“Well, aren’t you the lucky one,” she said, in one of those musical Irish accents. “You’re in the Eric Clapton room.” Who would have thought that in a 13th-century castle about a half-hour from Dublin I’d be staying in a room, complete with canopy bed and Delft bathroom fittings, named for a British rock legend?
It is said Barberstown Castle began its life in 1288 as a fortress to protect the village of Barberstown from marauding rebels intent on destroying the town. Since then the original building and its remaining 20 acres went through myriad additions and changes. Today, Barberstown Castle is a member of Ireland’s Blue Book of Country House Hotels and Restaurants.
The Castle had 37 owners over its nine centuries of existence, ranging from lords, wealthy landowners, a former mayor of Dublin to, finally, a rock star. English musician Eric Clapton owned the property 1979–1987, using it more or less as a roomy country getaway and a place to entertain his musical friends in Dublin for gigs. Eventually Clapton tired of the castle’s upkeep and sold the place to today’s owner for a bargain £250,000. Bargain though it sounds, it took much time and even more money to turn the property into the chic, 55-room, 4-star hotel it is today.
Rooms and public areas are elegantly appointed and the grounds pristine. There’s a lovely glassed atrium bar where, even if the weather turns wet, as can happen in the Emerald Isle, you can sip an Irish whiskey or a cup of tea in warm and cozy comfort while the rain falls. Meanwhile, the owner’s two golden retrievers, Lucy and Floyd, unfazed by the weather, loll around the flagstone patio with their light golden fur getting increasingly curlier.
One of the hotel’s more whimsical touches is the naming of each bedroom for one of the former owners, thus my spending three nights in the Eric Clapton room. And no proper castle is without its ghost. Barberstown’s is Nicholas Barby, though as far as I could make out, no one has ever actually caught sight of the fellow.
Straffan, Co. Kildare
tel 00 353 1 6288157
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
Alaska Airlines recently debuted its new Pixar-inspired, special-edition aircraft livery. On both sides of the Pixar-themed Boeing 737-800 aircraft, travelers spot recognizable faces from the Toy Story franchise, including Buzz Lightyear, Woody and Jessie. Rex the Tyrannosaurus appears on the boarding door and the little green aliens show up on the aircraft’s winglets.
The New InterContinental San Juan is officially reopening next month. The opening marks the completion of the property’s first major renovation in more than 20 years.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Get to know Mexico with ONE FREE NIGHT With Fiesta Americana Get to know Mexico with the largest hotel company in the country, offering more than 185 options in the best city and resort destinations. Book at any of our hotels with the best available rate at the time of booking and get one night free.
FOR THOSE OF US PASSIONATE about wellness pursuits and who feel most at peace close to the sea, there’s nothing quite like the synergy offered by a floating spa integrated into the setting of a luxurious cruise ship. I’m sailing through the Mediterranean from Rome to Barcelona, discovering along the way that the Crystal Life Spa & Beauty Salon on board the Crystal Serenity provides not only the element of high-end indulgence but also the cruise line’s signature commitment to attention and service.