Sunday 25 September 2016

Ireland's Top Hotels: Our readers share their 11 favourite stays

Where you love to stay

Sunday Independent

Published 31/08/2015 | 02:30

Cliff Townhouse
Cliff Townhouse
Lyrath Estate, Kilkenny
Lough Rynn Castle, Co. Leitrim
Monart
The magnificent Parknasilla Resort overlooking the serene waters of Kenmare Bay on Kerry’s Wild Atlantic Way
Mount Falcon
Adare Manor, Co. Limerick, in the winter snow.

We asked you to nominate your favourite hotels, and here are the establishments that received your resounding votes!

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The Cliff Townhouse, Dublin

I have stayed in big hotels, small hotels, country houses, family-friendly hotels and even a 'no children allowed' hotel so which was my favourite? The Cliff Townhouse on Stephen's Green Dublin (above) was by far my favourite.

It has no swimming pool, no spa, no kids club, no nightclub attached to it ... so what is it about the Cliff Townhouse that I loved so much?

Firstly it is smack, bang in the middle of Dublin City but once you walk through the door you would not think the hustle and bustle of our capital city was happening just feet away. The whole place is decorated in soothing colours with interesting art on the walls which makes you feel relaxed and welcome.

The room we stayed in was at the back of the hotel so there wasn't a sound from the street below. The room was beautifully decorated in light greys and purples with old country-style furniture which set such a chilled-out country feeling that we just relaxed into our lovely room.

We sat at the bar and sipped our wine until we were ready to take our table and our food and service was just sublime. The wine waiter decanted our wine when I said it was a little cold and he hugged ... I kid you not, he hugged our wine to warm it for me. Breakfast was the best we have ever had and again good old-fashioned customer service.

- Pauline Hayes

Mount Falcon, Co. Mayo

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We have a great little country, and we are blessed with so many beautiful hotels. I have stayed in quite a few over the years both here and abroad and I have always said it's hard to beat Ireland for good quality hotels.

There are a few I could nominate but I had to make a final decision so I nominate the Mount Falcon Hotel in Mayo. It is first class. My son had his wedding reception here in May, 2014, and it was spectacular, the food, the rooms and the grounds would be hard to beat and the staff are all very friendly and polite.

We received a gift from the family to return to Mount Falcon for a break which we took just this weekend, and true to form it was fantastic. You really need to visit here to understand the beauty of it.

There are beautiful little holiday homes on the grounds which are ideal if you have a family, and they are immaculate too. We will definitely return. There is a falconry here and fishing, archery, and a beautiful swimming pool and spa.

 - Aileen Murphy

Monart Spa, Co. Wexford

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My favourite hotel would definitely have to be Monart Destination Spa in Enniscorthy. From the moment you ring the bell to enter the grounds of Monart an atmosphere of tranquillity and relaxation is created. Thus allowing you to leave any problems at the gate and embrace this incredible five-star experience.

- Aine Herlihy

Read more: 12 Irish hotels to visit before you die

Castlerosse Hotel, Killarney

As an 81-year-old, I have sampled many of Ireland's hotels over the years but the one I keep returning to is Castlerosse Hotel in Killarney. Their 'Golden Breaks' are brilliant and the minute you step through the door, you feel a genuine welcome. I love the cheerful, friendly atmosphere at the wine reception on arrival where we all gather and mingle.

Free tea or coffee all day and the four-course evening meal is varied and delicious. You can take a tour of Muckross gardens or Kenmare, classes in flowers or beauty, sometimes a guided walk with Ger. All these extras are free. Moya does a fun quiz night and we have great craic after with live Irish music and dancing.

The whole hotel feels luxurious and spacious and yet it's very affordable. My disabled access room is huge and the view is spectacular.

From every angle you can see Kerry's lakes and the highest mountain, Carrantuohill. It is stunning. What I love also is the peace and quiet and being able to enjoy nature. There are very few kids running around, which I appreciate at my age. I always leave feeling rested and rejuvenated.

- Phyllis Heffernan

Parknasilla Resort, Co. Kerry

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My choice would have to be the Parknasilla Resort just outside Sneem. We visited for the first time last year and stayed in the three-bedroom villas located in the hotel grounds.

These are fab and guests can use all hotel facilities. The staff are amazing and the range of activities for kids such as fairy trails, seal watching walks and pirate treasure walks are super.

Located in Sneem, so right in the Ring of Kerry and there are some fab trips such as Skelligs, Kenmare, a blueberry farm and Caherdaniel all close by. We went back again in May this year and already the kids want to know when we are going back. - Andrew Murphy

 

The Waterfront, Baltimore

Baltimore, a small fishing village nestled on the southwest coast, has been well-known for the craic, the odd pirate and the glorious sunsets. The Waterfront Hotel, conveniently situated on the village square, is a charming place to lay your head.

Run by the Jacob family, it boasts spacious, modern rooms overlooking the famous Baltimore harbour. Huge bay windows offer the guest an opportunity to sit and watch the sun go down. Room 12 is the one to ask for (just a little tip).

