland’s most prestigious families, the hotel was fully rebuilt and renovated in 2008. All 39 rooms and suites command breathtaking views over Ardmore bay and most have terraces. Traditional Donegal tweed is used in a fun color palate consisting of bright fuchsias, blues, turquoises and purples. Every room features work by Irish artisans and artists.

The property is great for both couples and families who would like to experience the pace of a quaint seaside town. In summer, the property is within walking distance to four beaches and also sits at the head of St. Declans cliff walk, a trail that is over 400 years old and wraps along the coast. Another of the property’s highlights is their spa, complete with an indoor swimming pool, outdoor Jacuzzi and four treatment rooms. The area is perfect for surfing, kayaking, diving and boat excursions. The main restaurant is both Michelin-starred and Relais and Châteaux and highlights the area’s fresh seafood and produce. The property is unique and the staff exudes the warm Irish hospitality for which the country is famous.

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Dromoland Castle

Indagare reviews Dromoland Castle, a grand castle property, set on a scenic lake, combines lavish public spaces with elegant yet modern guest rooms.

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Bedroom at Gregans Castle Hotel, Ireland

Gregans Castle Hotel

Owned and operated by the Haden family for two generations, Gregans is a true gem in the Irish hospitality industry. Simon Haden focuses on the day-to-day management of the property while his wife, Frederieke McMurray, verses the interior decor. There are no TVs on property as the focus is on the natural surroundings and environment.

The common spaces are inviting and the Corkscrew bar is the perfect place to end a long day of activity. The fine dining restaurant is well-known as one of Ireland’s best restaurants (also see Ballymaloe House). Each room at the property is unique and feels like a friend’s cozy guest room. The furniture was handpicked by the owners from their travels around the world, and rooms vary so that some have garden terraces while others have views over the limestone ridges of the Burren all the way out to sea.

While the house would be the ideal place to lounge all day, the Burren is such a beautiful part of Ireland that guests find themselves out and about for the entire day. Guests can take a ferry from Ballyvaughan to the Aran Islands to see the many celtic churches and experience the island’s unique culture. Other activities include a visit to the Cliffs of Moher, surfing, paddle boarding, sea kayaking, walking excursions and jigging to traditional music in the village of Doolin.

Suite at Hayfield Manor Hotel, Ireland

Hayfield Manor Hotel

Built in the 1990’s by the Scally family, Hayfield Manor feels like a family home in the center of a bustling city. The property itself is only a 10-minute walk from the city center, making bars and restaurants (as well as the English Market) easily accessible. Cork city is young and bustling, and thanks to bars like Arthur Mayne’s and restaurants like Les Gourmandises, it is a top destination for foodies.

The property has 88 rooms, which are decorated with neutral tones, antiques and comfortable beds. Most of the accommodations are located in the hotel’s Manor building, while the rest are located in the side wing. The common spaces are packed and buzzy from morning to night with guests enjoying afternoon tea or pre-dinner cocktails. Hayfield is a wonderful place to come home to after a long day exploring the city of Cork, Kinsale and further afield destinations like Shanagarry and Midleton.

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InterContinental Dublin

Sometimes there is a perk to staying on the outskirts of all the action: In Dublin’s South Georgian Quarter, there’s a calming atmosphere that feels a world away from the energetic buzz of Dublin’s more central quarters. And due to the number of international embassies who call this neighborhood home, the area is packed with some of the best restaurants in town. If you do need to get into city center to do some sightseeing, it’s just a five to 10 minute drive away.

Like most luxury hotels in Dublin, you can’t expect modern, high-design interiors at the InterContinental. But what you can expect is thoughtful service for which the brand is known. The spacious rooms are done up with traditional design flourishes like thick floral-printed curtains, patterned carpets, antique-looking wood chests and mood-setting still life artwork. But each room is always presented in an elegant, refined way and complemented with some of the best beds you’ll find in any hotel, and expansive bathrooms with marble tubs. There’s enough space to let all your products loose if the provided L’Occitane toiletries aren’t to your liking.

There are five food and beverage outlets here to satisfy all cravings. And the spa, in addition to providing some of the best treatments in the city, has a great indoor lap pool and offers the only separate men’s and women’s saunas and steam rooms in Dublin.

The hotel has also recently unveiled The Tiny Gift Shop in collaboration with local boutique Makers & Brothers, featuring a curated inventory of Irish-made products with modern, design-driven twists. It’s absolutely worth stopping by before leaving to pick up a souvenir like a gorgeous, plush wool scarf from Donegal.

