Lough Eske Castle, County Donegal
Ever dreamt of staying in a castle, your every whim catered to Dowton Abbey style? Then head to County Donegal, Ireland. Awarded the 'World's Best Luxury Hotel' for the past five years in a row, Lough Eske Castle sits on a secluded 43 acre lakeside estate overlooking the Blue Stack Mountains just outside of Donegal town. Tuxedo clad staff greet you as you pull into the grounds, eager to make your stay pleasant and fulfill any request. Although the original castle was built around 1474, the current structure was erected in the 1860s. Destroyed by fire in 1939, the castle was finally rebuilt and turned into a luxury boutique hotel in 2007, all at a cost of around €40 million. The country-style interior is dotted with numerous open fireplaces, where you can relax in one of comfortable Drawing Rooms, read in the Library, or wander into the Gallery Bar to enjoy a drink seated along the long oak bar that dominates the room or at one of the comfortable leather chairs and sofas. With just 96 rooms, you feel as if you are staying in someone's home (albeit a large but intimate one). Rainforest showers, doors that open out onto the grounds, four-poster king size beds, and a walk-in cedar closet enable you to live like Irish nobility, at least for a few days. Add on a full service spa and gourmet restaurant and you may just never want to leave. If it's any indication of the hotel's luxury status and level of service, we shared our nights at Lough Eske Castle with Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick.