Dromoland Castle Launches Dromoland Lodge

January 23rd, 2024

Dromoland Castle – the 16th-century castle-turned luxury hotel, and former ancestral home of the royal O’Brien family – has just unveiled its new Dromoland Lodge, a five-bedroom private residence set on the 18-hole golf course on the castle’s 500-acres.

A stay comes with daily breakfast – with a choice of having it delivered to the lodge or of dining at the Earl of Thomond restaurant in the castle, two golf carts for exploring the grounds, a personal residential assistant, and airport transfers. The property features a game room, boot room, parlor with fully stocked bar, private putting green, outdoor terrace and dining area, laundry service, and ample board games. For dinner, a chef is available to come prepare lavish meals on site, or guests can opt for the “crock pot” menu where a warm dinner will be waiting after a day spent exploring the Wild Atlantic Way or an afternoon Hawk Walk with resident falconer. Fun fact: the castle’s mews have been accredited by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, filled with Peregrine falcons, hawks, and owls. Guests also have access to all of the amenities of the castle, such as golf, bicycles, tennis and pickleball courts, boating, the new Castle Spa… The lodge was a former private home.

The Castle Spa opened in mid-2023, nestled within the historic stone walls and inspired by the property’s acres of manicured flower-covered grounds as well as the estate’s former chatelaine, Lady Ethel, who presided over the castle in the early 20thcentury. The reborn spa spans 320 square feet and six treatment rooms and incorporates revitalizing, science- and nature-backed therapies from three award-winning female-owned brands: celebrity-favorite skin care line Dr. Barbara Sturm (the first hotel in Ireland to offer these exclusive treatments), the plant-based Irish brand SEABODY, and the bio-nutritional British range OSKIA. Several treatments are exclusive to the hotel, including the SEABODY Beauty and Wellness Spa Experience, which harnesses the power of hardworking marine-based nutraceuticals harvested from Ireland’s Atlantic Coastline to optimize the skin’s health and vitality.

Rates start at 3,500 euro per night (approximately $3,833).

More about Dromoland Castle

If these castle walls could speak – rising from the landscapes of Ireland’s western County Clare, a fifteen-minute drive from the Shannon Airport, Dromoland Castle looks like a vision from a fairy tale. Set on 500 acres, the estate has welcomed guests like they are part of the story – and family – since the early 1960s, when the 16th-century castle, the former ancestral home of the royal O’Brien family, was converted into one of Ireland’s most acclaimed luxury hotels.

Dromoland feels like stepping back in time in just the right doses. The glorious interiors, including 97 rooms and suites, are positively regal – think chandeliers, suits of armor, drapery and silk claret wallpaper – but the property overall never feels stuffy, in large part thanks to a congenial team, many of whom have been there for decades. Thanks to the immense size of the property, days can be activity-packed, with hiking, as well as fishing and row boating in the on-property lake and such castle-appropriate options as falconry, clay pigeon shooting, fishing, horseback riding and golf. The JJ Corry experience, meanwhile, exclusive to Dromoland, takes guests to the renowned whiskey bonder for a special tour and to create a custom blend of whiskey.

The castle also caters lovingly to children, with such popular programs as “Princess for a Day” and in-room surprises. For the older set, self-care can be found at the indulgent spa and at afternoon tea in the antiques-studded Gallery, one of the castle’s most beautifully designed spaces. Dinner at the acclaimed Earl of Thomond features creative Irish cuisine, while Dromoland’s ever-popular head bartender always has something special up his sleeve, including cocktails inspired by Tarot cards and Irish mythology. The octagonally shaped room where these libations are served beside a large fireplace was once the O’Brien family’s library – just another one of Dromoland’s special corners where past and present beautifully meet.

A central location, fifteen minutes from the Shannon International Airport, makes Dromoland a fantastic base for exploring western Ireland, including such sights as the Wild Atlantic Way, the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren.

Images of Dromoland Castle: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/ga1r0pstkm6n7dbi3pq5z/h?rlkey=g4uifg4hxbzw2ndxqmcd6gmpg&dl=0

Images of the Lodge: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/8hctf152umk4hslwfrysr/h?rlkey=qlsd30lv50wbbhltjplp66ilq&dl=0

Palm Beach: What’s New 2024

January 10th, 2024

With winter in full swing, travelers as well as cultural and culinary institutions have started flocking south to America’s favorite winter destination – Palm Beach. With new restaurants, an immersive creative arts scene spanning from ornate Gilded Age décor to contemporary pop-art, and a series of festivals and events, below is a preview of what’s new and notable in Palm Beach this season as well as the latest from White Elephant Palm Beach – the must-stay boutique hotel on island.

Palm Beach’s New Wave: A Cultural Renaissance

America’s first resort town is trending again. Palm Beach has been a favorite getaway for the jet set since the Gilded Age thanks to its sunny weather, miles of beaches, palm tree-lined streets and designer boutiques. Now, the resort town is beckoning a younger, fashion-forward crowd. Urbanites have relocated from major cities and a flurry of restaurants, galleries and boutiques have followed – reinvigorating the town with a chic new vibe while still retaining the island’s glamour of its past era. Recent New York culinary transplants include Harry’s, Adrienne’s and Felice at The Square in West Palm Beach, while 2024 will welcome Tutto Mare, a Mediterranean concept by the Tutto il Giorno restaurant group that will open at The Royal Poinciana Plaza as Palm Beach’s first and only intra-coastal waterfront destination, and Maman, a French café and bakery also at The Square.

Thriving Creative Culture

Palm Beach is also a growing destination for art and culture lovers. The Norton Museum of Art, which underwent a $100 million renovation in recent years, will host an upcoming exhibition (March 2-June 16) featuring a curated selection of works by Ellen Graham, the American portrait photographer known for her unplanned and unposed shots of actors, musicians, royals and athletes. Art galleries including Taglialatella and Gallery Biba feature some of the biggest names in progressive art movements: Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Banksy and Robert Raushenberg. Another must-stop is the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, the 100,000 square foot Gilded Age mansion and national historic landmark. With marble halls, lavish furnishings and gold leaf detailing the estate is an ode to the opulence of the early 1900s era – with an impressive art and antique collection with pieces dating back to the Renaissance. White Elephant Palm Beach, with a museum-worthy collection of its own featuring 120 original pieces of colorful, contemporary art, also offers an insightful glimpse into the architectural history of Palm Beach. The Architecture & Preservation Package includes two nights in a one-bedroom suite and a 1.5-hour architecture tour of the great homes and iconic buildings on island led by a representative from the Palm Beach Preservation Foundation.

Social Season: Calendar of Events

There is no shortage of events during the height of Palm Beach’s social season. Polo enthusiasts will head to the Winter Equestrian Festival, the longest-running equestrian event in the world, happening through March 31 or the Palm Beach International Polo Season at the nearby International Polo Club Palm Beach. Fashion lover? From February 15-21, the Palm Beach Jewel & Antique Show is a high-end showcase of rare stones and objects spanning every genre and combining many periods and movements. Meanwhile, the Historical Society of Palm Beach County will present an “Endless Summer: Palm Beach Resort Wear” exhibition, exploring the palm Beaches’ impact on fashion history, through May 25, 2024. Set against the clear blue waters, one of the largest boat shows in the world, Palm Beach International Boat Show, will also return on March 21 with over $1.5 billion worth of yachts, boats, and accessories on display.

Where to Stay: White Elephant Palm Beach

Nestled in the heart of Palm Beach sits an icon of Palm Beach luxury – White Elephant Palm Beach. With an enviable location just off Main Street, White Elephant Palm Beach is housed in the former Bradley Park Hotel, originally constructed in 1924 as one of the first resorts on Palm Beach’s Main Street. Today, the landmark building with a Mizner-style façade captures the spirit of a grand home with 32 residential-style rooms and suites, a buzzy restaurant (and another northeast transplant) LoLa 41, and exclusive amenities including access to the latest BMW series and Priority Bicycles to explore the island. Ideal for families or those who want to entertain, The Park Suite offers 1,500-square feet of privacy and refinement with four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a kitchen, and a private rooftop terrace is a luxurious home away from home. Bonus: With White Elephant Palm Beach’s Winter Suite Package, travelers who book a suite through March 31 will also enjoy daily in-room breakfast, a tour of the Flagler Museum, an afternoon tea for two at LoLa 41 and a guided, walking tour of the shop-lined Worth Avenue.

