We arrived at Adare Manor in the early afternoon and, of course, our room was ready. In fact, we had been upgraded to a stateroom! I cannot stress enough how completely over-whelmed we were by the sheer beauty and splendour of this hotel. And not just in our gorgeous room, that oozed taste, grace and opulence, but in every fibre of every nook and cranny of every space, in every staff member and service on offer.
One of the most wonderful things about Adare Manor is that the staff treat every person who walks through the door as though they know you, as though you live like that everyday, and that makes the experience so very memorable, almost a once in an lifetime moment, but one that you will be determined to repeat!
Our corner stateroom was on the top floor of the old manor house, and after Neil had carried our bags up the three flights of stairs and left us with our jaws agape, we settled in by doing several laps of our stateroom, squeaking out exclamations of inarticulate noise! We could see the 18th hole of the golf course from our bathroom window – actually, THREE neo-gothic windows that are part of the original architecture of the manor. And this bathroom is the largest I have EVER seen!
After managing to affect a calm demeanour, we reluctantly left the room to explore the rest of the manor. Food was calling (it was 2pm, and we hadn’t had any lunch!), so we made our way to the drawing room and library where lunch was still being served (or high tea, if we preferred). We selected two elegant wingback chairs in the library with views of the garden and the prettily sculpted box hedge in the shape of a Celtic cross, and ordered champagne (of course!) and carrot and coriander soup. Delicious and light – didn’t want to spoil our appetites for our extensive dinner by chef Mark Donohue (and it’s ALWAYS the right time for champagne! – this one was a de Venoge).
At 3pm daily there are historical tours of the house, and we jumped at the opportunity to learn more about this stunning building. Neil was our tour guide; his patter was informative and his lovely manner so helpful and obliging with our many questions. We were shown the Presidential Suite (on the website as Lady Caroline’s room), which used to be a private dining room, so the ornate ceiling is quite spectacular. But it was not as fabulous as the Dunraven Stateroom – its lush red velvet furnishings were quite divine, and the dark oak carved four-poster bed screamed royalty . . . or a least celebrity (Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones have stayed there!).
The sun decided to grace us with her presence so we took a turn about the grounds. We explored the rose garden, with the immaculately pruned bushes, covered in young shoots in preparation for their nurturing of buds, planted in smooth, graceful lines, echoing the form and symmetry of every aspect of the grand house.
Dinner was wonderful. Our maître d’, Guillaume, and waitress, Theresa, were perfect in their ministering to our every desire – including substituting the ever present Irish potato with some lightly steamed green vegetables. Nothing was too much trouble! Check out the very detailed menu on the website: www.adaremanor.com
After dinner, we managed to climb the three flights of stairs back to our stateroom, with the hand-carved gargoyles watching benignly from the balustrades. We both slept like babes, the result of a magnificent meal and a very comfortable bed.
Breakfast was a similarly lush affair to that of dinner – ample cold buffet selections (including oodles of mini pastries, that were so small that, surely, they couldn’t hurt, could they??), and a menu of hot dishes for all tastes for the chef to whip up in the kitchen.
This was a very special experience, and it exceeded all of our expectations. I dearly hope to have the opportunity to visit Adare Manor again!