Excitement is building for the reopening of Irish hotels on June 2. Not only is it time to support the hospitality industry, but also think about (and book) a much needed holiday … And the lure of rural escapism has never been stronger. Many will want to be far from the madding crowd, though reassuringly close to five-star facilities, which is why this list of luxe hideaways will appeal. From pretty coastal cottages to Scandi-style timber huts, these options are as spoiling as a hotel stay but with the independence and total privacy of self-catering.
Woodland Huts, Virginia Park Lodge, Co Cavan
USP: Comfort and compact living meet in aesthetic harmony here. There’s solid oak flooring throughout with a Shaker-style fitted galley kitchen with a Neff hob, kettle and fridge. The bonus: throwing open the double French doors in the morning as you sip a perfectly brewed espresso, or dashing back to the log-burner after a long walk.
Best For: Foodies and forest bathers. From €140 per hut per night, bed and breakfast; www.virginiaparklodge.com.
The Cosy Cabins, Dunbrody House, Co Wexford
USP: Set in the woods near the Dunbrody herb garden the only sounds you’ll hear are birdsong and cattle lowing. The cabin is decorated New England-style with one double room and two singles. Since it’s only a stone’s throw from the hotel, guests can still enjoy all the facilities and choose to dine in the restaurant, sip cocktails on the terrace of the seafood bar or head to the pub for a more casual vibe.
Best For: Fans of The Waltons – this is perfect for old-fashioned family time. From €150 per night sleeping up to four people; www.irelandsbluebook.com.
Pond Suites, Marlfield House, Gorey, Co Wexford
USP: There are five new Pond suites, comprising four one-bed and one two-bed, all have very large patio terraces facing onto the pond, which is surrounded by lush planting and foliage. Ornithologists, botanists and will enjoy the views and bon viveurs the cuisine and service a la russe at the main house.
Best For: A totally pampering romantic break. From €400; other packages include dinner in The Duck restaurant and The Conservatory restaurant from €498; www.marlfield.ie.
Finnlough Bubble Domes, Co Fermanagh
USP: We’ve all been in a social bubble, this is a literal one. The futuristic domes have four-poster beds, ensuite bathrooms, Nespresso machines and fluffy robes. Onsite options also include Lakeside Lodges, Waterside Cottages and catered suites.
Best For: Stargazers, water enthusiasts and cyclists. The one night Forest Bubble Dome experience is from £295 for two; www.finnlough.com.
Cabu By The Lakes, Co Cavan
USP: Funky, fashionable and charmingly curated, these are one-bedroom log cabins and three-bedroom boathouses on the shores of Lough Oughter in Killykeen Forest Park. Guests can self-cater, or take advantage of the Cabin Club, which has all-day dining, with in and outdoor seating, roaring fires, cocktail bar and games. Cabu Corner is the essential shop which also offers gifts and homewares too.
Best For: Quiet escapism with the option to book a fishing lesson, rent a paddle board, canoe, kayak or hire a bike. If you’re converted, try the sister property when restrictions lift – Cabu? By The Sea in Kent. Prices start from €175 for a one-night stay in a log cabin; www.holidays.cabu.co.uk.
Cliff Beach House, Co Waterford
USP: An architectural marvel, adjacent to the five-star boutique Cliff House Hotel, this is reminiscent of Julia Robert’s perch in Sleeping With The Enemy. There are six ensuite bedrooms on the ground floor. Upstairs, high-pitched ceilings in the dining room and two living rooms open up through floor-to-ceiling glass to a long stone patio, creating a sense of being immersed in the waterside location.
Best For: A family celebration – guests should try The Well by the Sea spa and Michelin-starred House Restaurant where chef Ian Doyle leads the team. From €2,500 per night; www.CliffBeachHouse.ie.
The Coach House, Cahernane House Hotel, Co Kerry
USP: Following a €1.3m renewal programme, the former 19th-century Coach House is now home to eight new luxurious bedrooms. The decor is inspired by the flora and fauna of Co Kerry (think wildflowers and peacocks) while freestanding claw foot baths, walk-in rain showers and handmade tiles, will satisfy even the most demanding guest.