A weekend in the Waterfront will not disappoint. Go for pizza in La Jolie Brise downstairs, or for something posher, delectable fish in The Lookout upstairs (where a fine breakfast is also served in the morning). All owned by the same family too, might I add.

Again, I must stress the beauty of the view. It is a sight that allows you to just 'be'. One of my favourite things in the world is to sip a glass of wine outside The Waterfront, himself a Guinness, watching the world go by as the sun disappears over the horizon.

- Caragh Daly

Hillgrove Hotel, Co. Monaghan

I would recommend The Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan. The staff are the best in every way. So welcoming and friendly. One of the highlights for me is the outdoor tub, so relaxing and sensuous. Always a delight to visit this hotel and lovely Monaghan town and its people.

- Sheila O'Shea

Read more: TripAdvisor reveals its Top 10 Irish hotels

Adare Manor, Co. Limerick

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As someone who enjoys a dip on a hotel break I have to say my favourite hotel has to be Adare Manor in County Limerick. I know people will say oh that's too expensive but if you're going to do something you may as well to do it right, I say.

The pool and facilities in Adare Manor are just fab. There is nothing worse than a chilly pool. The pool at Adare Manor is always warm.

The robes and changing rooms are just lovely, roomy and have everything you need. When you leave you feel completely relaxed. The steam room is also refreshing. The pool area is compact with lounge chairs and with the daily paper and magazines. You just won't want to leave.

- Brigid Dawson

County Arms Hotel, Co. Offaly

My children and I recommend the County Arms Hotel in Birr, Co Offaly. Ideally located near the centre of Ireland - easy access from all corners. Birr Castle and grounds are worth a visit - Birr Observatory and Biggest Tree House in Ireland.

- Louise Mullins

Lyrath Hotel, Kilkenny

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Nestled deep in her fluffy, white robe mum asked perplexedly, 'But what do I do?' 'Chill mum, just chill.' The concept of doing nothing was not one that was familiar to my hard-working mum. I on the other hand could be considered an artiste at relaxation. No sauna proved too hot, no hot tub too bubbly and now I was guiding my mum in the practised art of 'chilling.'

Our location, the Lyrath Hotel in Kilkenny, was perfect in helping us arrive at that blissful feeling of 'ahhh-ness.' Only an hour and a bit of a drive from Dublin meant I could arrive in an almost restful state, free from leg cramp or backache. Although we only had a one night stay at the Lyrath, the short drive gave us two full days there, and believe me, those days were full. Full of relaxation, full of chats and full of wine!.

Almost instantly after checking in we checked out the Lyrath's Oasis Spa. Mum's training in relaxation was off to a promising start. We lounged in the bubbling hot tub, and strengthened our back muscles as we forced them to succumb to the powerful massage jets in the infinity pool. Finally we worked up a serious sweat in the steam room before hitting my mecca, the relaxation room.

It was here that mum's novice standard became apparent. I lounged regally on the softly cushioned bed, cooling my poor tired eyes with refreshing cucumber slices. As a slice slipped I saw mum sitting bolt upright, gazing around her. 'I don't get it' she said again, a picture of confusion, 'what do I do here.' I filled a little platter of fresh fruit and nuts from the complimentary snack area and poured her a glass of iced, minted, lemoned blessed water. "Eat, drink, read," I said passing her a paper. After a few minutes I glanced over to check mum was alright. "Isn't this just beautiful," mum said smiling serenely. And it was. Every minute in the Lyrath did our hearts good.

- Claire O'Reilly

The Malton Hotel, Killarney

For years the Great Southern Hotel was a real family treat. We have stayed there for more weekends then I care to remember. One better than the next.

My daughter, now 17, will stay no place else. With its fabulous 'no trouble' staff, Conor with his warm welcome, Dora doing breakfast in their stunning dining room looking out at the fabulous grounds, Mangerton in the background and rabbits playing as you eat.

The Ted Jones paintings I admire every time I'm in the bar. The short walk into the great town. The cycle to Muckross in the summer. And if we can make a weekend for the hotel's fabulous Christmas fair, perfect.

- Michael Holland

Read more: Ireland's top free attractions: The best things in life really do cost nothing

Lough Rynn Castle, Co. Leitrim

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Last year I had the wonderful experience of staying three nights in the four star Lough Rynn Castle Hotel in County Leitrim.

A magnificent hotel set in a delightful part of Ireland just outside the lovely village of Mohill, considered by many to be off the beaten track. Drive up a mature tree-lined avenue, enter the gates and the hotel comes into view showing all it's beauty.

Walk around the back and see the perfectly manicured grounds and majestic lake, the lovely walled garden full of roses, climbers and so many other plants. The peace and tranquillity is striking, there is a timelessness about the place.

Inside there is a gentle relaxed atmosphere, lovely rooms, award-winning restaurant and helpful friendly staff.

No necessity for a spa, leisure centre or gym - just sit and enjoy, be it indoors or outdoors.

Unexpectedly, last week I received a wedding invitation - I can't wait, I'm going back.

- Kathleen Hackett

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