Paul Carroll, of Ghan House in lovely, picturesque Carlingford, is one of Ireland’s most visionary hoteliers.
His vision has armed him with not just the skills to run one of the best country hotels, but also with a bullet proof optimism, for this radical hotelier fashions victory and satisfaction from every year’s work, always learning lessons from how the market is changing and adapting.
Mr Carroll manages this by being intensely focused: "95% of my business is from Ireland – most tourist traffic is directed to the West, so the local market is hugely important for us," he will tell you. And those local customers are looked after superbly. The Ghan House style of service is subtle, ever-present, so there is Mr Carroll with his umbrella as you begin to step out of your car in the pouring rain, looking after you before you have even gotten into the house. There are the little notes, reminding you to use the blue key, not the black. There is the glass of iced water that you didn't know you wanted until it was quietly placed in front of you. There is the wood fire in the hall, blazing away, warming your heart strings. And, of course, there is the lovely cooking that has always been a signature of Ghan House: salmon with pickled mussels and wasabi caviar; Mourne mountain lamb with smoked yogurt; game pie with Black Mission figs; pearl barley paella. In Ghan House: everything works to create one of the most delightful expressions of Irish hospitality.
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