Cracking deals for Easter breaks
It's just seven weeks to Easter, so get booking for the best hotel getaways in Ireland.
1. Aghadoe Heights, Killarney
Spot the happy bunnies. There will be more of them than usual this year. When it clocks in on April 20, Easter will be as late in spring as it gets (although we had an even later one in 2011). Next year it will be two weeks earlier and it will be five years before we have another late Easter.
For the travel business, a late Easter means no snow holiday options, but it raises the temptation for airlines and tour operators to rev up the aircraft engines a few weeks earlier than normal for their summer seasonal routes, which normally have a May starting date.
Irish hoteliers like a late Easter. It gives them more evening twilight and increased options for activities and outdoor events. It is also a chance to get some much-needed cash flow going and as a result you can get very low prices, less than half what you pay later in the summer when there are more Americans around.
Even hotels that are not normally associated with families and children change their habits for the Easter break to get some family business when they have empty rooms to sell.
There are lots of home holiday options that will keep you humming and if you want to eggscape the egg puns (eggstravaganaza, eggscelent, eggs-box) there are quiet getaways that offer alternatives to those Easter egg hunts that always end in an argument (Why hasn't anyone ever worked this out in advance? One child always gets more eggs than the others).
In association with Disney to celebrate the launch of 'The Muppets Most Wanted', the Aghadoe Heights has a two-night family package. Dinner for adults is included in the Lake Room Restaurant on one evening and the children have a supervised movie night and dinner in our Kids Club on an evening, plus an Easter egg hunt, from €320pps.
064 6631 766 www.aghadoeheights.com
2. Kelly's, Rosslare
The family favourite hotel re-opened for Valentine's weekend looking out on five miles of strand at Rosslare. Its concrete reputation as one of the best Irish hotels for families (the best according to tripadvisor) means it is not the cheapest but the customers keep coming back.
053 9132 114 www.kellys.ie
3. Breaffy House, Castlebar
One of the country's biggest and best-organised hotels for families, it has childcare services so you can escape to the golf course and the spa and the local attractions such as the National
Museum folk life collection – the hidden secret of our four free-entry national museums. Prices are from €238 for a family and two children for a three-night stay.
094 9022 033 www.breaffyhouseresort.com
4. Hotel Westport
Includes a family pass to Westport House in its Easter programme, with archery, clay pigeon shooting, zorbing and some theme park-style rides. The Panda club (dinner included) is also on over the Easter weekend. Load them in the car for a drive into the mountains, and a sprint up Croagh Patrick and you won't hear a sound from them until morning. Family break for two adults and two children €499.
098 25122 www.hotelwestport.ie
5. The K Club, Straffan
The luxury five-star hotel was designed for rich American golfers but hey, there are rooms to fill. Nowadays in the ancient lobby built by the Barton wine family there is a little yellow fluffy chick in a special chick house – as cute as it gets and children go free in the parents' room; and, a new one, children golf for free on the Palmer Smurfit Course. Ten years ago, they would have called security if you arrived with a child. Since then. it has become all child-friendly and they organise an Easter egg hunt.
01 6017 200 www.kclub.ie
6. Castlewood House, Dingle
Fáilte Ireland rank this treasure in Dingle as a guesthouse, not a hotel, but it doesn't matter. Helen and Brian Heaton's fame has gone around the world as Castlewood House was rated the world's best bargain hotel (€58 pps a night in April) in the annual Traveller's Choice awards based on ratings and comments left on TripAdvisor.
066 9152788 www.castlewooddingle.com
7. Harvey's Point, Donegal
Harvey's is a great couples resort with fine dining, and some of the most stunning walking routes on the planet, although the rumour is that they will have an Easter egg hunt for the weekend. Harvey's won the Tripadvisor best hotel in Ireland in 2013 and 2014 (22nd in the world) and the AA hotel of the year last year. Prices are €229pps for two nights and €299 for three nights.
074 9722208 www.harveyspoint.com
8. Limerick Strand Hotel
Doing one of the best Easter packages on the market – €115 per adult with children under 12 free of charge. In general, Limerick hotel prices are turning in about 40pc lower than up the road in Galway or down the road in Killarney for the Easter weekend.
061 421 800 www.strandhotellimerick.ie
9. Heritage Killenard
The conference centre is now used as a playroom, which suggests how the hotel moved from corporate to child-friendly in one easy move, while adults can be assured the spa and golf facilities have not gone anywhere. Easter breaks cost €295 for two adults and two children with a family pass to Roll'n'Bowl.
057 8645500 www.theheritage.com
10. The G Hotel, Galway
Galway's so-chic-it-hurts hotel with scarlet décor and one of the best breakfasts in the business, designed by the not very mad hatter, Philip Brennan. The pricing structure is as dazzling as the décor, they have 11 different types of special offers on the go at any one time.
091 865200 www.theghotel.ie
Irish Independent Supplement