The ultimate guide to the best staycations in ireland for summer 2021.
GALWAY STAYCATIONS 2021
For a city break or as a base to discover the Wild Atlantic Way, the so-called “City of Tribes” offers comfortable hospitality and outstanding cuisine at every price point …
Galway is a magnet for gourmets and as a base for discovering the Aran Islands too. Aran Island Ferries has just launched a frequent daily service to the islands, while Galway Bay Boat tours is a must-do. For more leisurely cruising, hop aboard the Corrib Princess which departs from Woodquay and heads out to Lough Corrib. Here’s where to stay:
Ard Bia At Nimmos
For fashion and food lovers two destinations are must-dos in Galway – Ard Bia At Nimmos restaurant which also stocks lovely jams, chutneys and chocolate – as well as The Tweed Project. The design duo have been working away on the new collection featuring bold colours and shoulders. The restaurant’s sister AirBnB is now taking bookings. It’s pretty and pared back – in keeping with the Ard Bia ethos – and allows for independence while providing inspiration for interiors fans too: www.airbnb.ie.
“Summer in the City” is a tempting two night offer at The House Hotel from €160 per person sharing. Comprising bed and breakfast with complimentary Cosmopolitans, it also includes €30 credit to spend on food and drink options at the popular hotel bar The Yard Kitchen. House Hotel is a great base from which to explore Eyre Square, the Spanish Arch, Galway Cathedral and Salthill – all a short walk away, as well as the iconic Latin Quarter, home to independent shops, pubs, and cafes, along with historic buildings; www.thehousehotel.ie.
The g Hotel & Spa
Luxurious and glamorous, the five-star g Hotel & Spa was meticulously designed by milliner Phillip Treacy. One of the packages it is currently offering is “The Ultimate Stay, Shop and Dine Experience”. This includes an overnight stay midweek in a superior room, a courtesy car to Brown Thomas where a personal shopper awaits, dinner for two people with a bottle of house wine in gigi’s – the award-winning AA Rosette restaurant. (Customers who spend over €100 in Brown Thomas will receive a complimentary goody bag to take home). This offer is from €160 per person sharing; www.theghotel.ie.
Glenlo Abbey Estate & Spa
On the outskirts of Galway city, the 138-acre lakeside golf estate is offering a selection of experiences this summer including the “Recapture Magic Moments” package. This is a celebratory night away during which Glenlo’s friendly team will go out of their way to ensure guests have the most memorable stay – with artisan sweet treats, a half bottle of champagne and a bouquet of flowers with personalised message upon arrival. The experience also includes à la carte breakfast in The River Room. Overnight rates are from €445 per room; www.glenloabbeyhotel.ie.
A Victorian grande dame, The Hardiman Hotel combines grace and luxury, and is located in the heart of the city. Its “Sweet Summer Staycation” is a two-night stay with breakfast each morning and an evening meal on one night. Other treats include complimentary prosecco and strawberries upon arrival. From €225 per person sharing; www.thehardiman.ie.
The Harbour Hotel has an enviable (and Instagrammable) waterfront location, just a few minutes from Eyre Square. Its “Rekindle” package includes two nights’ accommodation in an executive room, a chilled bottle of prosecco on arrival, a three course dinner for two on an evening of choice at Dillisk on The Docks, plus à la carte breakfast each morning. This experience costs from €412 per couple; www.harbour.ie.
