Marlfield House, Gorey

It’s a family affair and it shows

Marlfield, a beautiful Regency house, just outside the market town of Gorey, County Wexford, was built in 1820. In 1977 the Bowes family bought the house and converted it into a luxury country house hotel. Collecting many awards along the way, Marlfield House has been run by the family ever since with sisters Margaret and Laura now at the helm.

Marlfield HouseWith great attention to detail and personal service that is refreshingly friendly, Marlfield House is a member of the worldwide luxury Relais & Chateaux group.  Set in 36 acres of manicured gardens with a woodland walk, lake, and a large kitchen garden, the hotel is an oasis of tranquility. With 19 luxurious state rooms and bedrooms – and I do mean luxurious – several cosy sitting rooms resplendent with period paintings, antiques, stylish furnishings, roaring log fires and the elegant conservatory dining room. Back in the day the vast majority of us would never had had the opportunity to stay (unless through employment) in such a sumptuous private home. Now you too can experience the genteel, opulent, lifestyle in the relaxing environment Marlfield House emanates. 

Pre-dinner drinks served by the charming and knowledgeable barman – G&Ts with juniper berry ice-cubes and rosemary – in front of the fire in the elegant library lounge, a prelude to what was to follow in the fine-dining Conservatory restaurant. An a la carte menu of three courses, using the freshest local produce, dinner was a culinary delight: celeriac, parsley & thyme ragout with hazelnut oil, crispy onions and brie beignet; grilled turbot with braised fennel, sauté spinach, white bean puree, fennel hollandaise & tomato caper salsa; glazed pear tart tatin with vanilla ice-cream, coconut tuille.  Each delicate mouthful savoured, enjoyed. Delicious. Memorable.

Kitchen garden and The Duck RestaurantThe head chef, Ruadhan Furlong, has been resident for ten years. During this time the hotel has won many accolades, from fine dining to their latest award from Georgina Campbell – Ireland’s leading independent hospitality and food guide – for the best breakfast in Ireland. Breakfast was a healthy, gourmet, delight. Granola, toasted seeds and healthy goodies, berry compote, preserves, stewed rhubarb and poached pears all from the hotel’s own kitchen garden and orchard. The cooked breakfast was excellent. The Duck Bar, Café and Restaurant, originally the stables, converted four years ago, offers all day dining from 11am. Overlooking the magnificent herb garden the Duck is stylishly contemporary and was the 2018 gold medal winner in Ireland’s Hotel Casual Dining Experience category.

Georgian State BedroomAll the large state bedrooms are individual in style with a seating area, open fire, period paintings, antiques and large bathrooms. The largest stateroom – The Print Room – has several rooms and, impressively, a grand piano and a harp for those romantic souls who like to serenade the love of their life before bedtime. We stayed in the sumptuous Georgian stateroom, a rare treat to sleep in a room reminiscent of a bygone era but with all modern comforts. The turndown service and hand-made chocolates the finishing touch.

All 19 rooms are uniquely decorated with rich fabrics and elegant period furnishings and range from cosy standard rooms to the master bedroom Print Room suite. A new addition is the recently renovated Duck Lodge, a contemporary two-bedroom cottage. With all the comforts of home, to enable self-catering, plus the option of dining in Marlfield House or the Duck Restaurant with full use of the grounds, this if perfect for families.

The grounds of the hotel are wonderful with plenty of places to sit and walks to explore.

George still looking for loveThey also have their own resident peacock, George.  Keen to show his impressive plumage to guests he struts around the grounds touting for admirers. To prevent him being lonely and, in the hope there might be the patter of tiny feet, the hotel purchased a female peacock to keep him company. Sadly, George failed to impress. His potential mate flew away on Valentine’s Day – she was clearly making a point – to seek a better suitor elsewhere. Undeterred and, no doubt unaware of where he went wrong, George struts around the hotel fanning out his feathers still looking for love. 

Fine diningLocated just an hour for Dublin, Marlfield House is well placed for exploring everything on offer in in this area. Famous for its long white sandy beaches and fishing villages, including the stunning Curracloe Beach – reputedly the longest in Europe – a 30 minute drive away. Golf courses, gardens, castles, lush rolling countryside, are all within easy reach by car. The hotel can also arrange private tours through their recommended supplier for anyone wanting the services of a local guide. The nearby market town of Gorey is worth a visit. With a history dating back to Norman times and an array of independent shops and cafes it’s a characterful, bustling town.

Luxury is a subjective description often over-used, sometimes undeserved, to describe hotel accommodation. Marlfield House epitomizes luxury, exceptional personal service and thoroughly deserves its reputation as a small, luxurious, hotel which I highly recommend.

Chrissy Nason was a guest at Marlfield House in May 2019.

Read about Chrissy’s tour of Ireland’s Ancient South East.

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Chrissy Nason

Travel writer & hotel specialist

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