14 Christmas hotel breaks to skip the seasonal stress
Christmas hotel breaks are selling like hotcakes. Pól Ó Conghaile rounds up the best of what's left this year...
Does a Christmas hotel break sound like sacrilege to you? A needless extravagance, spent far from the family table, hearth and sitting room? Or does it sound like a silver bullet for seasonal stress, and one that allows you skip the cooking to boot?
For an increasing number of people, it's the latter. Christmas packages are selling out fast, buth here's a selection box of the best remaining deals...
Instead of splashing out on expensive gifts that nobody uses, why not pool your resources for a luxury hotel stay?
Cork's five-star Hayfield Manor (021 484-5900; hayfieldmanor.ie) has three-night packages from €1,195pp with meals and entertainment included... plus a bedtime gift each night. Sheen Falls Lodge (above, 064 664-1600; sheenfallslodge.ie) has two-night packages from €840pp and cottage stays from €1,065pp.
In Connemara, the Blue Book's cosy Cashel House (095 31001; irelandsbluebook.com) has a two-night deal from €695pp.
The prices can be eye-watering, sure, but remember, lashings of meals, entertainment, mince pies and crackling open fires are included.
Bundling slap-up meals, mince pies and overnight accommodation together at a time when staff would rather be celebrating themselves will never be cheap.
There is lots of value, however. Cavan's Farnham Estate Resort (049 437-7700; farnhamestate.ie) has a two-night package from €440pp, while Dunboyne Castle (01 801-3500; dunboynecastlehotel.com) has a similar deal from €409pp.
Meanwhile, the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon (065 707-1004; fallshotel.ie) has a three-night special from €410pp, and Athlone's Sheraton Hotel (064 645-1000; sheratonathlonehotel.com) has a two-day package from €429pp.
A Very Kerry Christmas
Three-night residential packages in the Kingdom start from €699pp at Killarney's Malton Hotel (064 663-8000; themalton.com), €649pp at The Brehon (above, 064 667-1543; thebrehon.ie) and €1,395pp at the Brennan brothers' Park Hotel in Kenmare (064 664-1200; parkkenmare.com).
Kings of Kilkenny
Mount Juliet (above) is always quick to sell out over holiday periods, and the Christmas calls are coming in daily. If you fancy indulging in its sweeping estate, Michelin Star restaurant and manor house, in other words, don't delay.
It ain't cheap, with manor doubles from €820pp for three nights, but dinner, Christmas lunch and supper are included. Contact (056) 777-3000 or mountjuliet.ie.
Christmas in a castle
What better pressie could there be? Dublin's Clontarf Castle (01 833-2321; clontarfcastle.ie), which recently splashed €3 million on an impressive refurb, has a two-night 'Little Christmas' package from December 24.
It includes two dinners, a Christmas Day lunch, entertainment and a carol and wine reception in the awesome atrium space from €479pp (prices for children sharing start from €235pp). Three and four-night options are available too.
In the city
Dublin's Clarence Hotel (01 407-0800; theclarence.ie) has a three-night package for €499pp. Christmas lunch at Oliver Dunne's Cleaver East is extra at €120pp.
Meanwhile, Brooks Hotel (brookshotel.ie) has two nights from €315pp, including a movie in its private cinema, and a special festive lunch.
A Final Tip
If you find prices high or rooms sold out, take a look at 'Twixmas' dates (i.e. Dec. 27-29). It's a surprising sweet spot.
NB: All prices subject to availability and change.