Here are the fabulous four-star hotels and stylish aparthotels on Penny McCormick’s must-visit list…
FABULOUS FOUR-STAR HOTELS
Mount Falcon Estate, Co Mayo
James Franklin Fuller is the architect behind some of Ireland’s most inspiring baronial buildings, from Ashford Castle to Farmleigh House and Kylemore Abbey. Mount Falcon Estate, Co Mayo, originally built in 1876, was another commission – a wedding present for a new bride. Known as “the castle” by locals, it has recently reopened after extensive renovations inside and out. This four-star hotel, owned by brothers Barry, Michael and Alan Maloney, has welcomed presidents and actors (including Joe Biden and Jamie Dornan) who were no doubt drawn to its range of country pursuits (clay shooting, archery and salmon fishing on the River Moy), spa facilities and impressive aviary. There’s a Little School of Owls and Raptors as well as a forest school for children. To sample, book the two-night “Escape to Mount Falcon” which includes dinner in The Kitchen Restaurant, from €160 per person; www.bookings.mountfalcon.com.
Dunboyne Castle Hotel, Co Meath
Spa enthusiasts should check out the newly reimagined Seoid Spa at Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa, Co Meath where treatments take inspiration from around the world. These include a hammam ritual, rasul mud chamber, sabbia beach experience and bespoke treatments using Eve Taylor aromatherapy oils. While you enjoy some pampering, children have access to the castle’s Fairy Trail, with movie nights and picnics, all available as part of the Easter family offers from €185. Don’t forget to bring Teddy! www.dunboynecastlehotel.com
Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa, Co Cork
You might spot fin, humpback, or minke whales as well as dolphins, basking sharks and porpoise on a sea safari at Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa, Co Cork, where the seaside pursuits such as kayaking and surfing are plentiful. The hotel has panoramic views of the Altantic ocean and is surrounded by Blue Flag beaches. The “Sea Swimmers Bedroom to Beach” midweek package includes two nights’ accommodation and breakfast with a five-course dinner on one evening in the Gulfstream Restaurant. Cocktails, chocolates, a gift from Ground Wellbeing and access to the heated seawater therapy pool, gym and relaxation areas are other treats. From €275 per person sharing; www.inchydoneyisland.com.
The Samuel, Dublin 1
The Samuel is Dublin’s newest four-star hotel, in Spencer Place, Dublin 1. Stylish, Instagrammable and accessible (to airport, bus and train stations) this is a perfect pitstop for business travellers. Room rates start from €139; www.thesamuelhotel.com.
THE LOWDOWN: APARTHOTELS
Mob House, Paris
Designer Philippe Starck has always been a disruptor, whether creating furniture, perfumes or hotels. His latest offering, MOB HOUSE in Paris, which opened in February near Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, is stripped-back in keeping with The Mob movement of artisan hoteliers founded by Cyril Aouizerate, with whom he collaborated. Starck’s mission: to create a three-in-one room serving as a bedroom, office and meeting room. Of course there’s a guitar included (one of his design signatures). Starck is abreast of the zeitgeist – places combining the best elements from Airbnb, serviced apartments and boutique hotels are proliferating. From €200 per night; www.mobhouse.com.
The Other House, South Kensington, London
Opened in April of this year, THE OTHER HOUSE, in South Kensington, neither serviced apartment nor private rental, calls itself a “residents club” and “second home”. Guests can select the services they want, from ordering food to summoning the lift or even monitoring the property’s energy output, via an app. On offer are Club Flats, a private members’ club, wellness and dining facilities designed by Bergman Interiors. From €417; www.otherhouse.com.
Room2, Chiswick, London
ROOM2 positions itself as the world’s first fully net zero hotel. This green retreat offers a relaxed combination of home and hotel while proving that sustainability doesn’t mean sacrificing style, convenience or comfort. Snug rooms start from €154 per night for two people sharing; www.room2.com/chiswick.
The Fellows House, Cambridge
I recommend the easy-to-navigate Stanstead airport as an alternative gateway to London. Hop on a train and you’re in Cambridge where THE FELLOWS HOUSE, a collection of 131 self-contained apartments with onsite leisure facilities allow guests to “Feel at home, feel inspired, feel like a Fellow”. That means exploring Cambridge’s colleges (a favourite is Clare College), its excellent Kettle’s Yard gallery, the Bridge of Sighs, its Botanic Gardens and The Fitzwilliam Museum where “Hockney’s Eye: The Art of Technology and Depiction” runs until August. Overnight stays with breakfast start from €203 per night for two; www.thefellowshousecambridge.curiocollection.com.
The Georgian Rooms, Howth, Co Dublin
In Dublin, THE GEORGIAN ROOMS, Howth, Co Dublin is a twelve-room property owned by developers who specialise in restoring old properties. Some rooms are studio-style with kitchen facilities, with self-check-in and -out facility, all emphasise comfort and elegance; www.georgianrooms.com.
Beckett Locke, Docklands, Dublin
The 241-studio BECKETT LOCKE in the Docklands (behind the 3Arena) has just opened. Osgur Ó Ciardha, country general manager at international aparthotel group Locke, explains, “Alongside Zanzibar Locke [at the Ha’penny Bridge], our ambition is to become a creative hub where guests and the local community interact – be it at one of our events, working alongside each other in the co-working space, or over a cocktail or two.” The interiors take their cue from the docklands location. Black steel, exposed concrete and rust-coloured soft furnishings are offset with Irish art by Cici Cavanagh, Jill & Gill and Claire Prouvost. Visitors will find three food concepts by North 7th Coffee, The Belis restaurant and Sam’s Corner – a cocktail area inspired by Beckett Locke’s namesake, playwright Samuel Beckett. Rates start from €110 per night, and from €125 per night at Zanzibar Locke; www.lockeliving.com.