Private Paradises: River Royalty

Returning from a day at Waterford Castle’s golf club—the only 18-hole,  championship-caliber course at a private island resort—the golfer who runs afoul of the hilly parkland terrain and subtly contoured greens notices not the brightly colored pennants atop the castle’s battlements, but the rooftop gargoyles and their mocking grins. Such a greeting, however, belies the castle’s many charms, which enable its guests to shrug off even the most dispiriting rounds.
 
Set on a 310-acre island in the Suir River, a five-minute ferry ride from Waterford, Ireland, the resort consists of the golf course and the castle, the latter of which was built in the 15th century for the Fitzgerald family, whose lords were, at the time, Ireland’s royalty in all but name. In the castle’s grand entrance, which now serves as a hotel lobby, a 25-foot vaulted ceiling towers over graceful arches and massive tapestries affixed to Portland stone walls. Standing with a glass of five-grained Irish whiskey in hand, you are inclined to follow custom and raise a toast to the founding family, whose stone-carved coat of arms holds the place of honor above the cavernous fireplace.

In the lounge adjacent to the lobby, enormous 19th-century oil paintings depict jockeys atop racehorses at full pace, and in the oak-paneled Munster Room, where dinner is served, miniature gold-shaded lamps illuminate menus well-stocked with seafood. A sweeping staircase leads to Waterford Castle’s five suites and 14 bedrooms, several of which offer views of the course from their king-size, four-poster beds. The beds are ideal spots for contemplating the next morning’s round and how perhaps the golfer, not just the gargoyles, will be grinning at the end of the day.

Location
South of Waterford, Ireland, in the Suir River. 

 

Accommodations
Five suites and 14 bedrooms with appropriately regal adornments.

Recreation
The 18-hole Waterford Castle Golf & Country Club is a two-minute stroll from the hotel. Other activities include hiking, birdwatching, tennis, and croquet.

Dining
Waterford serves full Irish breakfasts with, for the intrepid, black pudding, and seafood-centric dinners, several of which (including the broiled sea bass on a bed of soba noodles) are light enough not to interfere with an early tee time.

Worthy Diversion
Take the ferry into Waterford for a tour of the city’s crystal factory or, for a truly Irish experience, grab a pint of Guinness and try your luck at the Tramore racetrack.

Rates
From $212 to $840 per night; the castle is also available for exclusive rental for $15,000 per night.
 
+353.51.878203, www.waterfordcastle.com

FREE PREVIEW: Aman Tokyo is among Robb Report’s 2015 Best of the Best selections…
The mountainside property now has a multilevel spa and five new suites…
Be among the rare few to visit a sumo stable, or experience Kabuki and dine with the performers…
Destinations include Napa, New York, Paris, London, and Milan…
The private charter company gives passengers an unbelievable deal on holiday travel...
From romantic suites to a new restaurant, the Caribbean resort
The Irish castle unveiled a complete remodel of all 28 guestrooms in the Queen Anne wing...
The updated Southern California resort features plush new décor and state-of-the-art amenities...
For nearly $100,000 per night, guests receive exclusive access to the hotel and its amenities...
From private beach excursions to walking tours, Palazzo Margherita offers ample summer activities...