Ireland’s Luxury Hotel Top 10: Dreamy Places to Stay on the Emerald Isle

Written by Kevin Pilley
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You’ve heard of the luck of the Irish, but those who have stayed at some of Ireland’s most luxurious hotels can also count their four-leaf-clovers.

From sprawling estates to gourmet meals to spas. you’ll never want to leave, these 10 luxury hotels in Ireland bring more than good fortune to a holiday on the Emerald Isle.

Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa

If ease of access is on your list of travel must-haves, then this country retreat should check the box. Located only 35 minutes from Dublin Airport, Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa, an Autograph Hotel Collection from Marriott, is located near the charming village of Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, set amidst the scenic and historic 1000-acre Powerscourt Estate. Luxurious amenities you won’t find elsewhere including a 20-metre Swarovski crystal-lit indoor pool. Additionally, The Estate has two Championship golf courses as well as a spa with 20 treatment rooms. An elegant restaurant, Sika overlooks Sugar Loaf Mountain and lush Co. Wicklow landscape, while a popular afternoon tea is served in the Sugar Loaf Lounge.  The 198-room resort includes 98  spacious suites, luxuriously decorated, with  separate lounge areas and Marriott’s signature featherbedding for sweet dreams all night long.

Powerscourt Resort & Spa

Sheen Falls Lodge 

“Wow!” “Idyllic.”  “Beguiling!”  “Pinch me!” It’s hard to avoid saying these words when you pull up to Sheen Falls Lodge.

On Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s spectacular 2,600- kilometre coastal road, the five-star Relais & Châteaux hotel  is also spectacular in every way. From its location on Kenmare Bay to the the Sheen River running outside set the windows to the forested setting, it all blends together to create a five-star  fantasy.

Kerry International airport is only one hour away and the list of activities is endless, whether it’s falconry, stand up paddle boarding, fly fishing or taking a guided walk through the  estate’s 300 acres. Of course, you can simple sit by the fire, nibble on scones and sip afternoon tea. If you like to golf, Sheen Falls Lodge is surrounded by some of Ireland’s best golf courses. The friendly Guest Relations team can arrange other off-site activities and tours too. Most rooms have river or Kenmare Bay views. There are also three cottages and two Bay Villas, with thatched roofs.

Dining at Sheen Falls Lodge is exceptional too, with upscale meals created from locally-sourced ingredients such as Kerry lamb and Cromane oysters. The Stables Brasserie & Bar is a newer dining destination at the lodge, where casual fare is served inside the beautifully reimagined stables of Sheen Falls Lodge.

Rooms, suites and cottages all come with a view at Sheen Falls Lodge.

Sheen Falls Lodge and the Sheen River

Harvey’s Point Hotel

Large rooms, fabulous food, and an ambiance that’s just right for a relaxed getaway. It’s all here at Harvey’s Point Hotel.

But what’ you’re really be coming for is the magical setting amid the Bluestack Mountains on the edge of Lough Eske, and just 6 kilometres from charming Donegal town. County Donegal in northwestern Ireland borders an untamed Atlantic Ocean. It’s known for its castles, mountains and nature. Formerly a private estate, Glenveagh National Park is worth checking out. There are also olden beaches, rugged islands and a beautiful array of wildlife to discover in this nearly untouched  stretch of Ireland’s  Wild Atlantic Way.

 It’s no wonder Donegal was named the ‘Coolest Place on the Planet for 2017’ by National Geographic Traveller.

 

Monart Destination Spa

Set amidst 1,100 green acres and lush Irish countryside near Enniscorthy, about 90 minutes from Dublin airport, the award-winning, adult-only Monart Destination Spa and hotel is considered by many pundits and spa specialists to be one of the best in the world. It’s also a hotel on 100 acres of verdant Irish countryside in County Wexford. Choose from 68 rooms deluxe bedrooms with lake or woodland views and two luxurious suites located in the estate’s 18th century manor house.

The best spa in the world? In Europe? Certainly in Ireland as the only destination spa in the country. Guest will find  a sauna, steam room, outdoor Finnish Sauna, salt grotto, infra-red pro suite, caldarium, sanarium and  hydrotherapy pool.

Monart Destination Spa also has 15 treatment rooms with an impressive array of spa treatments. And you can’t leave the Emerald Isle without a crème fraiche facials!

The Europe Hotel & Resort

Near the foothills of the McGillycuddy Reeks, the 5-star luxury Europe Hotel & Resort is made for magical holidays in Ireland. It’s not only the perfect place explore places like the Ring of Kerry, Torr Waterfall, Muckross House, and the Gap of Dunloe, it’s also only five minutes from Killarney town , one of Ireland‘s top tourist destinations and  well-known for its excellent shops and restaurants.

The good news about a stay at Europe Hotel & Resort —there are no bad rooms . You’ll find them very generously sized, comfortably appointed, and most face the spectacular Lakes of Killarney.

The hotel’s appropriately named Panorama Restaurant is stunning for its enviable views, with vistas of the Lakes of Killarney, mountains and gardens. Refined service and Irish farm-to-fork cuisine are also a hallmark.

Make sure you book time to visit the Spa.  ESPA at the Europe has won loads of awards and when you show up, you’ll understand why. There are two levels with an indoor pool which blends into an outdoor infinity pool, that tricks the eye into thinking you’re swimming in the  Lakes of Killarney. The Spa has sixteen treatment rooms where you can pamper yourself  with massages, body treatments, and facials. Enjoy ice fountains, a sauna and steam room,  and air recliners, all meant to luxuriate and de-stress.  There are also two indoor tennis courts, and an indoor children’s play areas.

