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Lisloughrey Lodge, Cong, County Mayo 

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The Quay
Cong , County Mayo
Tel: 353 94 954 5400
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From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:

On a ten-acre site overlooking the gorgeous Lough Corrib, this 112-year-old lodge (formerly the home of the gamekeeper for next-door Ashford Castle) has been transformed into a hip combination of country house and design hotel. The lodge itself contains the reception area as well as the restaurant and bar, while the 50 modern rooms and suites are arranged around a rear courtyard. The cavernous rooms combine practical layouts with bold furniture, floral-print wallpaper, padded leather headboards, and imaginative lighting; the rain showers are sublime. The communal areas in the lodge are even more daring, with acres of sleek wooden floors, velvet couches, and a slightly kitsch use of red and black. Wooden shelves in the hallway containing books, board games, and Wellington boots lend a homey touch. The upstairs restaurant, Salt, offers stunning views of the Lisloughrey Quay and food to match. The service is laid-back but intuitive; this is an impressive operation, let down only by the inadequate spa.

—2008 Hot List

When to go: Year-round; winters are surprisingly mild, and nearby Connemara is better without the tourist hordes of summer.

Which room to book: Take a Lakeview Suite with a balcony, to make the most of the location.

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