The prestige that comes with being a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World is reserved only for the world’s most extraordinary and cherished hotels. A revered badge of honour within the hospitality industry, every Unique Lodge of the World must adhere to rigorous standards before it is awarded the title. Two of Red Carnation Hotels’ properties are proud bearers of the prestigious accolade: Ashford Castle in Ireland and Bushmans Kloof in South Africa. Here’s why these well-loved hotels received the honour.
In order to be selected as a Unique Lodge of the World, a property must have a specific combination of factors. Firstly, the design of the hotel must be distinctive and offer guests a strong sense of place, remaining true to the local landscape and culture. Secondly, exceptional service is a must and guests should be invited to participate in inspiring local experiences wherever possible, whether that’s a guided tour of ancient rock art in the Cederberg Mountains or a thrilling off-roading session around the Ashford Estate in Connemara. Finally, the hotel must have sustainability at its core, implementing conservation practices wherever possible, upholding cultural heritage and working closely with the local community.
Set in the heart of the Cederberg, Bushmans Kloof has a dedicated commitment to the local cultural heritage. The reserve works extremely hard to preserve the area’s 130 ancient cave paintings and rock art sites, which are considered a South African National Heritage. In addition, the team at Bushmans Kloof ensures that the fynbos landscape surrounding the property, and all the wildlife that inhabit it, are given the space and care that they need to flourish. Bushmans Kloof is responsible for re-introducing indigenous plants and animals that were thought to be on the verge of extinction, such as the Cape mountain zebra, herds of which are now free to graze around the reserve.
A world away from the mountains of the Cederberg, Ashford Castle is a markedly different yet just as special Unique Lodge of the World. An 800-year-old Irish estate in the wilds of Connemara, Ashford Castle was acquired by Red Carnation Hotels in 2013. With the help of a local construction company, we painstakingly restored it to its former majesty, carefully honouring its history and the contributions made by each of the castle’s former residents. Ashford Castle’s rejuvenation project also made vast difference the livelihoods of the local people, many of whom are happily employed by the hotel.
The Red Carnation Hotel Collection is dedicated not only to excellent service and beautiful surroundings, but also to sustainability, the prime criteria to be included as a Unique Lodge of the World.