It’s the lavish extras that transform a good hotel into an extraordinary one: think award-winning restaurants, softly lit spas that exude tranquility or extravagant rooms with sweeping views and sumptuously squashy beds. Ranging from secluded country havens to chic city-centre hideaways, here are our favourite 4 and 5-star destinations to satisfy any cravings for a little indulgence.
Luxury hotels in Ireland for a weekend of lavish living
A luxury hotel in Ireland close to the heart of Dublin
A 15-minute drive from Dublin’s city centre will bring you to the tranquil Intercontinental Hotel Dublin. Discover a cocoon of relaxation in the hotel’s luxury ESPA spa: you’ll find four splendid treatment rooms, as well as a serene sauna and steam room. Allow yourself to be pampered with a muscle-melting massage or a soothing reflexology treatment. If you’re feeling energised after a morning of treatments, spend the afternoon taking gentle exercise in the 45ft indoor swimming pool or bask in the natural sunlight that streams in from the poolside conservatory.
Set in two acres of elegantly landscaped gardens, this relaxing haven is also conveniently close to a number of nearby restaurants, friendly pubs and boutique shops. However, the hotel’s Seasons restaurant is the place to be when you want a more intimate meal. Tuck into seasonal cuisine such as seared duck and vanilla-poached rhubarb or dive into ‘bottomless’ Sunday brunch beneath cascading chandeliers, with views of the quaint courtyard terrace below.
After a day exploring Dublin’s sights, return to your spacious room, featuring refined jewel tones and luxuriant fabrics like crushed velvet throws and armchairs. All 197 rooms at the Intercontinental Hotel Dublin embrace an opulent and contemporary feel, with pampering deep-soak baths, Italianate white marble bathrooms and floor-to-ceiling windows offering views of the neighbourhood’s historic houses and iconic stone bridge.
A luxury hotel in Ireland perched on the banks of a tranquil lake
The 18th-century Glenlo Abbey Hotel, which stands castle-like by Ireland’s largest lake, has been recently refurbished to include a host of luxury finishing touches – think Italian marble bathrooms and a double AA rosette restaurant. There are a number of attractive outdoor features too: in this expansive 138-acre estate, you’ll find a 9-hole championship golf course designed by Irish professional Christy O’Connor Jnr, as well as a peaceful walled garden. With such luxury on your doorstep, it’s easy to imagine you’re the Lord or Lady of the Manor for an afternoon – try your hand at archery or falconry to really get into the part.
The star of the show, however, might just be the award-winning Pullman Restaurant. Discover old-world elegance aboard two original carriages from the Orient Express, refitted as a restaurant and nestled within the hotel’s vast, tree-scattered grounds. Among ornate wood panelling, plush patterned upholstery and vintage curtains, dine on indulgent classics such as hearty Irish beef fillet or fresh tuna steak served with white pudding.
Once you’ve sated your appetite, head to your comfortable room or suite and relax atop ultra-soft down feather cushions and dreamy pillow-top mattresses.
A family-run luxury hotel in Ireland with homely touches
The historic Dunraven Arms seamlessly combines a welcoming atmosphere with a refined sense of style. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the award-winning Maigue Restaurant: in a setting distinguished by twinkling chandeliers, ornately carved furniture and gilded gold-framed paintings, sample hearty fare such as roast rib of beef cut before you on an elegant tableside trolley. In the morning, help yourself to an array of hearty fare at the breakfast buffet – the succulent Limerick ham, in particular, has seen the restaurant win the accolade of ‘Best Breakfast in Ireland’.
Afterwards, pay a visit to the sedate spa, which features botanical touches like decorative dried flowers for a nature-inspired ambience. Reinvigorate your body and boost circulation with a 60-minute Swedish massage, reveal new and healthy skin with an exfoliating body scrub, or treat yourself to a manicure.
A luxury hotel in Ireland on a vast country estate
The award-winning Farnham Estate Spa and Golf Resort is nestled within a 1,300-acre estate just outside the quaint town of Cavan. If you’re looking for a luxurious countryside retreat where the pace of everyday life truly slows down, you’ve found it: enjoy long strolls among ancient forests, peaceful lakes and meadows filled with wildflowers. Last but not least, the 19-hole golf course will keep keen sportsmen entertained.
Make your next stop the soothing, adults-only spa, named the Global Winner Luxury Countryside Spa in the 2018 World Luxury Spa Awards. Begin outdoors in the serene infinity pool where you can swim level with the treetops, before reclining in the Finnish sauna or thermal suite, which uses zingy mint water to awaken the senses. Try out a range of pampering ESPA treatments, including nourishing facials, massages, scrubs and wraps. End your experience in the cave-like salt inhalation room – salt therapy is said to be beneficial for the respiratory system and can help improve sleep and reduce stress.
After an indulgent afternoon, return to your airy room overlooking the 16th-century estate’s manicured grounds and rolling hills beyond. A good night’s sleep is taken seriously here: you’ll receive a fresh delivery of milk and cookies every day, as well as an evening turndown service with relaxing pillow mist and hand-crafted artisan chocolates.
