Who needs Kilkenny Castle when you can stay at the Dowager Duchess of Ormonde's 18th-century town house, a charming piece of Georgian grandeur with an ivy-covered three-bay facade and an elegant walled garden? (There's even a private entrance to Kilkenny Castle). Inside, the reception salon has a magnificent plaster ceiling and marble fireplaces. Upstairs, any grande dame might look askance—a gradual renovation of the guest rooms is ongoing, so the decor ranges from
muted 1970s minimalist to bright and modern. The rooms vary in size, with some big as a house and others on the snug side. If you can, treat yourself to one of the high-ceiling bedrooms overlooking the garden and the castle. The only slight disadvantage (if you look at things that way) is that breakfast is not served on the premises; for your morning meal you must saunter through the walled rose garden to the adjoining Kilkenny Design Centre.