Escape for a weekend of indulgence at a spa hotel steps away from the shores of the Atlantic, or get out on the green at a golfing resort. Choose from guest rooms and suites with views out over the water, or self-catering cottages nestled in acres of lawns to cosy down in after a wander on the beach. With roaring log fires, inviting pubs and fine-dining restaurants, these hotels are just the place for luxury anniversary celebrations and casual long-weekend breaks.
Seven beach hotels in Ireland for a sublime seaside break
A beach hotel in Ireland near idyllic Howth
For a blissful seaside break, head to Portmarnock Hotel. Directly on the seafront and nestled between Howth and Malahide, there’s no shortage of sandy dunes and quaint streets to wander. Take in the views of the rugged green landscape and sea with a game on the hotel’s 18-hole championship links golf course.
Each guest room looks out over the sea, gardens or golf course, so you can take five and breathe in the atmosphere from the privacy of your room. Luxuriate in the walk-in shower before settling into your plush bed. White leather and wooden headboards, as well as polished glass and metal furniture, bring a modern touch. Getting ready for a special dinner? Visit the spa and try the Yam and Pumpkin peel to leave your skin glowing – massages, scrubs, facials and waxing and tinting are also available.
The 1780 Restaurant is impressive for a birthday or anniversary. Overlooking the courtyard, the view is tranquil, and the menu offers fine-dining options such as tempura monkfish. Afterwards, make for the Jameson Bar – named after the famous whiskey dynasty which once owned the building. Cosy down in a tartan armchair by the fire with your usual, or find a new favourite by tagging onto a Whiskey Island tasting session.
Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links
A beach hotel in Ireland with a seawater spa
Check in for a weekend of tranquillity at the Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa. Inspired by the Atlantic Ocean, the Island Spa incorporates seawater into its treatments to leave your skin rejuvenated. Sit back in the seawater therapy pool or try an algae wrap, which detoxifies your skin. Massages, facials and body scrubs are also on the menu.
Once you’ve found your zen, drop by the lounge and sink into a soft armchair by the open fire. Challenge your travel partner to a game of chess or choose a book from the library. For a more adventurous afternoon, speak to the front desk about whale-watching tours from Courtmacsherry harbour. Or you can get out on the water with a surfing lesson – the hotel has partnered with Inchydoney Surf School to help you master the waves. Afterwards, satisfy your appetite at the nautical-themed Dunes Pub with dishes like the seafood sharing board: tiger prawns, garlic and ginger crab claws and spicy Cajun-fried calamari.
The cliff-side location means you can glimpse the Atlantic from most guest rooms – each one has a balcony or terrace for listening to the rolling waves before bed. In the morning, freshen up with your complimentary Elemis toiletries and a coffee from your Nespresso machine.
Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa
A beach hotel in Ireland on Ballycotton Bay
Whisk a loved one away for a weekend of pampering at Garryvoe Hotel. You can brave the brisk sea air, then hunker down with a hot chocolate in front of the log fires. There are plenty of opportunities for indulgence in the health club. Slip into the outdoor hot tub or unwind with a session in the steam room.
Be sure to explore the maze of rooms in the Samphire Social Eating Space. Teal and gold walls pop, while intriguing features such as stag antlers and modern and classic artworks create a gallery. Settle into a leather sofa or velvet armchair and fill up on dishes like fresh Ballycotton seafood paella. The library comes to life on Friday and Saturday nights with Live in the Library hosting local and national jazz, folk and rock artists.
For your nightcap, sip a whiskey by the roaring fire in the Cave Bar. Then, head up to bed in your sea or hill-view room; the hotel sits on the sweeping Ballycotton Bay. Cream walls make for a calming environment, while deep carpets and floral bedspreads bring a touch of home. Upgrade to a Junior Suite to watch the sun sink into the ocean from your private balcony.
A beach hotel in Ireland with estuary views
At the Grand Hotel Malahide, you’re mere footsteps from the serene Velvet Way. You’re so close, in fact, that you can see the estuary from the hotel’s Coast Restaurant window. Book a table to treat a loved one to an evening of fine dining – black truffle tortellini and lava cake are just two tempting titles on the menu – while you watch boats bob on the peaceful waters.