Best For: Families who want to celebrate splendidly in splendid isolation; dining options include The Herbert Restaurant, The Cellar Bar, the Library and Atrium. Al fresco dining in the extensive gardens and terraces is also offered and you can ask the chef to prepare a picnic too. From €95 per person sharing; www.cahernane.com.
Lake Lodge, Lough Eske Castle, Co Donegal
USP: The sound of lapping waves and birds in the trees of the surrounding Bluestack Mountains is the backdrop to this two-bedroom lodge built circa 1861. It sleeps two to four guests. Original windows, fleur de lys tiles, a wood-burning fire and tweed upholstery are all part of the allure. Guests can self-cater in the oak kitchen or enjoy breakfast at the hotel – a twelve-minute walk, or an even shorter cycle. Complimentary use of the hotel gym, swimming pool and Cara Organic Beauty spa is an added advantage.
Best For: Artists, bibliophiles and those who like to work up an appetite walking. Dinner in Cedars restaurant is unmissable. From €600 per night inclusive of full Irish breakfast during the winter; www.lougheskecastlehotel.com.
Owenmore Cottage, Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, Connemara
USP: This luxurious self-catering six-bedroom cottage opened last year and can sleep up to twelve guests. Surrounded by forest on the 700-acre Ballynahinch estate, it has views of the winding Owenmore River. Expect a welcome hamper on arrival as well as a daily breakfast hamper delivered to the doorstep every morning. Grocery shopping can be done in advance – including some of the harvest from the hotel’s impressive walled garden. The wide verandah overlooking the gardens and river is the perfect place for pre-dinner drinks or to barbecue. For cosy evenings in, the wood-burning stove makes the perfect focal point. Picnics can be arranged too.
Best For: FitBit fans and Connemara crushers: extras include complimentary bicycles, mapped hikes, walks and trails (there’s also a mid-week linen change, free WiFi and a concierge service). Available for three nights from €2,500 in low season only, with a minimum week stay in summer; www.ballynahinchcastle.com.
The Courtyard Cottage Suites, Tankardstown House, Co Meath
USP: The cosy cottages are beautifully appointed and overlook the courtyard complete with fountain and access to the walled garden where the hot tub and small summer house are located. A highlight of any stay is dinner at Brabazon restaurant.
Best For: Pet owners of well-behaved four-legged family members are also welcome and Bruce, the resident pooch, is always excited to make new friends. From €260 per room per night, there is no charge for pedigree chums; www.tankardstown.ie.
The Cottage Collective, Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort, Co Antrim
USP: Close to the main hotel is a collection of 17 contemporary country cottages each set within its own pretty garden near the picturesque River Maine. These are in addition to the log cabins which line the riverside.
Best For: Golfers and spa enthusiasts – guests have full access to the Resort’s new, enhanced Thermal Village and Spa, which includes a vitality pool, a Palm House relaxation area and bar, and a Salt Cave for halotherapy experiences. Prices are from £210 for two guests sharing; www.galgorm.com.
The Signal Suite, Station House Hotel, Co Meath
USP: The Signal Suite, cleverly converted from the former control room for the train tracks, is now a light-filled suite spread across two floors, with a loft-style apex ceiling upstairs and original 1800s staircase from the Midland Great Western Railway Co. Set apart from The Station House Hotel, guests can expect a classic country house style underpinned with antiques and exotic textiles.
Best For: Honeymooners: Station House Hotel is regularly booked as a wedding venue. €300; www.stationhousehotel.ie.
Garden Cottage, Sheen Falls Lodge, Kenmare, Co Kerry
USP: Light-filled, luxurious with lovely views of Kenmare Bay, the stone cottage has two bedrooms, one king and one twin, each with an ensuite bathroom. Minutes from Sheen Falls Lodge, guests can enjoy a treatment at the spa, dinner in Falls restaurant or book any number of activities including falconry, fishing, archery, clay pigeon shooting and much more.
Best For: An activity break – if you want to bring the whole family book the Little Hay Cottage next door. Welcome hampers will delight on arrival too! From €550 with a minimum two-night stay. Book two weeks in advance and receive ten per cent discount on this bed and breakfast rate; www.sheenfallslodge.ie.
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