This season it’s more important than ever to support the hospitality industry which has suffered so much. Renowned for their attention to detail and personal service, Irish hotels put as much thought into their gift ideas as they do their guest relations.
Earlier this summer I featured the best Irish hotel candles – which is always a lovely gift. Here are some more ideas, ranging from stocking fillers to silk scarves and from tarot cards to tempting retreats.
For something completely different and unique to Dromoland Castle – its head mixologist, Alex Bayou, has collaborated with local artist Coleman Costello on “The Tarot Card Collection” which is sure to delight the cocktail enthusiast. 22 cocktails with instructions are delivered in a box of tarot cards, decorated with paintings and vignettes from the Castle and Estate grounds. This is a limited edition (of 500 sets), just one of several gift ideas from stays to culinary experiences, available to purchase at www.dromoland.ie.
Louise Kennedy has collaborated with Ballyfin Demesne, Co Laois, to design a silk scarf inspired by the intricate architectural details found within the Lady Caroline Coote suite. The Persian blue and white silk scarf, hand printed in Lyon, the silk capital of France, is available in two sizes (medium, €395, and large, €595) and features motifs such as clustered stars, floral garlands and turtle doves. The beautifully gift wrapped scarves can be purchased exclusively from Ballyfin Demesne and Louise Kennedy stores; www.ballyfin.com.
Having just been recognised as Ireland’s Leading Luxury Hotel and Conrad’s Presidential Suite as Ireland’s Leading Hotel Suite at the 27th annual World Travel Awards, a gift from Conrad Dublin certainly will show those who receive it are truly appreciated. The Terrace Team has introduced a festive hamper range available to buy at the hotel or order online with prices starting from €15 to €220. The “Terrace Condiments” hamper, €15, contains cranberry and clementine sauce, red onion and red port marmalade, pear and apricot chutney, and a glaze for ham; everything you need in the fridge for Christmas day! www.theterracekitchen.ie
From sloe gin cocktails to Ballyvolane breakfast mugs, its three new gift boxes represent all the great things about staying at Ballyvolane House – a stunning rural location paired with exquisite food and drink. From €65 for the “Ballyvolane House Favourites” to €105 for “The Great Outdoors Gift Box” (pictured) this features Bertha’s Revenge sloe gin, a Stanley green hip flask, Wild Food Foraging book by Biddy White Lennon and Evan Doyle, a mini herd immunity Bertha’s sanitiser and a pocket knife; shop.ballyvolanehouse.ie.
For the zen seekers, a gift voucher for The Spa at Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort – recently voted Best Spa Experience across the UK and Ireland – is without doubt a treat. The Resort recently unveiled its new, enhanced Thermal Village and Spa, including a stunning vitality pool on the shores of the River Maine, a Palm House relaxation area and bar, and a brand-new Salt Cave for halotherapy experiences. Offer a day spa experience such as the Forest Rasul Experience for Two or a voucher – which includes an overnight stay in a Deluxe Guestroom for two people with Private Bathing Experience, a 60-minute treatment for each guest with relaxation time in the tranquil setting of the Thermal Village, as well as a three course dinner and à la carte breakfast. www.galgorm.com
A feast of stories and full of recipes, from simple breads to elegant entrees and delectable desserts is all found between the covers of Adare Manor – An Epicurean Journey by Irish historian Turtle Bunbury, which is published on December 4, and is available to pre-order now directly from Adare Manor, €60. www.adaremanor.com
The Rock Shop at Hard Rock Hotel Dublin has some jewellery pieces by Serge DeNimes which caught my eye on my last visit. In case you are unfamiliar with the design-led brand, Serge DeNimes was founded by Oliver Proudlock in 2011, and each piece is made from 925 sterling silver. The brand creates up to four collections each year, each one with a unique theme and story – you’ll find classic styles alongside statement pieces. www.shop.hardrock.com
A true one-stop shop destination is the Cliff Home collection, where thoughtful, considered gourmet gifts, ideas for pets and also products for spa aficionados are plentiful. I particularly like the Rose & Neroli Face Mist, €28 or the Lavender and Atlantic Seaweed Bath Salts, €20 – both great stocking fillers; www.cliffhome.ie.
For Irish history and whiskey connoisseurs, The Shelbourne’s bespoke whiskey glass celebrates courage and steel nerves, and recalls the Easter Rising of 1916. When fighting broke out on St Stephen’s Green, The Shelbourne’s renowned Afternoon Tea went ahead as planned until a stray bullet flew through a window and barely ruffled the millinery roses of a lady’s bonnet. In tribute to the independent spirit of the city, The Bullet Whiskey Glass is priced at €50 each including delivery within Ireland. www.theshelbourne.com
Beautifully packaged to reflect the elegant and picturesque surroundings of Faithlegg Hotel, Co Waterford, one of its Christmas hampers is sure to add flavour and style to any festive dining. There are three options available – a Classic Taste of Faithlegg Hamper (€50), Superior Taste of Faithlegg Hamper (€100) and the Deluxe Taste of Faithlegg Hamper (€150) all of which can be ordered for click and collect at Faithlegg. Bespoke hampers are also available and can include food items, Elemis products from The Treatment Rooms at Faithlegg, Waterford Whiskey and overnight stays up to the value of €500; www.faithlegg.com.