A luxury hotel in Ireland in a castle with a sea view
Since 1832, the majestic Abbeyglen Castle Hotel has overlooked the sparkling waters of Clifden Bay and the rolling hills of Connemara – described by Oscar Wilde as a place of ‘savage beauty’. Savour complimentary tea and fresh scones as you admire this view from the castle’s turret-lined rooftop. It’s easy to lose yourself in the timeless idyll of the surrounding landscape: kayak on placid waters to discover secluded coves, take a walk through gentle heathland or get competitive on the hotel’s tennis court.
To completely unwind, visit the restful Wellness and Relaxation Centre. Here you can dedicate some quality time to yourself with a rejuvenating massage or facial, or a refreshing scrub or wrap. For serious indulgence, try the deeply hydrating coconut milk bath or a de-stressing scalp treatment. Deep tissue massages are customised to your needs, and will help to relieve stress and ease painful knots.
As evening draws in, you’ll be treated to complimentary champagne and canapés in the candlelit piano bar. Afterwards, retire to your luxury suite to recline in a regal four-poster bed, soothe tired muscles in a free-standing bath or savour a warming glass of Rioja by the open fire
A luxury hotel set in vast gardens
Set in a 64 acre estate, the picturesque Dunloe Hotel & Gardens overlooks the famous glacial Gap of Dunloe and the river Laune. Spend a carefree morning strolling through the grounds, and discover the atmospheric ruins of a 12th-century castle. After your walk, make a beeline for the indoor swimming pool for a few lengths, before relaxing in the balmy sauna to completely unwind.
After a day of exploring, freshen up in your Superior room, taking in scenic views of the countryside surrounding the hotel from your private balcony. Slip into the bath before relaxing in your fluffy bathrobe with a book and a mug of cocoa. The tranquil setting is reflected in the room decor – think soft neutrals alongside navy blue and moss green furnishings – while French doors let in lots of natural light. As dogs are allowed to stay in the hotel, your beloved pooch can be part of your weekend away, too.
The Killarney hotel bar is a warm and cosy space where you can enjoy a pre-dinner tipple – sip a Guinness while watching live music acts. The modern Grill Restaurant makes for a memorable evening where you’ll experience artistic cuisine produced from the top-notch local produce. Try dishes like pan-fried scallops with grapefruit and butter, followed by crispy pork belly with tiger prawns, washed down with a glass (or two) of Malbec. The restaurant’s chic design comprises high floor-to-ceiling windows, as well as sparkling chandeliers that scatter light across the room. With its elegant grey colour scheme, this place is a photo-ready environment for indulgence, especially with puddings such as strawberry gateaux with vanilla ice cream and strawberry curd.
A coastal luxury hotel in Ireland
The sumptuously cosy rooms at the coastal Maritime Hotel contrast with the venue’s distinctive contemporary architecture and the deep cobalt of Bantry Bay. Admire the views of sparkling, sapphire water and the surrounding mature woodland from your private balcony as the sun rises in the morning.
When relaxing with your partner or the girls is top of your agenda, pay a visit to the hotel’s Club Maritime Spa. Products lovingly crafted from Dead Sea minerals are used in the calming treatment rooms. Indulge in massages, facials and other luxurious treatments like a harmonising seaweed bath. Vitamin-rich mud facials will help to rebalance your skin and reveal a radiant complexion. Afterwards, submerge yourself in the generously-sized swimming pool or the bubbling Jacuzzi – both sit under a curved white ceiling that conjures up a Mediterranean feel.
When dinnertime rolls around, head to the candlelit Ocean Restaurant. Scarlet velvet seats, wood panelling and a feature wall of cut logs create an intimate atmosphere. True to its name, the restaurant offers delicious fresh seafood such as crispy cod goujons or fillets of plaice, crusted with herbs and served with buttery potatoes. Finish your meal with a rich sweet like warm chocolate brownie complemented by mint ice cream
A luxury boutique hotel in Northern Ireland
In the beating heart of the city, the refined Fitzwilliam Hotel is all about style. You notice it from the moment you step into one of the sleek, ultra-modern rooms, with its soft carpets in geometric designs, feature mirrors and mosaic-tiled bathrooms.
Upgrade to a signature room and soak your cares away in the rainfall shower before wrapping up in your complimentary robe and slippers and sinking into the super king-sized bed. Or choose a suite where you can linger over the newspapers in your plush private sitting area or soak in the freestanding bath.
Make your next stop the restaurant, which combines creative fine dining with vibrant contemporary design. Settle into an intimate, red leather booth surrounded by blond wood and warm lighting. Dishes use local produce to create bold flavours with delicate presentation: expect creations such as potted crab from Kilkeel with local scampi, confit tomato and compressed fennel or a deconstructed lemon meringue cheesecake.
Round off the evening with a nightcap at the hotel bar. Luxurious dark wood, intimate booths and hip copper accents create a lively and elegant environment. Expert mixologists can craft you an innovative cocktail in real crystal glasses: try a Bluebell, with vodka, blueberry Juice, cinnamon syrup and lemon juice, or a warming Honey Mackinnon, combining Drambuie, lemon juice, honey and ginger, topped with smoky Laphroaig whiskey.
If you’ve got an appetite for more nightlife, Belfast city centre is on your doorstep. Pop to the Grand Opera House next door for musicals, comedy and dance, stroll to the Harp Bar for some live music or head to Apartment where you can sip prosecco while floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of the grand Belfast City Hall.