Go big or come home: luxury stays in Ireland
Anyone who’s bought a Loto ticket has probably fantasized about all the amazing places they’ll go as soon as their numbers drop out of the barrel. Covid may have ruined that fantasy for us for now, as severe travel restrictions mean private sunny islands in distant oceans remain off-limits.
But an inability to travel far shouldn’t rob us of all of our irrelevant dreams of money. For honeymoons, big celebrations, or that elusive Loto win, Ireland is rather well served with lavish and luxurious vacation options to help you push the boat while keeping your feet firmly planted on this land.
It won’t be much of a surprise when we say that Ashford Castle isn’t the place for you if you’re looking for a cheap break. You can’t stay at one of Ireland’s best hotels without paying generously for all of this exceptional service.
This summer, the castle offers the ultimate in luxury stays. Stay four nights and enjoy what will surely be the best breakfasts you’ll have all year round, as well as four evening meals and wine tasting in the cellar. But there is more. They will also come to your house, pick you up and then take you home when you are done.
If you want to be transferred to a run-of-the-mill old car – in fact, we think it will be a pretty fancy car – the cost for two people for the four nights is € 4,280. But if you’ve just won the Euromillions or are a member of U2 and don’t feel like driving – it’s about a three hour door-to-door drive from Dublin – they’ll pick you up by helicopter and will get you home in the same way. path. And the price of the four nights? It is 11,480 €. We thought we would want to keep the helicopter for that kind of money until we realized that to buy one we had to shell out $ 2.5m – and then a lot more for maintenance and courses. piloting.
If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I would love to have a whiskey-themed vacation in some really dark places,” then we’ve got some great news for you. The people of Sexton whiskey have teamed up with travel agency Travel Matters to create “an eccentric twist on the classic Irish staycation”. This seven-day tour includes three of Ireland’s darkest places “offering the perfect conditions for moonlight sightseeing and night-inspired cocktails”.
There will be two nights at Liss Ard Estate in Co Cork, near Castlehaven Bay and Lough Hyne, which will include kayaking by starlight. As twilight turns into darkness, the sight of the rising moon will be paired with a light show of bioluminescence from algae underwater.
From Skibbereen, you can expect to be driven to the Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve, the only gold level dark sky reserve in the northern hemisphere, and the best place to see the stars on the Wild Atlantic Way. You will stay three nights at the Park Hotel in Kenmare. Then on to Mayo and Dark Sky Park and a two night stay at Ashford Castle where, alas, there won’t be a helicopter to take you home this time around.
Packages for the seven-day tour start from € 5,059 for two and you can expect “the most Instagrammable moments” to rival any holiday abroad.
Another type of stargazing can be expected at the edge of the cliff. And it’s pretty Instagrammable too. First there is a merry one at the five star Cliff House in Waterford, followed by a second at the Cliff at Lyons in Kildare. Hotels have three Michelin stars between them and every bite of food will make you swoon. The Cliff Table is an indulgent four-night stay, including two nights at each hotel, with full Irish breakfast each morning for two and dinner each evening, including one night at each hotel’s two Michelin-starred restaurants.
Aimsir, two Michelin stars from the Kildare property, explores the Irish pantry, celebrating what can be sown and harvested, fished and gathered on the island of Ireland. At Cliff at Lyons, you can also enjoy classic Sean Smith cuisine in the new restaurant, The Mill, on your second night. Your two-night stay at the Cliff House Hotel will allow you to experience the elegant cuisine of Executive Chef Ian Doyle, who brought a fresh and exciting approach to the House Restaurant upon his arrival in 2020.
The Cliff Table experience costs from € 2,193 for two people, sharing a sea view room in Ardmore and a lilypond room in Lyon, with rates varying depending on the season and the availability of the room type. .
A Straffagant stay
A stay at Straffan House, the private residence of the K Club, might give you an idea of how the remaining 0.00001 percent live. It is said to be “palate and elegant, modeled on a magnificent Château de Louveciennes to the west of Paris, not far from Versailles”.
The 10 bedroom house can accommodate at least 20 people who could celebrate the fact that they are allowed to meet inside for the first time in forever. You won’t need to lift a finger throughout your stay, pampered by 24-hour butler service and a private chef, as well as your own dedicated housekeeper and concierge.