Make sure to ask the concierge to book you a boating or  kayaking tour on the Lakes of Killarney, which set out from Europe Hotel & Resort ‘s own private pier.

The Europe Hotel  & Resort has one of Ireland’s best views

Cliff House Hotel

Clinging onto the south side of Ardmore Bay, the 39-room Cliff House Hotel is considered one of Ireland’s best boutique hotels.  Privately-owned, and boasting a destination spa and Michelin-star restaurant, the hotel makes for a luxurious stay in Ireland,  just 20 minutes from the city of Cork.

Chef David Parkin helms the kitchen at Cliff House Hotel, and you’re in for a gastronomic treat with his delectable seven-course tasting menu feast that showcases Ireland’s finest local produce

Accommodations are in Balcony, Terrace and Veranda suites as well as a three-bedroom, self-catering cliffside cottages, most designed to take in the sea views.

 

Cliffhouse Chef

Adare Manor

The 19th-century mansion looks cut from an Irish story book, with its leaded windows, ornate chimneys and towers. Lucky for you, Adare Manor is  also a magnificent luxury hotel 90  minutes from the famed Cliffs of Moher and Shannon Airport, only 30 minutes away.

But once you set foot on this 840-acres slice of pristine parkland, you’ll find it hard to leave. Here you can Dine in the Michelin-star restaurant, play through the championship golf course, and sink deeply into relaxation at spa. You can also work out in the state-of-the-art gym, go fishing, throw axes, and ogle remarkable birds of prey with a falconry session.

Accommodations consists of 104 elegant hotel rooms, 26 self-catering luxury villas, 14 townhouses and 2 luxury self-catering cottages.

The hotel is set to host the 2027 Ryder Cup.

                                                                                                                                                                  Adare Manor

Castle Leslie Estate

This luxurious 5-star hotel  is one of the last great Irish estates still in the hands of its founding family, the Leslie Family. who bought it in the 16th century. Located in County Monaghan, Castle Leslie Estate blends right in with the vibrant landscape of gentle hills and glistening lakes, while the charming market town of like Glaslough is just a four-leaf-clover throw away.

It’s said that Jonathan Swift used to write in the library at Castle Leslie Estate . Sir Paul McCartney married Heather Mills on the lake and even Mick Jagger has vacationed here. Now it’s your turn.

The former hunting lodge, a cosy grey-stone building, now houses 50 bedrooms. The castle has twenty one uniquely appointed guest rooms and a charming two-bedroom home in the old stable mews.

If you’re looking for aristocratic flair, four poster beds, crackling fire comfort, all wrapped up with modern amenities and superb dining, you might want to add Castle Leslie Estate to your list of must-stay hotels in Ireland.

 

Castle Leslie Estate

Ashford Castle

The 800-year-old Ashford Castle is remarkable, not just for its grand food looks and stunning surrounding on 350-acres at the edge Lough Corrib inCounty Mayo, but also for its national significance as the former home of the Guinness family. Yes, that Guinness.

The  medieval and Victorian castle still retains an old-timey atmosphere, with  suits of armor, dark wood, fireplaces that large enough to roast beasts, and chairs that have seen a few bums over their centuries. Since becoming a hotel in 1970, Ashford Castle has been expanded and modernized, and is now a popular  5-star luxury hotel and resort, near the small village of  Cong, which you should stroll to for a night at the pub.

The grounds are also home to Ireland’s first falconry school. You can also take a morning boat tour, ride horses, play a round on the nine-hole golf course, and unwind in the spa.

The 83 sumptuous rooms that are at once elegant, historic and up-to-date, which makes it just right for a modern royal’s visit.

 

Ashford Castle on the edge of  Lough Corrib once belonged to the Guinness Family

Ballyfin

Probably one of the best hotel experiences you’ll have on the Emerald Isle is a stay at Ballyfin.  Only sixty miles from Dublin airport, this 5-Star Relais & Chateaux country house hotel is what Irish dreams are made of and starts the minute you pull through the gate and up to the long drive to the front door. Staff will likely be standing outside, waving you into the decedent home where where world class service, fine art, and incredible food collide under one sumptuous roof

With  only a handful of rooms on the vast 614 acre estate, you’ll soon feel like this is your private country house. Explore the grounds with a walk around the lake or take a golf cart further afield. Try on some period clothing from the costume collection, indulge in some archery, horseback riding or have the staff arrange a Ballyfin picnic, set up at the place of your choosing.

There are also spa treatments and a fully-equipped gym, along with countless pieces of art to admire, books to page through and furnishing to sink into as you wander, wide-eyed, room to room.

In the elegant restaurant, diners are treated to dishes that pull from Ballyfin’s eight acres of walled garden, where a rich variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs are tended to by Ballyfin’s team of gardeners.

To call Ballyfin extraordinary is an understatement.

Idyllic and extraordinary Ballyfin 

 

 

Author bio: Elaine Pilley

Kevin Pilley
Kevin Pilley is a former professional cricketer and ex-chief staff writer of PUNCH magazine. His work appears worldwide. He has been published in over 800 titles. Allegedly. He lives in Wales and collects roses.

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