One little book which is an invaluable guide to Galway is that produced by Galway Food Tours (devised by friends Sheena Dignam and Gosia Letowska) which launched last year. Now they’ve developed an innovative self-guided App, which has everything you need to know about the Galway hospitality scene, plus some discounts too. “Within the app there are videos chatting to all the amazing suppliers, producers and business owners we work with. Meaning that you get that real sense of place and of course that Galway buzz which is like no other,” explains Dignam. Some of the discount highlights include one of the best sourdough sandwiches in Galway from Tartare and a glass of wine at Ruibin on the docks. On Saturdays it’s Galway Market time and those world famous Boychik doughnuts. You can also enjoy vouchers when you head to Tigh Neachtains for a craft beer, or indulge in some Japanese cuisine in WA Sushi, or on gift items from Kai Restaurant (which is a must visit too). My tip? Don’t leave without a coffee at Coffeewerk + Press. The Galway Food Tours Self-Guided Pocket Book is €35 and is available to buy from McCambridges, Ard Bia Restaurant, Charlie Byrnes, Coffeewerk + Press and Tigh Neachtains. Happy exploring! www.galwayfoodtyours.com
CORK STAYCATIONS 2021
Here’s where to stay IN CORK CITY THIS SUMMER …
The Dean Cork
One of Ireland’s newest hotels, The Dean Cork has 113 rooms and a penthouse suite, as well as Sophie’s Rooftop Restaurant. Above reception you’ll find a bespoke design created by Irish artist Domino Whisker – perfect for an Insta post. As for the bedrooms, they include fully stocked Smeg fridges, Netflix-enabled smart TVs, an Irish Munchie Box filled with goodies, Marshal Amps, record players and vinyls, luxury toiletries and much more. Stays are from €150 per person for a one-night package, which includes bubbly on arrival, a three-course dinner in Sophie’s Rooftop with house wine, and breakfast the next morning. There’s also a midweek offer with early check-in (from 10am) and late checkout until 5pm the next day, €130; www.thedean.ie.
The Imperial Hotel
It’s 60 years since Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco stayed at The Imperial Hotel (on June 24), with their children Princess Caroline and Prince Albert. To celebrate this royal connection, the hotel has an anniversary special rate of €60 per person sharing exclusively on June 24. In addition there is a two-night Princess Grace-themed pampering package, €195 per person sharing, which includes a treat upon arrival, accommodation in an elegant room, dinner on one evening in Thyme and Afternoon Tea at La Fayettes. There’s also an indulgent “Graceful Escape” spa treatment which can be booked, costing €180. The hotel will also showcase archival records of the visit on its “wall of history” throughout the summer – why not pop in and have a look and enjoy the Princess Grace Afternoon tea, €60 for two people. This features pastries inspired by her favourite things such as a mini Hermes handbag, a perfume bottle and rose (her favourite scent, by the way, was Creed’s Fleurissimo!) www.imperialhotelcork.com
The River Lee
The team at The River Lee is offering a “Destination: Cork” getaway. This is a four-night stay in a spacious family room, with breakfast served each morning in the beautiful Mirror Room. Dinner on one night is included in the River Club which has beautiful views along the river. As part of the getaway, guests will also be given tickets to Nano Nagle Place Cultural Centre – a really wonderful cultural oasis close to the hotel that houses a museum, historical rooms, a stunning garden, gift shop and the popular Good Day Deli for a bite to eat or a treat with coffee. Continue the cultural tour with a trip to The Lewis Glucksman Gallery, located on the UCC campus, where guests can avail of a discount in the gallery gift shop. There are two children’s art packs included (for a rainy day) in this package which also offers a picnic and family passes for a Beyond The Glass Cork cycling tour. Prices start from €1,200; www.doylecollection.com/cork.
During lockdown the team at Hayfield Manor has been busy on renovation projects. There’s been a full refurbishment of a selection of bedrooms and the addition of a new relaxation area at The Beautique Spa, which offers a full range of Elemis treatments. Now ready for summer staycations, the hotel is offering a “Celebrate Missed Moments” package. This includes an overnight stay with breakfast, a four-course dinner with complimentary bottle of wine, as well as access to the indoor swimming pool, outdoor Jacuzzi, steam room and gym. From €376 per room per night; www.hayfieldmanor.ie.
The hotel’s “Ultimate Luxury Getaway” is a three-night romantic break, for €490 per person sharing. The experience starts with a bottle of chilled bubbly as a welcome gift, reserved dining on two of the evenings in the Panorama Bistro where you can watch the sunset over the harbour. This package also includes a gin cocktail making class made with The Montenotte’s own limited edition Botanical Gin, and a rejuvenating spa treatment. Guests can also enjoy a personal training session in Motion Health Club along with a self-guided tour of the museum at Nano Nagle Place with an ambassador offering background information before the start. The Montenotte guests particularly enjoy strolling along the quays, visiting the riverside gardens in Fitzgerald Park, walking over the famous “shakey” bridge or venturing further afield across the bay to Blackrock Castle. Other packages include The Montenotte’s Green Fingers Getaway – a one-night stay which includes a tour of its Victorian Gardens, from €239. All packages include use of The Montenotte’s in-house Cameo cinema and Motion Health Club. There is also the option to book a treatment at the Bellevue Spa where the Lavender and Sandalwood Serenity massage or customised Dermaviduals facial will complete any pampering stay; www.TheMontenotteHotel.com.