On the lower ground floor is the private pool with hand-painted murals and its own swim-up bar, lit by a sparkling sky full of tiny stars created by subtle ambient lighting – obviously. There is a private gym and spa, game room and wine cellar and the house also has a lush red velvet covered cinema room with reclining chairs, digital screen and sound system. Bose surround.
The stay includes a full Irish breakfast, lunch, tea, coffee, homemade cookies and cakes, soft drinks and snacks, an aperitif and dinner. You will need to be taken home in other words.
The home is built on a 550 acre estate and has two Arnold Palmer designed championship golf courses with rounds included as ‘free’ with any stay, if golf is your thing and you can tear yourself away from all of them. treats.
With 10 rooms in total, spread over three floors and the guest house, a Straffan House stay is € 20,000. Yes this is charge per night, with a minimum stay of three nights. So if our flimsy math is anything to do, that would bring the total cost to 60,000. The price does not include alcohol.
Dublin can be heaven
By comparison, a night at the Merrion Hotel in Dublin seems like a bargain, even when a meal at one of the best restaurants in the country adds to the mix.
The hotel has put together a package that includes one night at the hotel and a bottle of chilled champagne in your room on arrival as well as a full Irish breakfast the next morning in your room or in the Garden Room if you are staying. want to see other people. After champagne and before breakfast, a four-course à la carte dinner for two at the two-Michelin-starred Patrick Guilbaud restaurant, and a full body or facial massage for two at Merrion Spa. There will also be bikes on hand if you fancy a ride around the city and all of its chic new cycle paths. And the price of a night for two people? A good deal at € 990.
Bally’s best night
Ballyfin may not be able to accommodate as many people as the upscale K-Club house, but it’s still quite chic. Its romantic packages allow loving couples to explore the estate on a bicycle designed for two, take a boat trip on the lake, and ride to a tower, caves, and walled gardens. Guests can enjoy an early evening rose petal bubble bath with champagne and strawberries before relaxing in the library with an aperitif followed by dinner in the State Dining Room.
The package is based on full board and includes lunch or afternoon tea on the day of arrival, teas, coffees with homemade cakes and cookies, soft drinks, an aperitif, a gourmet dinner and a minibar with soft drinks in the room, and tips. And what is the price? Well, the cost of a night during the summer months starts at € 1,350 and goes up to € 2,570 for anyone wishing to stay in what the hotel calls Gardener’s Cottage, although we suspect that It’s been a long time since nobody threw their rubber boots on after a day of work at the door.
If you’re going to be staying for a week at what might just be Ireland’s largest hotel – it’s almost certainly the one steeped in the biggest dollop of history – and money isn’t an issue, then you you might as well stay in one of the Shelbourne Hotel’s signature suites. Named after famous former guests, the suites feature a bedroom and living room with views of St Stephen’s Green and impressive marble bathrooms.
The cost per night of a suite is € 1,680 for bed and breakfast, so the total cost of our fantastic week is already north of € 11,500 before we had a bite of the famous afternoon tea. – Shelbourne’s midday, which we might as well have while we’re at it. When we added up the cost of meals and drinks at the hotel over the course of a week, we think we could easily blast 14,000 guts – which would be awesome, if only we had it.
Ireland is spoiled for choice when it comes to chic castles to splurge on. Dromoland is the best of them. You can choose a suite and make yourself comfortable to be pampered.
You should expect champagne and petits fours on arrival, after which you can take out the golf cart – which is reserved for you privately – to take a tour of the grounds. In fact, come to think of it, maybe you should go out in a buggy before you jump into the champagne? You can then look forward to a candlelit dinner in the Earl of Thomond Restaurant, one night and then breakfast. The castle falconer will be at your disposal to give you a private falconry lesson and you can end your stay with a “decadent picnic for two in [Dromoland’s] enchanting walled garden ”before your departure. And the price ? Some € 2,435 for a suite for the night.
Mark your cards
As we are all no doubt tired of hearing, it is a summer in the great outdoors. When it comes to alfresco dining and drinking in Dublin, it’s very, very difficult to get past the roof of the Marker Hotel with its panoramic views of the city below and chic cocktails and delicious food, all served with the elegance that you five star hotel. In addition to the rooftop, there are also chic interior spaces, a chic spa, and an excellent restaurant chaired by Gareth Mullins. Seeing that we were pushing the boat, we decided to book – in our dreams, anyway – a corner suite with a view for an entire week in August. A nightly rate of € 405.50 would bring the cost to € 2,499, which is probably much less than it will be when well-heeled foreign visitors return to us.