Fashion memorabilia, food and fun are the allure of an overnight stay in Galway, says Penny McCormick …
CHECKING IN: THE G HOTEL & SPA, GALWAY
THE VIBE The Little Mermaid meets Alice in Wonderland in keeping with milliner/mad hatter Philip Treacy’s masterplan. Galway man Treacy designed the 101-room hotel, which opened in 2005. Minimalists might have tachycardia, but if you like colour, creativity and fabulous cuisine this is for you. Hot pink and purple predominate with plenty of rococo shell details, from ornate sconces to scalloped-edged chairs in Gigi’s restaurant. If Treacy has said, “I like hats that make the heart beat faster”, pulses are also raised in the grand salon, one of the venues for the hotel’s infamous afternoon teas, with its constellation of Tom Dixon bauble lights.
ROOMS I’ve stayed twice and both times the rooms, overlooking Lough Atalia, though different grades, were larger than average, comfortable and lightfilled. Decorated in restrained neutrals, the bathrooms, with double-showers, and huge bathtub, are notable. WHY GO If you’re a Linda Evangelista fan, as I am, you’ll love the numerous fashion photographs and David Downton portraits as well as the tribute penthouse suite which features Evangelista’s actual bed, gifted to Treacy. For gourmets, the new Supper Clubs, initiated by head chef Dominique Majecki and food and beverage manager Maurice Ryan, celebrate local produce (Dooncastle oysters, Kylemore farmhouse items, Galway Goats Cheese) via innovative tasting menus. Having endured, rather than enjoyed, several tasting menus over the years, the recent supper club was a hoot, due to the intimacy of the event and conviviality of the host, Patrick Murphy, group manager of The G, The Hardiman and The House hotels. For spa devotees, guests can book an hour in the thermal suite (€10). Try the signature Chakra balancing treatment, €195, incorporating a fullbody exfoliation, aromatherapy body and scalp massage.
VERDICT: The g is a colourful tardis. It’s a great base away from the buzz of the city – guests can pre-book a courtesy car into town. Some of the nightclub-inspired décor may not appeal to my mother’s generation. I asked one Galwegian society couple why they got married in the hotel: “The food and the friendliness of the staff ”. I concur. Book the Oyster & Seafood Supper Club on September 21, or the “Summer Tea & Therapy” package, combining afternoon tea and a spa treatment, €315 for two; www.theghotel.ie.
For coffee: COFFEEWERK & PRESS, 4 Quay Street. Peruse the artwork, books and prints while enjoying a fl at white, or join a subscription club and receive a selection of coffee collaborations; www.coffeewerkandpress.com. For cocktails: HYDE BAR & GIN PARLOUR, Foster Street, pictured above, part of the funky Hyde hotel; www.hydebargalway.ie.
For brunch: CORRIB HOUSE AND TEA ROOMS, 3 Waterside, a restored Georgian townhouse which has views of the River Corrib and five guestrooms, from €200 for two people sharing including breakfast; www.corribhouse.com.
For dinner: To complete any destination dining tour of Galway, visit Jess Murphy’s KAI restaurant, 22 Sea Road, the recipient of a Bib Gourmand this year, Christine Walsh’s Éan Bakery, Restaurant & Wine Bar, Druid Lane. JP McMahon’s Michelin-starred ANIAR RESTAURANT, co-owned by Drigín Gaffey, celebrates ten years in business with a restaurant refurbishment, 53 Lower Dominick Street.
VISIT FOR THE GALWAY SUMMER FESTIVAL runs from July 25-31; www.galwayraces.com. BUY A headband from EMILY-JEAN ATELIER, a destination store in Moycullen for hats and haute hairbands for weddings and race meetings; www.emily-jean.com. MICIL CONNEMARA IRISH CREAM, €29, named Best Irish Cream at the World Liqueur Awards 2022. Take a distillery tour where you can try the Micil Heritage Poitín too; www.micildistillery.com.
OTHER PLACES TO STAY The new one: THE DEAN GALWAY’S “Dine and Stay” package, €150, includes an overnight stay with breakfast and dinner at Sophie’s Rooftop Restaurant, with stunning views; www.thedean.ie. The Victorian grande dame: Step off the train and into the 170-year-old THE HARDIMAN HOTEL, and enjoy afternoon tea, before heading out on a city walking tour from Eyre Square to the Spanish Arch. Its two-night “Sweet Summer Staycation”, from €304, includes cocktails in the Oyster Bar, dinner on one evening in the Gaslight Brasserie with check-in treats of bubbles and strawberries; www.thehardiman.ie. The Ard Bia and B: Pared back and pretty, in keeping with the ARD BIA ethos – its sister is Ard Bia At Nimmos, the café/restaurant stocks lovely jams, chutneys and chocolate. The owners, Aoibheann McNamara and Triona Lillis, also run fashion brand The Tweed Project. €180 per night; www.airbnb.ie.