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Aerial View - K Club, Dublin, Ireland

K Club

Hugh Barton, an Irishman famous for his vineyards in Bordeaux, built his family a French château-style home outside of Dublin in 1832. About 150 years later, another wealthy visionary, Michael Smurfit of Monaco, bought the property and turned it into a hotel and golf resort. Countless European Cups and one Ryder Cup later, the K Club is today one of Ireland's leading luxury golf resorts.

An expansion in 2015 doubled the number of guest rooms to 137, which feature views of the manicured formal gardens and River Liffey (the same that runs through Dublin) or of the award-winning golf courses. Décor is old fashioned, even in the new rooms, with floral wallpaper, canopied beds and chintz draperies and upholstery. There are crown moldings, rich wooden wardrobes and gilded mirrors, and some specialty suites have four-poster beds. But despite being distinctly old-school in look, everything is very comfortable, especially the beds with duck down duvets and 300-thread-count sheets. The spacious bathrooms feature separate showers and deep soaking tubs and include Avoya toiletries, products made from hand-collected seaweed from the country's wild western coast.

The property is known for its Arnold Palmer–designed championship golf courses, the Palmer Course (which hosted the Ryder Cup in 2006) and the esteemed Smirfit links course. Plans are underway to build an academy for students of all ages and abilities.

Also on offer are amenities and activities like horseback riding, clay pigeon shooting, fishing, tennis and archery. The hotel is home to extensive art, wine and whiskey collections, which can each be toured with a knowledgeable guide. There is a 20,000-square-foot spa including an indoor pool, Pilates studio, seven treatment rooms and a juice bar. Offerings for the littlest guests, too, are extensive, with a Victorian walled garden, kids' room, movie theater and a golf program for children.

There are multiple restaurants on property, including the fine dining Byerley Turk, which is named for a famous Irish racehorse, and River Room, serving breakfast with stunning garden views. The more casual Legends Clubhouse is a popular spot for lunch or dinner, offering burgers and pub-like fare. The new Media Puzzle Room is the place for a pint of Guinness or a cocktail.

Straffan House, a separate ten-bedroom villa, is a breathtaking property available for rent through the hotel and comes staffed with a private chef, concierge and house manager. Décor here is similar to that in the hotel, with a formal entryway, classic dining room and grand staircase, but the home feels like a private manor house, with a living room full of comfortable sofas for plopping down, and a big, flatscreen TV. The subterranean level boasts a movie theater with Bose surround sound technology and reclining chairs as well as an indoor pool, spa, gym, games room and wine cellar.

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Lough Eske Castle

Lough Eske Castle, which dates to the mid-19th century, has long been Donegal’s only five-star hotel option. Accessible by a forested drive that rings the picturesque Lough Eske, the turreted castle seems to be from the pages of a storybook. The interiors are gracious, with a large oak staircase leading to the castle suites, and grand common spaces decorated with plush velvet furnishings, candelabras and peaked gothic windows. This setting is made even cozier by roaring fireplaces.

The 94 rooms are spread between the castle, annexes connected to the castle and six detached garden suites. The top accommodations are the four suites located within the castle; each is elegant and comfortable, with red and gold silk accents and antique furniture. Garden suites are cozy and airy with sprawling marble bathrooms, and are set just a few steps from the main castle in the flowering gardens. The spacious Presidential Suite offers private tower access and butler service.

Cedar Grill restaurant is famed for being one of the best in Donegal, and the food here is artistically and deliciously prepared with ingredients sourced from the Wild Atlantic Way, the 1,500-mile route that winds down Ireland’s western coast. There is also an abundant breakfast buffet, and afternoon tea can be served in the gracious living rooms. Indagare tip: Harvey’s Point, a nearby hotel and restaurant set on Lough Eske, is a good option for dinner and drinks off property, as its cuisine is excellent and live music is often performed.

Next to the castle, the serene, greenhouse-inspired spa features Yonka products and boasts multiple treatment rooms, a light-filled indoor pool and multiple hydrotherapy programs. There is also a well-equipped fitness center.

Donegal’s majestic landscapes are the true draw of the region, and Lough Eske can arrange a slew of excursions, ranging from boat charters and hikes to nighttime photography, when the Northern Lights can occasionally be captured.

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Bedroom at Marlfield House Hotel, Ireland

Marlfield House Hotel

Marlfield House Hotel may actually be the perfect Irish country house, and located just an hour and 15 minutes from Dublin, it’s great for a first or last stop on any itinerary. Owned by the Bowe family, it was turned into a hotel in 1978 and is still run by daughters Margaret and Laura. With just 19 rooms, the property is intimate and cozy. The restaurant is actually one of the focal points of the property, with produce grown on-property and with wild salmon, lamb, mussels and beef coming from local purveyors.

