Bellinter House is redolent with Irish history. A glorious Anglo-Irish Palladian country house (built in 1750) within sight of the Hill of Tara, ancient seat of the Celtic High Kings of Ireland, it eventually fell into the hands of the Church. The building was bought in 2003 by Jay Bourke and John Reynolds, co-owners of several hot Dublin bars, clubs and restaurants (most notably Eden restaurant), in a bid to bring their now thirty- and forty-something clientele with them on the 45-minute trip from Dublin. They employed hip designer Pierce Tynan, first to oversee a painstaking restoration to its original Georgian purity, and then bring the whole 34-bedroom hotel to life with a subtle infusion of contemporary Irish style. Huge original fireplaces and antique mirrors, for instance, mesh with original designer furniture and quirky lighting in the atmospheric Drawing Room. The grandeur of great wooden staircases and beautifully embellished plasterwork is softened by personal touches such as lightbox wardrobes illuminated with Tynan's photos of the grounds. The high luxury quota includes Villeroy & Boch baths and taps, goosedown pillows in Egyptian cotton on soporifically comfortable king-size beds, a well-stocked wine bar and stylish glass-walled indoor swimming pool and sauna, not to mention seven indulgent spa treatment rooms. An art-house cinema, children's play centre and outdoor pool will open in the summer. In the atmospheric vaulted basement is the new Eden, where Eleanor Walsh offers the kind of fresh modern Irish cuisine she created in the original.
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