“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
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
I imagine that when writer Hans Christian Andersen mused, “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale,” he was standing at the edge of Copenhagen’s historic Tivoli Gardens, one of his favorite haunts, enlivened by the swirl of human happiness that surrounded him: children laughing; carousels spinning; games of chance played for prizes; lovers holding hands; hungry people whispering over sweets, hot drinks, beer and towering, open-faced smørrebrød, Denmark’s quintessential sandwich. That fairy tale lives on today at the second-oldest amusement park in the world, a spectacle of folly architecture, bakeries, gardens, rides, restaurants, puppet shows and joy ... and which also happens to be one of the city’s most storied places to convene for business.
The restored Park Hyatt Toronto reopened its doors, bringing luxury, sophistication and glamour alongside a nod to the hotel’s Canadian heritage. Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge collaborated on the hotel’s refresh, drawing inspiration from Canada’s seasons and natural landscapes.
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
The Global Business Travel Association, the world’s largest business travel and meetings trade organization, recently released a statement from GBTA CEO Suzanne Neufang regarding the Biden administration’s recent announcement that the U.S. travel ban will be relaxed in November for vaccinated travelers from 26 Schengen countries, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Arriving early afternoon in Puerto Rico, we jumped in an Uber and took a short, 15-minute drive from the airport to La Concha. As it was Tuesday, the streets were not too busy and the hotel lobby was calm. During the weekend, the scene likely would have been more bustling. We were greeted by a staff member who requested proof of vaccination and government-issued ID, and were given a wristband to indicate we were fully vaccinated. All guests are required to be vaccinated and wear masks at all times while moving around the hotel. Hand sanitizer stations were placed around the lobby, in elevators and in each common area.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
The Rittenhouse has long stood out as one of Philadelphia’s finest hotels, centrally located in one of the city’s poshest neighborhoods. Needless to say, I knew I was in for an afternoon of luxurious pampering when I hopped in my car and headed down I-95 from my suburban home to the heart of the City of Brotherly Love. As I drove through the seemingly endless roadwork on the highway, I realized just how long it had been since I’d driven this once-familiar route into the city as a result of the pandemic. Of course I was eager for the relaxation and bliss that was in my future, but it was also a welcome feeling to head back into Philadelphia for a moment of normalcy.