Rates start at $495 per night for a Deluxe King Room, $695 per night for a one-bedroom suite, and $3,295 per night for the Park Suite.

How to Get There

Nonstop flights are available into both Palm Beach from several U.S. cities including New York, Washington D.C., Boston, and Dallas. Many seasonal flights are returning to Palm Beach International Airport this winter as well, including daily direct service from Los Angeles on JetBlue starting December 2023 and from New York’s Westchester County on Delta as of November 10. There are also several nonstop flights into nearby Miami and Fort Lauderdale, including a new route from Ottawa on Porter Airlines – easily connected to Palm Beach in under one hour via the chic Brightline rail. It’s now easier than ever to explore the sunshine state with Brightline’s new extended service, effortlessly linking West Palm Beach with Miami, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando.

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Everyone

January 5th, 2024

Whether it’s a coffee table book, a once-in-a-lifetime experience or a gift from a hotel shop, there’s something for every friend, partner and family member this Valentine’s Day!

Books – a few beautiful coffee table books for aesthetes

Jamaica Vibes by Assouline

The Paramount Pictures film, Bob Marley: One Love, will hit theaters on February 14, 2024, providing a look at the legendary musician’s rise to fame. A household name, Marley put Jamaica on the map, inspiring countless other artists and creatives. The nation’s pride is reflected in the music, dance, cuisine and literature that originated in Jamaica, but has since influenced people across the globe. Now, the most stylish Caribbean nation has inspired Assouline’s newest title, Jamaica Vibes, with a foreword by music industry legend and Island Outpost founder Chris Blackwell. There are over 200 glossy photos taken by globally-renowned photographers, including Slim Aarons. The book is part of Assouline’s iconic Travel Series and retails for $105.

Villeggiatura: Italian Summer Vacation by Assouline

Belmond will open the brand’s ninth property in Italy in 2024, inviting guests to experience villeggiatura at Romazzino, A Belmond Hotel, Costa Smeralda. Prepare yourself for the Italian sunshine with Villeggiatura: Italian Summer Vacation, an exquisite coffee table book from Assouline and Belmond. With vivid imagery and evocative descriptions by former Vogue Italia editor Cesare Cunaccia, the book will take readers on a journey to Belmond’s collection of heritage hotels: Cipriani in Venice, Splendido and Splendido Mare in Portofino, Villa San Michele in Florence, Castello di Casole in Tuscany, Caruso in Ravello, and Grand Hotel Timeo and Villa Sant’Andrea in Taormina, Sicily. Available on Assouline.com retailing for $95.

UXUA Utopia: A Very Gifted Guest House

The boutique property on the Bahian coast of Brazil tends to attract a cool crowd (Anderson Cooper loved it so much that he built a house; its where Solange Knowles spent her honeymoon; models like Candice Swanepoel have been spotted there…), so it’s no surprise that leading trend forecaster Li Edelkoort joined forces to release this coffee table book. The 288 pages combine elements of design, art, and travel, exploring owner Wilbert Das’ achievements in establishing values for a new world through a local project meant to set a global example. Past guests can reminisce about their holidays while flipping through the beautiful pages, and those yet to visit can daydream and imagine themselves in the tropical paradise of Trancoso, Brazil. The book retails for $150.

Food & Beverage – for the foodies in the family

007 Special Edition Blackwell Fine Jamaican Rum

Chris Blackwell – the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and owner of Ian Fleming’s former residence, GoldenEye – launched a 007 Collector’s Edition of his prized Blackwell Fine Jamaican Rum in 2023 in celebration of over 60 years of the James Bond film franchise. The packaging features a black and white photo of one of the original cinema lobby cards from the Dr. No film. Fewer than 1,000 boxes were made, and all are hand-numbered and include a personalized and signed note from Chris Blackwell. A rare gift for the connoisseur, the Blackwell Rum 007 Collector’s Edition features a special bottle of Blackwell Fine Jamaican Rum (750 mL in the US and 700 mL in the UK/Europe), sold exclusively on blackwellrum.com and 007store.com and retailing for $700.

