10 Hotels With Gorgeous Gardens To Explore - The Gloss Magazine

10 Hotels With Gorgeous Gardens To Explore

Whether you’re an amateur or professional gardener, these hotels and their gorgeous gardens will refresh the mind, spirit and body…

Killeavy Castle Estate, Co Armagh

Killeavy Caste Estate is all about its surroundings – 365 acres of farm and woodland bordering Slieve Gullion, defined as a UNESCO Global Geopark and an area of outstanding natural beauty. The walled garden at Killeavy Castle is particularly pretty and everything produced in its vegetable plots (and on the farm) is served in the hotel’s excellent farm-to-fork restaurant, Gullion at Killeavy. There is a range of accommodation on offer – from rooms in the 19th-century castle to a collection of one-to-six-bedroom self-catering residences. I stayed in the boutique hotel where clean lines, floor-to-ceiling windows and the decor reflect the (soothing) landscape. Currently on offer is a two-night Nurturing Nature Retreat on June 16-18 which coincides with the summer solstice and includes a daily two-hour forest bathing immersion in Slieve Gullion with a certified Shinrin You (forest bather) as well as all meals at the restaurant. Don’t leave without experiencing the superb spa facilities. From €775 for two people, www.killeavycastle.com

Burtown House and Gardens, Co Kildare

Once the centre of a 2,000 acre estate built for Robert Power, High Sheriff of Kildare, Burtown House & Gardens has been in the Fennell family since the 18th century, and is close to the Quaker village of Ballytore. The gardens are made up of several areas, including large herbaceous borders, shrubberies, a rock garden, a yew walk divided by a pergola, a sundial garden, an old orchard, a more formal stable yard garden and a large woodland garden surrounded on all sides by water. This woodland, known as the Nutgrove, has a fine collection of candelabra primulas, hostas, ferns and iris, among other plants. There are many old roses, peonies and clematis, while the walled vegetable garden has been in continuous production for over 150 years. The gardens are open to the public from Wednesday to Sundays (admission is from €8). Should you wish to stay, owners James and Jo Fennell, have decorated the Stable Yard House accommodation with character and charm. The house and rooms, suitable for up to eight people, cost from €320, and are full of family art and antiques, giving an old-world feel with cosy touches like open fires, wood burning stoves and an Aga in the kitchen. The separate Studio Apartment sleeps two people, from €190; both can be rented together or separately. All guests of the Stable Yard have access to the garden. www.burtownhouse.ie

The K Club, Co Kildare

Since 1832, the 550-acre estate has been synonymous with the good life. Its history began with the Barton family when Hugh Barton moved back to Ireland from France to Straffan and built Straffan House (which now forms a part of The K Club Hotel) and the gardens around it. These gardens have remained unchanged and untouched, and are a mix of formal and semi-formal gardens surrounded by a styled landscape of natural planting. The formal gardens are overlooked by The Garden Room terrace and feature many unusual specimen trees. These include a Lawson Cypress and a Tulip tree, as well as Elm, Pedunculate or Common Oak and White Willow. Several of the specimen trees on the resort are either county or Irish champions for their height or girth. Shrubs and flowers grow in abundance along the walkway, including the Straffan snowdrop, unique to the estate and discovered in the 1880s by the then head gardener, Frederick Burford. A new breed of narcissus, Cill Dara, was also introduced in November 1992. Another notable tree is a Weeping Beech tree, planted along the 16th green of Palmer North golf course to mark the accession to the throne in 1901 of King Edward VII of England. Other distinguished trees in the area of the arboretum include a Giant Redwood, the largest growing tree in the world. Why not enjoy during an overnight stay with breakfast, from €329. www.kclub.ie

Dromoland Castle, Co Clare

Based on designs by Andre Le Notre, who planned the Gardens at Versailles, you’ll find unexpected features at every turn in the garden at Dromoland Castle. Its tended by Head Gardener Dorothea Madden who came to Dromoland in early 1989 and has done much to reclaim the space. At that time the walled garden was overgrown, the lawns had fallen into grassland and the pathways were barely visible.The roses were in situ but needed attention and the surrounding walls were in disrepair. It took Dorothea and her team two years to restore the walled garden to its present glory – she visited other walled gardens in the country for ideas and inspiration including Birr Castle and Kylemore Abbey. Few can step into this lovely enclosure now without being struck by its splendour, or leave without feeling a sense of contentment and ease. Currently on offer is a Discover Dromoland offer, from €716, which includes an overnight stay, breakfast and dinner in the Earl of Thomond Restaurant with complimentary use of the leisure centre, pool, bicycles and tennis court. It’s also a chance to enjoy a walk around the 500-acres of woodland and gardens. www.dromoland.ie

