Which hotel was crowned Northern Ireland's top spot at the prestigious AA Hospitality Awards in London?

County Armagh's Killeavy Castle named Hotel of the Year Northern Ireland at AA Hospitality Awards 2023. Pictured at the event is host, Claudia Winkleman, general manager of Killeavy Castle Estate, Matthew Hynds, head chef at Killeavy Castle Estate, Dario Percic, events manager at Killeavy Castle Estate, Seidy Hynds, owners of Killeavy Castle Estate, Mick and Robin Boyle, executive head chef at Killeavy Castle Estate, Darragh Dooley and Simon Numphud, managing director at AA Media

Killeavy Castle Estate, a four-star luxury retreat in County Armagh has been named AA Hotel of the Year Northern Ireland at the prestigious AA Hospitality Awards 2023.

Killeavy Castle Estate, which opened its doors to guests in 2019, has swiftly emerged as a beacon of excellence in the Irish hospitality industry. Comprising a 45-bedroom boutique hotel, two charming lodges, castle accommodation, spa, working farm, fine dining farm to fork restaurant, farm store and woodlands, the estate has redefined sustainable luxury and relaxation.

The awards ceremony took place at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House in London and was hosted by TV presenter Claudia Winkleman.

Owners of Killeavy Castle Estate, Mick and Robin Boyle proudly accepted the award for ‘AA Hotel of the Year Northern Ireland’ alongside general manager Matthew Hynds and other members of the Killeavy team.

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Expressing their profound joy and gratitude, Mick and Robin, said: "We are delighted and honoured that Killeavy Castle Estate has been named Hotel of the Year Northern Ireland by the AA Hospitality Awards.

“This award is a testament to our vision to create a special, environmentally sensitive destination hotel in South Armagh, the unparalleled beauty of our estate and the surrounding area but mostly the unwavering dedication of our exceptional team and the fantastic service they provide to all our guests. At Killeavy we are all deeply committed to providing our guests with an unforgettable and sustainable experience, and this accolade inspires us to continue our pursuit of excellence.

“We are most proud that the Killeavy luxury experience is a uniquely environmentally friendly one. The produce we serve is grown on the estate or from the surrounding countryside. Single plastic use is minimised, and waste is composted or recycled, nothing goes to landfill. “Over the next decade we are replanting and regenerating 50,000 native trees on the estate as part of a plan to create 150 acres of native woodlands. The net effect is that Killeavy Castle will be carbon neutral next year, well ahead of our 2027 target, so guests can come and enjoy our luxury without any environmental concerns.”

Speaking about Killeavy Castle Estate and its offering, the AA Hospitality Awards inspector, explained: “Located in a 365-acre estate made up of woods and farm lands, Killeavy Castle was built in the 19th century, but only recently opened as a hotel after massive refurbishment and investment. The original coach house and mill blend seamlessly into the newer locations. Dining is relaxed and much of the provenance comes from the estate and walled gardens. The spa offers an array of treatments while a wealth of outdoor activities are also on offer along with some wonderful walks. The estate also offers self-catering options.”

The AA Hospitality Awards are a symbol of excellence in the UK's hospitality industry, recognising outstanding establishments across various categories in the sector, seeking out and celebrating the very best in hospitality across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Killeavy Castle Estate has won numerous awards in recent years including two AA rosettes for ‘Culinary Excellence’ in its restaurant and an AA four-star rating for excellence in hospitality last year.