The Address Cork
The Address Cork is nestled into a hill at St Luke’s village and offers outstanding views over the city, as well as bright, spacious bedrooms and suites championing Irish design. Summer packages start from €179 for two people. This includes luxury accommodation, a complimentary cocktail on arrival, full Irish breakfast and a three-course evening meal in McGettigans Cookhouse. Other bonuses include some Lily O’Brien’s in-room treats, late checkout and a €20 “Return to Address” voucher off your next stay in any Address Collective Hotel. For children, The Address Cork offers a family package for an additional €30 per child; www.theaddresscork.com.
The Kingsley, overlooking the scenic River Lee, has a stylish two-day escape called “Reconnect at The Kingsley” for four people. Guests will have its two-storey penthouse to themselves which has a dining room, living room (with open fire), luxurious bathroom with sauna and a freestanding bath, plus a balcony overlooking the river. The package includes breakfast each morning, a Champagne afternoon tea, and a three-course evening meal in Fairbanks Restaurant, costing €1,274 in total; www.thekingsley.ie.
Oriel House Hotel
This four-star hotel located in Cork’s city centre is a mix of old and new, luxury and relaxation. Spacious guestrooms are the epitome of comfort. Packages start from €129 for couples and €199 for families, which include free access to Talbot Tigers Kids Club and Talbot Fitness leisure clubs as well as flexible booking options; www.talbotcollection.ie.
DUBLIN STAYCATIONS 2021
Contemporary, classic or cost effective – these summer staycation packages are not to be missed and provide the perfect opportunity to rediscover Dublin and its rich cultural history and fine cuisine. Not forgetting the chance for a much needed shopping spree too …
Check into Dublin’s most distinguished address where you’ll be pampered and thoroughly looked after by its friendly, meticulous staff. A must do is checking out No. 27 The Shelbourne Bar after its recent refurbishment, while enjoy some refreshments (and people-watching). Unwind further with a stroll around the Green, a few lengths of the pool or take off to the spa. Later, head chef Garry Hughes and his team will serve a three-course dinner in The Saddle Room, which is included in “The Shelbourne Escape” package. This is a one night break which includes breakfast, dinner and valet parking from €479 per room; www.TheShelbourne.com.
This summer, Conrad Dublin is inviting guests to enjoy an overnight experience with early check-in and late check-out which includes a guaranteed room upgrade, three-course dinner, breakfast the following morning, plus complimentary onsite car parking from €259 per double room per night. A bonus is you can bring your pooch. Conrad Dublin has pet friendly rooms – your pooch will be presented with a dog registration card as well as welcome gift and, if they are very well behaved, perhaps join the Hilton Honors rewards club! Guests also have access to the hotel gym, and the Terrace Kitchen & Social House – an amazing spot to enjoy views of the newly renovated piazza on Earlsfort Terrace and neighbouring National Concert Hall, where you can sit, sip and dine while watching the world pass by; www.conraddublin.com.
The Wilder Townhouse has just launched its “Dublin Reawakened” package. Just minutes from St Stephen’s Green and the Iveagh Gardens, it’s an ideal base to enjoy the capital. The overnight bed and breakfast package includes a private guided tour of the hidden gems of Dublin, venturing along the cobbles of Temple Bar and Trinity College, experiencing museums with some songs and stories along the way. Enjoy a cocktail after the tour on the hotel’s pretty terrace and take home a gift book of the city too. This package is from €390 based on two people sharing. Having stayed at The Wilder last summer, I know the team will have a few surprises in store for their lucky guests; www.thewilder.ie.
One of three tempting packages at The Westbury is “Make it Memorable with Bubbles and Cake”. This includes an overnight stay for two in an elegant bedroom, à la carte breakfast in Wilde the following morning, plus a decadent Bubbles and Cake experience with a glass of Perrier-Jouët Champagne in the stylish surroundings of The Gallery. Rates for two guests start at €345; www.doylecollection.com.
