Golf News for Monday, May 15, 2006 | Awards

IGTOA recognizes Stella Maris as Ireland's small hotel of year

BALLYCASTLE, Ireland -- Stella Maris Country House Hotel, a member of Ireland’s Blue Book of unique upscale properties, has been named Small Hotel of the Year 2006 by the Irish Golf Tour Operators Association.

The prestigious award was presented to chef/proprietor Frances Kelly during the recent IGTOA Annual Conference and Awards Dinner in Sligo. Stella Maris is the first country house hotel to be so honoured by the organization. The IGTOA is comprised of the main golf tour operators responsible for the majority of Ireland’s incoming golf tourist traffic.

“Stella Maris serves as a wonderful example of how a small property can deliver the highest quality product to visiting golfers,” said Marty Carr, IGTOA Chairman. “Stella Maris has helped pave the way for golf in the West and Northwest of Ireland.”

This has been a banner year for Stella Maris Country House Hotel, which also was named 2006 Hideaway of the Year by renowned food critic and tour guide author Georgina Campbell. In addition, Stella Maris Country House Hotel was cited for excellence in three categories by John and Sally McKenna in the Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2006.

“We are thrilled with these many honours and recognition we continue to receive after just four short years in business,” said Ms. Kelly, who grew up in Ballycastle. “None of this would be possible without the dedication of our staff, who work hard to make each person’s stay a very special experience.”

Stella Maris Country House Hotel, which was built originally as a coast guard regional headquarters and subsequently became a convent, was reopened in 2002 after a complete restoration. It overlooks Bunatrahir Bay, located between the world-class golf links of Enniscrone and Carne/Belmullet on Ireland’s unsullied West Coast. The area offers guests a variety of other activities such as fishing, swimming, bird watching, horseback riding and walking.

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