Of the 19 rooms, the six suites in the new wing are the best. Each is individually decorated in a traditional style with luxurious fabrics, handpicked antiques and period paintings. High ceilings are a feature of all of the ground floor suites. While staying at Marlfield, fox hunting, links and parkland golf, archery, horseback riding, beach and woodland walks are all popular activities. However, it is also a wonderful spot to simply relax and read a good book while indulging in delicious food and wine.

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Mount Juliet

Visions of grand countryside manor life are realized at Mount Juliet, an expansive 500-acre estate in southern Ireland. Here, the gracious façade is overgrown with flowering ivy, and the interiors are elegant and traditional with large windows overlooking the expansive pastures below. The manor house is stately yet welcoming, and the cozy library and impressive bar are filled with period touches like antiques, horse prints, leather accents and crystal chandeliers.

The 32 rooms and suites are accessed by a grand staircase in the center of the lobby, and range from cozy to spacious in size. Each has been recently renovated and marry historic charm with modern necessities.

The house’s main restaurant, Lady Helen, has been awarded a Michelin star for its imaginative Irish cuisine served inside a sumptuous dining room fit for the aristocratic denizens of the estate. The more casual restaurant located at the Hunter’s Yard Lodge, The Hound, serves modern renditions of classic favorites in a relaxed setting.

There is a Jack Nicklaus–designed golf course that is considered one of Europe’s best, two indoor equestrian arenas and multiple trails that wend through the scenic estate. For those looking for pampering, there is a small spa with treatment suites that is currently being revitalized. The estate is very close to the medieval town of Kilkenny and is a 40-minute drive from Waterford, the harbor-front town known for its namesake crystal and Viking history.

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Aerial View : Park Hotel Kenmare, Ireland

Park Hotel Kenmare

Owned and run by brothers, the Park Hotel Kenmare is one of the most highly revered properties in Ireland. Built in the 1800s as a stopover hotel for Dubliners heading out to the seaside, the property has retained its sense of charm through both its impeccable service and its gentle modernization of original décor and furniture. Whatever you imagine a traditional Irish Country House looking and feeling like, the Park Kenmare is that.

The Relais and Châteaux property boasts 46 charming rooms and a destination Samas spa. From the plush carpet to the woodwork to the original antiques, each and every detail has been thought out. The rooms reflect the grandness of the house and fuse timeless elegance with modern luxuries.

Guests can enjoy golf, tennis, croquet, hiking, fishing and horseback riding. As the property is near the shore, boat cruises to Kenmare bay, deep-sea diving and fishing are also available. The town of Kenmare is a highlight with more restaurants than bars and many of them noted in the Michelin Guide. Be sure to book a treatment in the spa and a meal in the restaurant as the hotel’s on-property amenities are as special as those off property.

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Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links

This large golf resort, the former home of the Jameson family, is perched above an expansive beach with beautiful views and contemporary, airy interiors.
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Rockhill House

Rockhill House is an exquisitely restored 17th-century manor house is an intimate exclusive-use retreat set in Donegal’s stunning countryside.
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Suite at  Sheen Falls Lodge, Ireland

Sheen Falls Lodge

For a small town, Kenmare has an extremely high number of Relais and Châteaux properties with both Sheen Falls and the Park Hotel Kenmare on the banks of Kenmare Bay. Sheen Falls is a quick three-minute drive from town and is a more appropriate spot for families traveling with young children. The hotel is comprised of 66 rooms (with four beautifully- appointed signature suites that are worth the splurge) and six cottages. Rooms either face Kenmare Bay or the falls, which run through the property and can be heard from rooms along the back. All have ample amounts of light and most are decorated in sunny yellows, light pinks, greens and taupes. The property has a newly renovated spa and their food program is on par with the best restaurants in town.

While the hotel offers fly-fishing, kayaking, shooting, riding and golf, guests should reserve one day for a drive to the Ring of Kerry or Berra Peninsula. Children will also love the vintage Buick that takes guests for a ride in town.

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Bedroom at The Dean, Dublin, Ireland

The Dean

The Dean Hotel, which opened in 2014, warns guests when they are booking a room about its noisy neighbors. They explain that the property is located in the heart of Dublin’s nightlife quarter, so complete silence in guest rooms cannot be guaranteed. A youthful, edgy energy pervades within as well, which boasts a prominent bar in the entryway and a neon Tracy Emin sign hanging above reception. (In bright teal it states, “I Fell in Love here.”)