Artisan Olive Oil from Tenuta di Murlo in Umbria

Tenuta di Murlo’s exclusive olive oil, harvested at the 18,000-acre estate from a blend of Dolce Agogia, Frantoio, Leccino, and Moraiolo olives holds the DOP label (Protected Designation of Origin) that is awarded to products that are produced, processed and prepared with ingredients from the specific region. For subtle amaro and spicy flavors, while also enjoying a fruity aroma with herbaceous notes, gift a bundle of three bottles for $83 on shop.murlo.com.

Elevated Gifts from the Chicest Hotel Shops

Exclusive Artisan Crafts at the Fife Arms

A dog is man’s best friend (or valentine!). Show your pup some love with The Fife Arms’ exclusive dog accessories, including a tweed & leather collar and a travel blanket. Designed exclusively by Araminta Campbell, the tweed’s pattern and palette are drawn from the ‘Green Mar’ tweed that the Duke of Fife would have worn when out hunting. The collar retails for $39 and the blanket retails for $87.

Nantucket Charm at home with White Elephant x Arhaus: The Limited-Edition Cashmere Throw

Arhaus, a leader in artisan-crafted home furnishings and décor, has teamed up with White Elephant Nantucket’s iconic harbor front resort for an exterior refresh as part of the property’s 100th-anniversary renovation. To commemorate this exciting collaboration, the exclusive and co-branded White Elephant x Arhaus embroidered throw blanket is available both online and in-store at the hotel’s newly redesigned retail space for $299. This limited-edition Cashmere Throw boasts supreme softness, rich colors, and a touch of classic style. Its fringed edges add texture, making it a perfect addition.

Elegant Teatime with The Westbury’s Finest Set

Relax with your valentine using The Westbury’s quintessential set of afternoon teacups and saucers. Available in a set of two, are crafted from the finest bone china and with a hand-painted gold rim. It elevates a DIY afternoon tea experience from the cozy confines of home. This set is available on shop.doylecollection.com, with a retail price of $88.

Charlotte & Co Dromoland Castle

Instead of the requisite trinkets that often fill hotel gift shops, Dromoland Castle’s Charlotte & Co, a boutique celebrating Irish artisans and giving visitors a one-stop shop to pick up an authentic, Irish-made item to remember their trip. While jewelry and chocolates tend to get a lot of attention over Valentine’s Day, Dromoland Castle’s Charlotte & Co. boutique has some more creative options, such as Belfast Bow Company with its selection of bowties, cufflinks, and pocket squares (think fun Liberty prints and Irish linen) and skincare products from plant-based Irish brand Seabody.

AM/PM News / January 2024

January 5th, 2024

2023 might be behind us, but we are mindful that global news will continue to have an impact locally and beyond borders. We hope that the new year brings health, peace, happiness – and if we can add a bit of joy through travel, that would fulfill our wish for 2024.

We will continue to focus on news from our favorite destinations, hotels, resorts, trains and ships. Have ideas, thoughts and opinions on what you’d like to read more (or less) about? Drop us a line and let us know.

Destination of the Month: London

Visiting Britain’s capital is exciting no matter what time of year, but this year, the city bursts into 2024 with particular panache, especially when it comes to art and culture. The acclaimed show “Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto” (through Feb. 25 at the V&A) is sold out, but The Kensington has a special package that grants guest two tickets, as well as a coffee table book about the style icon who famously said, “Elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside.” One presumes the late French designer Thierry Despont would have agreed with this sentiment. Under his tutelage, The Beaumont, one of Mayfair’s most stylish addresses with 29 new rooms and a revamped top suite, The Roosevelt, with gorgeous, Art Deco-inspired interiors.

