Ferndale Bed and Breakfast
, Crumpaun, Keel, Achill Island, Co Mayo.
At first sight, Ferndale Luxury B&B is just like a hundred other bed and breakfasts on the west coast of ireland: warm, spacious and with a view that would stretch all the way to America if it could. It was when we peeped inside that we knew that Ferndale is so much more than just another boutique B&B. The interior decoration is stunning.
Each of the six guest rooms and suites is carefully and comprehensively themed. Our favourite was the Venetian room (Laguna Veneta) where it seems that not one square inch has been left undecorated. While you have to feel a little sorry for the person who does the dusting, you have to acknowledge that it is perfectly done. This room is just about perfect. At 36 square metres it's seriously big, with a free-standing Victorian bath tub in the room as well as the generous shower in the en-suite. There's a huge television with Blu-ray player, a minibar, and an even more huge view when you tear your eyes from the silver and black carving and turn to the windows. This is all finished off with designer bedlinen, Egyptian cotton towels, luxury toiletries and a memory foam mattress on the super-kingsize bed.
Other themes include Ancient Rome, Ancient China (another one that is very special), Medieval Gothic, Mayan and Arabian. Even if you take a "lesser" room, you'll have a good size room with at least a kingsize bed, a large flatscreen TV and all the fine touches. Even if you don't have a sea view, you'll have a glorious mountain view instead.
Breakfast is served in the sumptuous dining room with wall-to-wall views over Keel Bay. The breakfast choices are so comprehensive that they can be summarised quite simply as "just about everything". No-one should miss the Full Irish Breakfast, though it would be easy to be distracted by kippers, eggs Benedict, crepes with maple syrup or a dozen other choices.
Achill Island lies on the very edge of Europe, linked to the rest of Ireland by the bridge over Achill Sound and the narrow isthmus at Mallaranny. To reach Achill is a journey that is well worth taking, for all the beauty you pass along the way as much as for the out-of-this-world views when you finally reach it. This is a world where "crowded" means seeing another person, and "high-rise" is a house with an upstairs. Everyone should experience this at least once in their life, or better still, every year.