Looking for a seaside break? The Shoreline Hotel is nestled on the peninsula of Donabate on a 5km sandy beach overlooking the Irish Sea and Lambay Island. Currently offering a “Girls Night In” package, this relaxing getaway starts with Afternoon Tea and a glass of prosecco overlooking Dublin Bay. Indulge in a pre-dinner cocktail followed by a two-course meal in Shoreline Brasserie and then stay overnight in one of the hotel’s newly refurbished rooms. Enjoy a leisurely full Irish breakfast the following morning. From €225 for two adults sharing; www.shorelinehotel.ie.
The Clarence is offering a luxurious one-night “Dine and Stay” package. Guests can spend time relaxing in the newly refurbished lobby bar before enjoying a decadent three-course dinner in Cleaver East restaurant. The next morning tuck into a full cooked to order breakfast. From €125 per person; www.theclarence.ie.
Hard Rock Hotel Dublin
A music-inspired city escape, the “Dublin Calling” experience includes an overnight stay in one of its stylish bedrooms, with breakfast and dinner in Zampas Restaurant & Bar plus a second room for your friends to join you – absolutely free. Other bonuses include “The Sound of Your Stay” music programme, allowing you to set the mood with a complimentary playlist, a Crosley turntable and selection of vinyls, or rock out with a Fender guitar during an in-room jam session complete with an amp and headphones. There is also a special wellness programme “Rock Om”, an in-room yoga experience fusing yoga with upbeat music. Guests can also enjoy the hotel’s specially curated art collection which features artwork by Irish artists Jim Fitzpatrick, Duda, Helen O’Higgins and Neil Powell celebrating the heroes of Irish music and culture. Dublin Calling is available to book from €250; www.hardrockhotels.com/dublin.
Ideally located off Grafton Street, the boutique Brooks Hotel is perfect for a retail therapy staycation. Guests can check in early and enjoy tea or coffee with freshly baked scones and jam, before browsing the shops around Grafton Street or take a short walk to Henry Street or hop on the LUAS to Dundrum. Guests at Brooks Hotel receive exclusive discounts in selected stores on Drury and Exchequer streets, George’s Street Arcade and Powerscourt Townhouse. Guests can also use the hotel’s “shop and drop” – you can drop off shopping bags and a concierge will leave them in your room. Return to the hotel for a glass of prosecco, two-course evening meal in Francesca’s restaurant and relax in the private resident’s lounge. This package is €249 total stay based on two people sharing; www.brookshotel.ie.
The Fitzwilliam Hotel
The luxurious five-star Fitzwilliam Hotel is offering a midweek getaway, from €299 per room (Tuesday – Thursday) and from €399 at weekends. On arrival, guests can use the hotel’s complimentary car parking facilities, enjoy a glass of bubbles, before checking into a garden room which overlooks the hotel’s stylish courtyard. This summer experience includes a three-course dinner at the hotel’s fine dining restaurant Glovers Alley and breakfast the following morning. For a more casual dining experience, The Fitzwilliam Hotel also offers guests an overnight stay with casual dining from €249 per room (Monday – Sunday). The mid-week menu is served in a private booth of The Inn on the Green; www.fitzwilliamhoteldublin.com.
The Merrion Hotel
The fabulous “Five Star Steal” at this Georgian gem includes one night’s accommodation in a luxurious double room with a bottle of chilled champagne in your room upon arrival. Later enjoy a three-course dinner for two people from the “House Menu” in The Garden Room. Guests can enjoy complimentary access to The Merrion Health Club, with a leisurely breakfast the following morning. From €420 per room per night; www.merrionhotel.com.
The Devlin’s “All In Experience” is a two-night package which includes a welcome drink from from the award-winning Americana Bar, tickets to its on site movie theatre Stella Cinema, breakfast and a three-course evening meal in Layla’s Rooftop Restaurant on an evening of your choice. All areas of the hotel are highly Instagrammable, so make the most of your stay! From €225 per person based on two nights; www.thedevlin.ie.