Across town in the heart of Chelsea, meanwhile, at the Cadogan, A Belmond Hotel, star pâtissier Benoît Blin has infused that classic tradition of British tea with signature French flair and a focus on seasonality and unique flavor profiles (look for a la religieuse, cream-filled choux buns that have, incidentally, been a favorite challenge on The Great British Bakeoff). For arguably even more intrigue than even a competitive baking show, L’oscar, the Michel Reybier Hospitality Collection’s boutique property, takes the concept of hotel-as-theater to a new level. Housed in a Baroque-style, Grade-II listed former church, the hotel was reimagined by impresario Jacques Garcia, a lover of dark velvets and mirror-gilded interiors.

If more high-drama is what you’re after, then get thee to the Donmar Warehouse where David Tennent (Dr. Who for fans of his big-screen persona) is busy bringing down the house in the Scottish play. For guaranteed tickets to this show, check in at The Bloomsbury, housed in a redbrick Edwin Lutyens-designed building and infused with literary spiritedness, particularly in the Seamus Heaney Library, home to many first editions and 20th-century classics. The “Macbeth Package” (available until Feb. 10) includes dinner and bubbly for two—useful fortification prior to seeing this intense production.

And if all this urban stimulation has you hankering for a jaunt into the British countryside, mark your calendars: in February, the lovingly restored British Pullman, A Belmond Train, will reprise its extremely popular Moving Murder Mystery experience (calling all sleuths) and, later in the month, travel to Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, A Belmond Hotel, Oxfordshire for a sumptuous lunch at the two-Michelin-starred restaurant there.

ampr Quiz: And the Oscar Goes To…

…well, we don’t know yet but for movie buffs, these film lore–infused hotels should be on your radar. Can you guess the hotel or resort described in the hints below?

  1. This property is where Bob Marley recovered following his attempted assassination in the 70s, an event that will be depicted in the soon-to-be-released movie, One Love.
  2. This languorous movie released in 2003 was set largely in a designer hotel and put director Sofia Coppola and the actress Scarlet Johannson on the map.
  3. The top suite at this hotel on the Italian Riviera honors Ava Gardner, who stayed here while filming Barefoot Contessa.

[A: Island Outpost’s Strawberry Hill in Jamaica B: Lost in Translation, shot at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. C: Splendido Mare, A Belmond Hotel, in Portofino]

Newsflash: Global Hotel Guide for Design Lovers

A new year equals new design resolutions, and where better to gather inspiration than on the road, at those brilliant hotels that pull off that delicate balance between comfort and style. Here are four to keep top-of-mind as you re-envision the places you call home.

This passion project of Wilbert Das (the former Creative Director of Diesel) has grown in scope since it opened in 2009, but at its core, the 13-casa property remains true to its founding principles, committed to sustainability and community impact, as well as cutting-edge design. Its “five-mile radius” philosophy includes all materials, resulting in ultra-creative, locally made furniture and fixtures. Case-in-point: the much-copied eucalyptus shower heads that are stylish and sustainable.

Designed by powerhouse Brazilian duo Fernando and Humberto Campana, this hotel is a marvel of modernity. Look for artworks by heavyweights such as Jenny Holzer and Barbara Kruger (owner Dakis Joannou is one of the world’s leading collectors of contemporary art) as well as the Campana Brothers’ iconic furniture designs, including their Favela chair.

Located inside the walls of the medina, this hotel remains a show-stopper of a master class in Moroccan architecture, artisanship and gardens. 2024 will see a sister property opening in Casablanca, creating an exciting duo destination for style aficionados and culture seekers.

Mark your calendars for February’s Modernism Week (Feb 15-25) when the city of Palm Springs will host a show with more than 100 dealers, as well as open up iconic homes for tours, talks and events. There is no better place to stay than The Parker Palm Springs, the Jonathan Adler–designed desert oasis set on 13 acres. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped onto the set of a 1960s-era movie set, with throwback glamor, a fabulous restaurant and sexy adults-only swimming pool. In short, a great spot from which to ponder all your design goals for 2024.

