Croatia's stellar Dalmatian coast has long been seen as an alternative contender to Italy's Amalfi, and as my taxi makes a tight cliff top hairpin turn on to an even tighter road clearly never intended for motor car use, the difference is obvious.
No traffic. Just peace, solitude, bird song and the timeless backdrop of old town Dubrovnik lying far below, just across the bay.
The car was taken off my hands by Alastair the doorman, the door was opened with a theatrical flourish by the concierge, and my bag was liberated almost immediately by yet another attendant. By the time I got to the small but bright reception area, I was smiling.
One irritation of a hotel stay is having to crawl out of bed to turn off the master switch by the door then stumble back in darkness - a hazard of increasingly sophisticated but unfathomable lighting systems.
If only I had clocked the "sleep" button which dims all the lights from a bedside console when I was shown to my room, my stay would have been pretty well perfect.
There are 600 acres of land surrounding this remote but very stately home in St Laois. Parked by its lake are bikes and golf buggies but the best way to look around is by pony and trap. The driver, Lionel, points out the estate’s parish church, various follies, such as the viewing tower built to create jobs during the potato famine, the grottos and hidden gardens.