Upstairs, rooms are as grand as the hotel’s name, with splashes of gold mingling with the calming blue and grey decor. Deep carpets and framed pictures above the headboards add a homely touch. To really impress on an anniversary weekend away, request a room with a sea view and watch the rolling waves of Malahide beach from bed with a fresh coffee.
After a brisk walk on the sands, head to the Arena Leisure Centre and dip into the 21 metre pool. Surrounded by Grecian statues and greenery, it’s an idyllic spot for an afternoon of pampering. Warm up in the steam room or sauna and unwind in the Jacuzzi. Massages are available in the beauty centre to take your moment of indulgence a step further.
A cosy beach hotel in Ireland with family entertainment
With cosy armchairs and a tasty menu of pub classics, JC’s Bar at the Downings Bay Hotel is a homely spot to warm up in after a stroll along the beach (a few minutes’ walk away). Settle down with a freshly ground coffee or a plate of something warming like surf ‘n’ turf followed by sticky toffee pudding. Fed and watered, head up to your room, which is equally snug: think tartan throws, plush carpets and tufted headboards.
Kids can let off steam at the hotel’s Kidz Kingdom – a maze of slides, ball pools and trampolines – before you gather the family for a walk at Glenveagh National Park, around a 30 minute drive away. There are plenty of family-friendly walking trails here. To start you off, try the Lakeside Walk or take shelter with a tour of the Victorian castle. As the hotel sits on the Wild Atlantic Way, you can also explore the famous coastal touring route.
The entertainment doesn’t stop back at your hotel. The grown-ups can head to the Empire Club, where disco classics play every Wednesday and Saturday night. Live local bands perform regularly, too, so sit back and be entertained with a tipple of your choice. Fancy a night off? Babysitting can be arranged with the front desk.
Downings Bay Hotel
A homely beach hotel in Ireland
At Sandhouse Hotel & Marine Spa, you don’t have to go outside to enjoy the benefits of the seaside. Simply head to the Marine Spa – treatments here use luxury Voya products, which capture the rejuvenating qualities of seaweed. Drift away in an organic seaweed bath or relax with a seaweed hot-stone massage. The menu includes facials, wraps and scrubs as well as beauty treatments like waxing, tinting, manicures and pedicures.
Guest rooms are welcoming, with traditional floral wallpapers and oak beds. Choose from a view over the hills or sea. Rosewood furniture and oil paintings bring vintage charm, while modern amenities like widescreen TVs mean you can snuggle down in bed with the comforts of home.
Take in the sweeping views of Rossnowlagh Beach from the Surfers’ Bar. This casual drinking spot opens up directly onto the sands and there’s live entertainment at the weekends. Top off a shoreside walk or a surfing lesson with a pint of IPA while you get to know the locals. For a celebratory dinner, book a table at the Glasshouse Restaurant. Dishes like wild Irish venison use ingredients sourced from suppliers in and around Donegal including McGinty’s and Starcrest Seafoods.
The Sandhouse Hotel & Marine Spa
A historic beach hotel in Ireland
Taking its name from the 19th-century explorer, spy and politician – not to mention former mayor of Youghal – the Walter Raleigh is steeped in history. The white facade sits peacefully on the promenade of Front Strand beach, and the building’s Georgian charm runs throughout. Guest rooms are traditional, with antique furniture and high-backed armchairs by the windows. Request a sea view to hear the waves crash against the shore in the morning.
Start your coastal break with a walk on Front Strand beach, then roam a little further to Claycastle beach, a 6 minute drive away. Just along the coast from here are the pebble-strewn dunes of Redbarn. Explorations complete, rest up by the fire at the Walter. Try local seafood such as the Ballycotton Bay cod and finish with a warming desert like apple crumble. Facing the sea, with dark wood furnishings and soft lighting, the pub makes a cosy backdrop for a casual meal.
Prepare for another day of beach walks or spotting kingfishers and ruffs at Ballyvergan Marsh with breakfast at the Blackwater Restaurant. A hearty bowl of home-made ‘The Walter’ granola or home-baked soda bread will set you up for the day. To finish, take your freshly brewed coffee onto the balcony with a view over the horizon.