Fernhill House & Gardens, Co Cork

This historic Georgian mansion is set on 13 acres of outstanding gardens, designed by former RHS Chelsea gold medal winner, Mary Reynolds. The owners, the O’Neill family, believe in gardening organically and enhancing biodiversity where possible. There are four parts to the grounds including the formal wedding garden, permaculture forest, wild river valley and Victorian walled kitchen garden. With such a stunning backdrop, it is no surprise Fernhill is popular for weddings and private events – its wisteria-adorned Garden Marquee is available all year round and there is a private Marriage Garden too. The gardens inspire everything?at Fernhill including their own gin and food which features produce from the kitchen garden, orchard and herb garden. An overnight break is from €250. www.fernhillhousehotel.com

Marlfield House, Co Wexford 

Marlfield House has multiple pleasures – a gorgeous conservatory which serves as a dining room, beautiful bedrooms including some special hideaways or Pond Suites, and a luscious setting. Its 40 acres of manicured?gardens include a large kitchen garden, woodland walks, a lake and fowl reserve, lawns and herbaceous borders. I particularly enjoy dining in its casual Duck Restaurant which overlooks the fragrant rose and kitchen gardens. The interiors of the hotel brings the outside in too – the house is always filled with fresh flowers, gleaming antiques and mirrors, blazing fires and period paintings. It’s a personal favourite for a rejuvenating overnight escape. Accommodation with breakfast is from €126. www.marlfieldhouse.com

Enniscoe House, Co Mayo 

Enniscoe has been described as “the last Great House of North Mayo” and overlooks Lough Conn. It has remained in the same family since the 1650s and the present owner Susan Kellett and her son, DJ, are happy to share the house and grounds with guests. The gardens are open to the public until October, from Tuesday to Sunday. Pop in and enjoy the parkland, shrubberies, miles of woodland and lakeside walks as well as a carefully restored Victorian pleasure garden and organic vegetable garden. Better still, book in for an overnight stay, from €115 per person sharing. Good food, freshly prepared, uses fruit and vegetables from the garden as well as other local produce. www.enniscoe.com

Killashee House Hotel, Co Kildare

Killashee is perfectly situated as a base to explore some historic houses and gardens on the East Coast. However, its own gardens are notable too and include the Fountain Gardens and a historic Nuns Cemetery and orchard dating back to the hotel’s time as a convent for La Sainte Nuns. There’s also a pretty Butterfly Garden, created in association with Debra Ireland and the Jack & Jill Foundation, which was opened by Emma Fogarty, Patient Ambassador of Debra Ireland. It was Elaine’s dream to have a peaceful butterfly garden for patients of EB, or Epidermolysis bullosa, a rare disease that causes the skin to blister easily. A focal point of the garden is its fountain – every coin thrown into it goes to Debra Ireland. Currently, there’s a new spring break at Killashee, “The Suite Life” which includes an overnight stay in an elegant suite, a bottle of wine and graze box, a three-course dinner and a full Irish breakfast, costing €300. www.killasheehotel.com

Stauntons on the Green, Dublin 2

One of the most pleasant urban gardens is that at Stauntons on the Green – a beautifully maintained haven at the back of this elegant townhouse, featuring mature trees, sculptures and a water feature. The patio area is lovely for relaxing with a book or a sundowner, while residents also have a secret entrance to the Iveagh Gardens. Of course, St Stephen’s Green is just opposite the hotel, so there is plenty of floral inspiration in the surrounding area. I’ve stayed many times and particularly recommend one of the garden rooms which have their own private little terraces – perfect for listening to the birdsong in the morning and evening. As I’ve said before, this boutique hotel is a great all-rounder with an impressive art collection and superior breakfast. Overnight stays cost from €199.www.stauntonsonthegreen.ie

Lis na Carrig, Co Dublin

If you are looking for a secret garden on the outskirts of the city, then Lis na Carrig is a real gem. In theory it’s not a hotel, rather a Victorian mansion set on six acres of private manicured gardens in South Dublin, which can accommodate up to twelve guests in six ensuite bedrooms (three have their own balconies). The vibe is cosy, comfortable and chic – the drawing room, dining room, private cinema, play den, yoga room and billiards rooms cater for every mood and occasion. The grounds include a walled garden, private putting green and a treehouse and playground overseen by head gardener, Shane, who is passionate about plants and people. He is co-founder of Aventine Gardens – Lis na Carrig’s non-profit organisation, and has founded his own mindfulness venture, Gardening for the Mind. Guests can enjoy the organic harvest from the polytunnel and vegetable patch and honey from the resident beehives throughout their stay. In addition to exceptional amenities, the team can organise private dining experiences, wellness walks, yoga, reiki and holistic massages which offer an extra layer of relaxation to any stay. Lis na Carrig operates as a private rental; the price is from €14,000 per week. www.lisnacarrig.com

For more hotels with lovely gardens, see the May issue of THE GLOSS, out today with The Irish Times.


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