This is Ireland's Hotel of the Year

It was announced at this year's AA's Hospitality Awards

Mayo's Ashford Castle has been named Ireland's Hotel of the Year for 2017.

The award, considered one of the most prestigious in Irish hospitality, was presented by Minister of State for Tourism Patrick O’Donovan this evening at the annual AA Hospitality Awards.

Other awards saw Rolf’s Country House in Baltimore, Co. Cork win 'AA Guest Accommodation of the Year', while the 'AA Courtesy & Care Award' for excellence in customer care went to The Talbot Hotel in Stillorgan, Co. Dublin.

Winning 'AA Hotel of the Yea'' caps a remarkable comeback for Ashford Castle - which bounced back following the economic downturn as it became the beneficiary of a $75 million investment by Red Carnation Hotels.

“Ashford Castle is one of Irish tourism’s finest assets,” said AA Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan, who hailed the five-star as one of the world's finest.

“It takes a lot to impress an AA Inspectors; they judge by the most exacting standards in the industry. Ashford Castle’s beauty is breath-taking and the investments made by its owners are evident throughout the Castle and grounds."

"What is more important though, is the standards of friendliness, professionalism and warmth shown by the entire team. Ashford Castle is a wonderful representation of everything that Irish tourism does so well.”

The hotel's wine cellars

Another one for the mantle

In 2015, Ashford Castle was voted World's Best Hotel by luxury travel group Virtuoso.

Rooms currently start at €465 per night - rising to a whopping €4,000 for its presidential suite.

The presidential suite

The AA's annual hospitality awards are based on the assessments of experienced inspectors who personally visit every AA-accredited hotel for an overnight stay.

Winners are selected for their excellence in service and hospitality, the AA says, as well as a clear demonstration of continuous improvement in the preceding 12-18 months.

Last year's winner was the Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa in Co. Wicklow.