BELFAST STAYCATIONS 2021
Condé Nast Traveller magazine described Belfast as a city “that moves to its own beat” ranking it number two in the world to visit. If you haven’t been, here’s where to stay and suggestions of what to do …
The Merchant Hotel
The former Ulster Bank headquarters is now a dazzling mix of Art Deco chic and Victorian pomp. With a rooftop Jacuzzi and hot tub, luxury spa and impressive cocktail bar, its location beside the Cathedral Quarter couldn’t be more central. Overnight stays start at £94 per person sharing. Currently its “Fantastic Foodie” package is a two-night stay, which includes a nine-course tasting menu with matching wines on a night of your choosing in the recently refurbished Great Room Restaurant, where breakfast is also served on both mornings of the stay. If staying at the weekend there is also the option of enjoying Sunday brunch in Berts Jazz Bar. Guests will also be gifted some of the local produce used within The Merchant Hotel on deparature. Prices for the two night package start from £330 per person midweek; www.themerchanthotel.com
With 74 rooms, ranging from Dinky to Comfy to Roomy, Bullitt is home to some of Belfast’s trendiest venues including Babel, a rooftop bar and garden with panoramic views over the city (it’s an ideal al fresco escape for cocktails and sourdough pizza) or Rattlebag, with its speakeasy vibe, cool tunes and slick interiors. Bullitt’s #STAYCATION package, running until to August, offers a Comfy Room from £99 per night, including a £25 venue credit to be spent in its restaurants, bars or the Bullitt shop; www.bullitthotel.com
The elegant five star Fitzwilliam Hotel, beside the Grand Opera House, has 146 guestrooms and suites – the penthouse (pictured) is arguably the best in Belfast which, when reserved, comes with its own butler, chauffeur and personal shopper. Overnight accommodation starts from €90 per night, based on two people sharing and includes breakfast. If staying at the weekend, try its Crafternoon Tea, €35 per person – a twist on traditional afternoon tea, replacing dainty sandwiches with pork and leek scotch eggs, mini burgers, fish fingers all accompanied by two local hand-crafted beers from Whitewater Brewing Co. It also includes scones with clotted cream and jam and a chocolate and hazelnut brownie. Pre-booking is essential; www.fitzwilliamhotelbelfast.com
This one-time seed warehouse is just a short walk to Titanic Quarter, Cathedral Quarter and Victoria Square. The hotel has 62 individually designed bedrooms with all the Malmaison ingredients – drench showers, naughty nibbles and exclusive toiletries. In addition, there are two rock ‘n roll Samson and Goliath suites (pictured) with free standing baths, gas fires, Bose sound systems and a pool table in the Samson suite. A bright stylish brasserie serves classic French bistro style cooking and locally inspired dishes. From £80 for an overnight stay; www.malmaison.com
Grand Central Hotel
The most recent addition to the Belfast hotel scene, Grand Central Hotel is based in the Linen Quarter, and combines art deco elements, high ceilings and a sense of space. With a bistro, Seahorse Restaurant and 23rd floor rooftop cocktail bar, The Observatory, this is the highest bar in all of Ireland with views across Belfast and beyond. Currently Grand Central is offering an overnight stay with breakfast and a two-course dinner in the Grand Café. From £95 per person sharing: www.grandcentralhotelbelfast.com
Located in the Titanic Quarter, the legendary Harland & Wolff Headquarters was transformed in 2017 into Titanic Hotel Belfast. Half hotel, half museum, it’s steeped in history with architectural marvels such as the airy Drawing Room (now a bar) and over 500 artworks and photographs transporting guests back to the golden age of ocean travel. The hotel’s bedrooms are tastefully decorated and look directly onto the Titanic Centre, while the famous SS Nomadic (the Titanic’s tender ship) is docked 200 metres from the hotel. There is a trio of summer staycation offers including a “Summer on the Slipways” package, an overnight stay in a nautical-themed room with a two-course dinner in The Wolff Grill Restaurant, a glass of prosecco and breakfast the next morning. Complimentary car parking is also available. From £169 per room; www.titanichotelbelfast.com
The Harrison Chambers of Distinction
