KENMARE, Ireland — Step out the front door of the five-star Hotel Park Kenmare and you’re in this County Kerry heritage town famed for its stone circle, handmade lace, and traditional pubs. Step out the back, and descend through gardens to wooded paths lacing Kenmare Bay’s shoreline. Staying in this Victorian-era hotel evokes a gentler time, but not a stuffy one. Guest rooms are spacious and dressed in rich fabrics and fine linens. Georgian and Victorian antiques, rich tapestries, and fine artwork decorate the hallways. A suit of armor guards a stairwell landing, a cheery red roadster tricycle welcomes guests at the front door, and fireplaces warm the public rooms, where afternoon tea is served. Victorian grace is balanced by contemporary chic. A sleek addition houses an indoor lap pool, fitness rooms, and the tony Samas Spa, a destination in itself.
Credit Francis Brennan, who purchased the property in 1986, for elevating it to its current status with the help of his brother, managing director John Brennan. Their success has made them celebrities. When not greeting and pampering guests, they share their innkeeping Midas touch on “At Your Service,” a popular Irish TV series on which they advise innkeepers on how to improve their properties. They keep nipping and tucking the Park Kenmare too , earning more accolades, including Relais & Châteaux status. From $228 per person, double occupancy, including breakfast.
HOTEL PARK KENMARE Shelbourne Street, Kenmare, Ireland. 011-353-64-664-1200, www.parkkenmare.com.