The art collection throughout the hotel is impressive and quirky in equal measures, featuring mostly young, Irish artists, whose works celebrate Ireland pre- and post-Celtic Tiger, the boom years seen throughout the country in the 1990s and early 2000s. Fifty-two rooms range from tiny (the Mod Pod room can really only comfortably fit one person) to spacious, and all feature dark gray–painted walls, mid-century modern furniture and retro décor, like a bright orange, oversized desk lamp and record player with excellent vinyl collections. The minibars are of particular note, including a Smeg mini-fridge and an assortment of only-found-in-Ireland treats like prawn-flavored chips.

Sophie’s, the restaurant on the top floor, has nearly 360-degree views of the city and serves excellent Italian fare, including wood oven fired pizzas. There is no spa or gym but the hotel lends bicycles for exploring Dublin.

Terrace Lounge at The Marker Hotel, Dublin, Ireland

The Marker Hotel

If Dublin was missing something, it was a truly modern hotel. This was rectified in April 2013 when The Marker Hotel opened in the up-and-coming Docklands neighborhood after years of delays. While other properties of similar acclaim have taken great pains to create a more traditional luxury experience, The Marker took the design-forward approach. Arriving at the hotel, guests will be confronted by a checkerboard exterior that only hints at the angular, sculptural visual experience within the hotel. This property is all about Dublin of today.

Rooms are swathed in subtle grey and white textiles to anchor the dark wood furniture, cobalt blue carpeting and the occasional burst of neon. Beds are large and topped with a cozy quilt. The plain, white headboards ensure that there aren’t too many things happening at once. Beautiful marble bathrooms are stocked with Malin + Goetz products and are outfitted in black or white marble, the latter of which has better lighting. Overall, each room feels like the kind of smartly decorated space you might design for yourself.

There are plenty of out-of-room amenities here, too, including The Brasserie, a happening, light-bathed haute cuisine restaurant on the ground floor. In addition to an impressive fitness center and large indoor pool, there’s also a full-service spa with plenty of unexpected treatments like the Moor Mud Wrap, where thermal moor mud is used to brighten skin and rejuvenate weary muscles. The rooftop bar and lounge is a massively popular hangout for the millennial techies that work nearby at big-name companies like Google and Facebook.

If you’re looking to get out of the hotel, classic Dublin destinations like the National Gallery and Trinity College are a walkable distance. Or you can borrow one of the hotel's bikes and cruise around the neighborhood.

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The Merrion Hotel

A handful of meticulously designed Georgian townhouses make up The Merrion Hotel, a local Dublin icon where thoughtful service is matched by top amenities.

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Entrance at The Shelbourne, a Renaissance Hotel, Dublin, Ireland

The Shelbourne Dublin

Dublin’s 190 year-old Grand Dame is the stomping grounds of Hollywood celebrities and European royalty, who come for the exemplary service and location.

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The Westbury Hotel

The Westbury Hotel evokes modern luxury in the center of historic Dublin, located within walking distance of Trinity College and the National Museum of Ireland, as well as restaurants and shopping. Tucked off the street in a spacious entry courtyard, the hotel is an elegant oasis featuring a lobby with plush sofas, chandelier lighting, and marble floors. The 205 rooms and suites are outfitted in neutral furnishings and marble bathrooms, with chic touches like woven Irish carpets and luxurious linens. Another destination specific touch is the Irish art collection on display throughout. The rooms facing the front of the hotel have lovely city views over Grafton Street, Balfe Street and Chatham Street.

The hotel is known for its excellent dining with its signature restaurant Wilde that serves elevated Irish cuisine in elegant settings. The hotel also houses Balfe's, a casual brasserie, and the Sidecar Bar with speciality cocktails and an Art Deco vibe. The lobby often turns into buzzy lounge area, with many visitors coming in for afternoon tea or drinks. If the culinary options prove too much, there's a gym on the property as well but no spa.

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Aerial View - Trump International Doonbeg, Ireland

Trump International Doonbeg

Built in 2006 and purchased by Donald Trump in 2014, Doonbeg is located on the Atlantic coast not far from the Cliffs of Moher. There are 15 suites located in the main building, which range from one to four bedrooms with views overlooking the rolling sea and a golf course below. There are an additional six Two-bedroom townhouses adjacent to the main building that are ideal for families or groups traveling together. The suites are large with grand fireplaces and separate sitting areas along with classic wood paneling and luxe fabrics. All of the larger accommodations have a small kitchen for preparing snacks or meals for those who would rather eat in.

On property amenities include the spa, formal dining room and bar, golf shop and Trump’s Pub. The only drawback is that the property doesn't have many public spaces as a large portion of the main building is members’ only. Thus, families and groups should book the large suites, which have spacious living rooms.

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