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Yes, it’s an umbrella. No, it’s not your standard hotel umbrella. Because although it’s large, and although it’s sturdy, it is completely unmarked. No funny colors. No embarrassing logo. Nothing that says “I’m a tourist, please mug me.”
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Welsh cakes. Welsh flags. Welsh rarebit. Welsh… lessons?
That’s the new addition to the menu at Chateau Rhianfa, a French-inspired castle in Anglesey (Wales, if that wasn’t already clear). They’re not just any lessons, though – there’s a two-night package planned all around them, and it really is the best of
You’ll arrive in time for a traditional Welsh afternoon tea, including Welsh cakes and Bara Brith as well as your standard sandwiches, scones and cakes. After that, you’ll get on a RIB (rigid inflatable boat) for a whip round the Menai Strait; then it’s back to the hotel to get changed and get dinner – three courses and wine is included.
The 90-minute Welsh lesson starts after dinner – just as well, since you'll have to be suitably lubricated to make your way around those vowels.
On day two, you’ll have a locally sourced breakfast, a tour of Snowdonia, and a second Welsh lesson in the afternoon, before dinner, a cocktail-making class and wine and local cheese tasting in the wine cave.
There’s a headline we never thought we’d write. The fact that we did, and can make a plausible connection between the Windsors, a species of wading birds, and an Irish castle, is due to one thing: a photograph that was taken over a century ago, in 1905 to be exact. We’ll explain.
Back then, Ashford Castle was owned by the Guinness family, which invited the then Prince of Wales to come up to Ireland to hunt. Five months after the “Woodcock Shoot” took place, and the 1905 photograph was taken, the Prince ascended to the British throne as King George V, which makes him the grandfather of QE II, and of course, a few generations on, the ancestor of little Prince George of Cambridge. Earlier this month, Peter Phillips, eldest grandson of Queen Elizabeth, joined a Woodcock shoot to recreate the century-old image and celebrate the upcoming Diamond Jubilee of Ashford Castle.
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A confession: The Great Gatsby was one of our favorite novels as a ninth grader. The fancy houses. The fast cars (well, minus the tragedy). The spectacular parties. We loved all of it. So we're guessing we would also have loved visiting a place called Oheka Castle Hotel & Estate in Huntington, NY, which supposedly inspired a portion of the F. Scott Fitzgerald masterpiece.
Unfortunately, the 443-acre property is now facing foreclosure, as the WSJ recently revealed. Sadness!
The castle, which was built in 1919 and contains 32 luxury hotel suites, is supposedly the second largest private estate in the entire country, and has been visited by everyone from the Citizen Kane film crew in 1941 to Anthony Weiner, who got married there in 2010. And yet, we have yet to be invited for dinner...
See below for a few excerpts from recent TripAdvisor reviews!
So apparently Derek Jeter and Minka Kelly are getting married next year if this report in the NY Post is to be believed. According to their undercover reporters, #2 and Minka are set to marry on November 5, 2010 at the Oheka Castle in Huntington, Long Island where recently the Jonas Brother, Kevin, got married.
Yet Oheka is not just a fancy castle where the rich and famous get married. You can actually spend the night there in one of the castle's 32 hotel rooms.
That is, if the cheesy copy on the website hasn't made you too queasy. A standout line?
Pamper yourself and your spouse with an in-room togetherness massage.
Ashford Castle – an actual, 13th-century castle in County Mayo, Ireland, that doubles as as five star hotel – is celebrating its 70th birthday next month. So far, so worthy. Forgive us being slightly more excited about the fact that Guinness is turning 250. Now that’s worth celebrating.
Luckily, the folks at the castle agree with us (it was once the country retreat of the Guinness family, which probably has something to do with it). So they’ve designated October as Guinness Month and 15 October as the date for a five course "Black and White dinner", where the head Brewer will talk about the black stuff.