A bohemian bolthole, The Harrison Chambers of Distinction is in Belfast’s museum and theatre district. Its owner, Melanie Harrison, has expertly woven past and present in each of the 17 rooms, which are divided into three categories – Aristocrat, Bohemian and Gallivanter. The vibe is stylish and playful – huge bay windows, polished mahogany, rich velvet curtains, freestanding bathtubs and soundproofed rooms guarantee a great night’s sleep. Melanie’s sister Nola provides in-house spa therapies for guests to book, from facials to massages, scrubs and baths. There’s also a lounge and a fully licensed restaurant on the ground floor. Melanie has just launched The Whiskey Experience, which includes a tasting of some rare, specialist Belfast whiskies at The Harrison before embarking on a walking tour. This ends in one of Belfast’s hidden pubs where you can try a “Belfast Boiler Maker”. Breakfast (and strong coffee) is served the next morning. From £295 for two people sharing; www.chambersofdistinction.com
For Foodies: Taste and Tour NI, Belfast promises to take you off the “eaten track” on a fun four-hour walk-through Belfast’s city centre in the company of a very knowledgeable local guide to experience the flavours of the city. tasteandtour.co.uk/ Gourmets should also book into the five-star Rayanne House in Holywood. This is a boutique ten-bedroom gem and private restaurant with spectacular views over Belfast Lough. Its “Titanic Menu” has achieved global renown and is a nine-course recreation of the dinner served to the First Class passengers on board the ship. It’s a fitting finale to any trip up north but needs to be booked in advance, and is available for couples and small groups on limited number of dates. rayannehouse.com/
Fans of Line of Duty will enjoy a new experience organised by Hastings Hotels and McComb’s Coach Travel. It begins with lunch in Grand Café at Grand Central Hotel before a coach tour which takes in some of the most recognisable filming locations.The tour finishes with an AC12 cocktail or Wee Donkey mocktail in the Observatory. The Line of Duty Experience takes place on July 3, 17 and 31, August 14 and 28, and September 11 and 25. Tickets are £49 per person and can be booked at mccombscoaches.com
Fashionistas should make haste to Victoria Centre for sales bargains while also checking out Flannels on the top floor of House of Fraser for its impressive edit of designer brands and accessories. Also noteworthy is Envoy boutique (located in Wellington Street) or make haste to the Lisburn Road where the number of boutiques and cafes is in equal number. My pick – Please Don’t Tell and Max Mara Weekend for fashion, and for coffee or a light lunch Deane And Decano. For culture vultures a must-visit is the Ulster Museum where an exhibition of the work of Willie Doherty, twice Turner prize nominee and one of Northern Ireland’s most important contemporary artist’s, is on until September 12. Pre-booking online is advised; www.nmni.com
LIMERICK STAYCATIONS 2021
The gateway city to the wild Atlantic way, Limerick offers the perfect balance of a city and coastal break. Here’s where to stay …
Limerick is acknowledged as the gateway city to the wild Atlantic way and offers the perfect balance of a city and coastal break – some of the best surfing in the country is just an hours’ drive away. The city is packed with historic places of interest including King John’s Castle and The Hunt Museum, as well as great food stops including the famous Milk Market. Hotel guests can easily explore Limerick city on foot or hire a bike and take advantage of the green spaces along the Shannon riverbank. Alternatively go further afield and explore trails and parks, which include Curraghchase Forest Park and Ballyhoura Mountain Trails. Here’s where to stay:
Limerick Strand Hotel
Stephen O’Connor, General Manager is delighted to welcome guests especially as Limerick Strand has just unveiled a €400k new look River Bar & Restaurant. He explains, “Last year we launched our new contemporary bedrooms, suites and corridors with the result The Limerick Strand has never looked so good and we cannot wait to show her off.” The “Explore a little more” two-night package is €189 per person sharing and includes three-course dinner in the new River Bar & Restaurant, discounts at the hair salon, spa and local attractions as well as complimentary access to Energize Health Centre, including a 20-metre swimming pool, sauna and jacuzzi; www.strandlimerick.ie.
Overlooking the tree-lined Peoples’ Park in Limerick’s historic Georgian Quarter, No.1 Pery Square is a luxurious boutique bolthole, perfect for a weekend away with girlfriends. The townhouse comprises 20 bedrooms all individually named and styled, with a Voya spa tucked away in its basement vaults. As for the food – with its own kitchen garden and boutique wine shop – guests can dine at Sash or for lighter snacks and meals in the Park room lounge. Afternoon tea with a glass of prosecco is served at weekends. Nearby, guests can enjoy the wonderful Hunt Museum, King John’s Castle and riverside walks; www.oneperysquare.com.
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