The Merrion hotel has partnered with FX Buckley’s Victualler and Grocery store to retail its popular festive pantry collection. Executive Head Chef of The Merrion hotel, Ed Cooney’s signature Christmas Pudding with brandy butter (€20) along with cranberry and orange sauce, delicious tomato relish and red onion marmalade will all be available to buy from the Victorian-styled grocery, located on Pembroke Street, Dublin 2. Perfect as Christmas presents for foodies also, the jams can be purchased individually at €4.50; www.merrionhotel.com.
For intermediate or advanced riders Castle Leslie Estate is offering horse riding lessons at The Equestrian Centre with a very special offer where they’re including a free lesson or hack when you buy six, so the seventh is free. They also have vouchers for a one hour hack, €55, a two-hour cross country jump ride, €95, and a special offer of a private 45-minute lesson, €65; www.castleleslie.com.
Mrs Tea’s online boutique curated by Ashford Castle, Co Mayo, is full of Irish products featuring the best designers such as Foxford Woollen Mills, Magee 1866 and Dubarry Ireland. Top picks include a pair of Paula Rowan lambskin gloves, €165, an Ashford Castle Christmas Collectable Decoration, €50 or this fun Ashford Castle Monopoly board game, €95, guaranteed to keep the family occupied on St Stephen’s Day; www.ashfordcastle.com.
Hotelier Francis Brennan, of Park Hotel Kenmare, Co Kerry, has been keeping a diary every day since he received one for Christmas as a young boy in 1966. He made a New Year’s resolution that he would write in it daily, and has kept that resolution every year since. In his new Homekeeper’s Diary 2021, €19.99, he offers readers a space for scheduling to shopping lists and also includes advice on cleaning, gardening, cookery, all peppered with hilarious anecdotes from Brennan’s experiences in the hotel trade and his sage advice. Also worth a look are the gorgeous (organic) Bamford products – available to purchase online and exclusive to the Samas Spa; www.parkkenmare.com.
One of the very best Christmas vouchers to receive in my opinion is one from Ireland’s Blue Book, which can be used in over 50 romantic country houses, historic hotels, castles and restaurants throughout Ireland. I have friends who are slowly but surely working their way through the Blue Book’s elegant Georgian manors, boutique hotels, designer lodges and gourmet restaurants and loving every minute of these experiences. I hope to follow in their footsteps one day. www.irelandsbluebook.com
ESPA Spa Gift Sets are available for purchase from €30 from Powerscourt Hotel, Co Wicklow. These sets include “A Holder of Happiness” featuring ESPA’s positivity blend with aromas of jasmine, gardenia and rose geranium. This positivity edit serves as a fragrant reminder to count your blessings and contains Positivity Bath & Body Oil, Bath & Shower Gel and Candle €30. There are also some great stocking fillers from €13 including a Restful Night Pillow Mist, or for €23 Restore the Senses Pulse Point Oil, ESPA’s most-loved and comforting blend to help rebalance the body and mind during the busy festive season; www.powerscourthotel.com.
Give the gift of great skin with a voucher for an iS Clinical Fire & Ice Facial at Velvære (pronounced vel-va-ray), at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Dublin. Known as the Red Carpet Facial, loved by A-listers, this is an intensive medi-facial designed to rapidly and safely resurface the skin, reduce fine lines, address problematic skin and encourage cellular renewal. The treatment is complemented by a combination of cosmeceutical serum and crèmes to guarantee one of the most effective results driven facials you will ever experience. The Fire & Ice Facial at Velvære is priced at €145; www.velvaerespa.ie.
Hayfield Manor, Co Cork is offering its own candles and diffusers, made in partnership with Celtic Candles with an uplifting scent of lavender, geranium and tea tree. The diffuser is €18.50 and the candle is €18.00; www.hayfieldmanor.ie.
For the health enthusiast, why not give a voucher for a special weekend of yoga in the west of Ireland at Knockranny House Hotel. Taking place from January 22 – 24, this is available from €205 per person sharing this includes two nights bed and breakfast with dinner in the award-winning La Fougère Restaurant, together with one wellness talk and two restorative yoga classes. www.knockrannyhousehotel.ie
For golfers there’s a superb range of gift options to suit all levels at the five-star K Club, Co Kildare. At K Golf World you and your friends can play a virtual round and compete on some of the world’s greatest golf courses from the comfort of the country’s first custom-built public simulator facility, with its spacious and luxuriously furnished bays, handsome bar and excellent food. In addition, there are golf membership options available for gifting at Straffan Golf Club on the resort, currently the fastest-growing golf club in Ireland. With ladies, gents, couples, intermediates (18-25) and junior memberships available, annual rates start from €350. Vouchers are available for K Golf World from €50, www.kgolfworld.ie.
Finally, The Westbury Hotel’s first Christmas Shop is launching on December 3 in neighbouring Westbury Mall with a range of luxury gifts synonymous with the hotel. From collectible keepsakes for kids like the Balfie Teddy Bear, show-stopping glassware, the hotel’s distinctive signature bergamot candle, a cup and saucer set from the iconic Afternoon Tea collection, wines curated by head sommelier Philip Dunne to handmade wreaths, this collection can also be shopped online. Go hither! shop.doylecollection.com
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