Trending: Worth the Long Flight

Let’s face it – the days of glamorous air travel are long gone (unless you can secure a seat in the revamped first classes of a handful of airlines). Luckily, there are also those destinations that transport you as soon as you step off the plane, blissfully overwriting the memories of any discomfort in the getting there. Here are five of these memory lapses.

Bhutan: Go for…the newly opened andBeyond Punakha River Lodge, with six tented suites and incredible access to experiences like rafting, kayaking and hikes with a backdrop of the Himalayas. Getting There: Direct flights from New Delhi, Bangkok (and others)

Maldives: Go for…Gili Lankanfushi Maldives, an eco-luxe resort with a serious angle on sustainability, as evidenced in chef Hari Govindaraj’s comprehensive plant-forward menus. Thanks to a proliferation of activities as well as serene spaces (like the stunning spa), Gili Lankanfushi is great for honeymooners/couples and families. Getting There: Direct flights from Dubai, London, Frankfurt, Bangkok (and others)

Japan: Go for…some of the world’s best snow and skiing, including thirty miles of trails. The ultimate ski-in/ski-out hotel — Park Hyatt Niseko — has suites with terraces and private onsens (hot springs) for soaking in the panoramas. Getting There: Sapporo (the closest airport) is serviced directly from Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul Taipei and Hong Kong (among others)

South Africa: Go for…rediscovering what’s new in Cape Town, an evolving art and fashion city, and check in at the soon-to-turn 125 years Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel. The hotel’s afternoon tea is legendary, in part thanks to Craig Cupido, South Africa’s first expertly-trained tea sommelier who helps select among 60 different varieties. Getting There: Direct flights from New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, London, Frankfurt (among many other)

Singapore: Go for…catching the relaunch of the fabled Eastern & Oriental Express, A Belmond Train, with 15 restyled carriages that feel more like hotel suites than train compartments. Departing from Singapore and with an itinerary that includes snorkeling in Langkawi, a UNESCO Global Geopark, and a trip to the Taman Negara National Park, one of the world’s most ancient rainforests at 130 million years. Getting There: Direct flights from London, Hong Kong, New York, San Francisco, Tokyo (and many others)

Great Expeditions: Slow Travel

Exploring the world’s most delicate ecosystems requires a light touch, which is why Aqua Expeditions embraces a slow, thoughtful way of travel. Charting a luxurious passage on Southeast Asia’s longest river across Cambodia and Vietnam, the 205-foot Aqua Mekong travels at a speed of 6-7 knots, allowing for a slow-paced experience. A three-night Mekong Discovery sailing will either head upriver in Cambodia by exploring the Tonle Sap River, or downriver between Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh, while a four-night Explorer cruise will sail upriver from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh, past floating villages and gilded pagodas. For a deep-dive into the destination, the seven-night Mekong Expedition cruise includes more time on the Cambodia stretch of the Mekong, which is virtually untouched by tourists.

AM/PM Newsflashes:

  • Costa Rica: Nayara Gardens, the first hotel of the Nayara Resorts group, will reopen in January 2024 following a complete rebuild of all the accommodations. Newly-named Arenal Casitas will feature a private deck and a plunge pool, with indoor and outdoor showers enveloped in the lush surrounding rainforest (which also happens to be a sloth sanctuary). A spa renovation is also in the works.
  • Nantucket: Nantucket’s Cottages at the Boat Basin, overlooking the famous harbor, will unveil a six-month multi-million-dollar renovation in April 2024. Drawing on the island’s rich seafaring history dating back to the 19th century, Nantucket-based designer Audrey Sterk will infuse new life into 29 Cottages, ranging in size from studios to three-bedroom lofts. A dozen of the accommodations, dubbed “Woof Cottages,” will continue to welcome those traveling with pets.
  • Greece: Furniture wunderkind Rick Owens has entered into his first-ever hotel partnership with Kalesma, a suite and villa-only property in Mykonos, Greece. Owens’s effortlessly cool work is displayed in the lobby, while the rooms feature original artwork by Serbian artist Aleksandar Vac, whose ceramics evoke traditional Cycladic minimalistic forms.