Flying solo? 12 Irish hotel stays with single-friendly rates
There are few terms more infuriating to solo travellers than 'single supplement'.
Though the stigma of solo travel is vanishing (as our 21 travel tips this week attest), these supplements remain doggedly common - a penalty on travellers flying solo.
"It's a major gripe," says Geraldine McGlynn of Golden Ireland, an Irish travel website for the over-55s. And it's not just a concern for older travellers.
"We had a lady who travelled by herself recently, as her husband is a farmer and the farm was too busy for him to get away. I understand the necessity of a supplement when hotels are running at full or close to full occupancy, but if a hotel room is lying empty midweek during quieter months, why penalise the solo traveller?"
Part of the trouble is the fact that most holiday accommodation is built for sharing. For a hotel, guesthouse or cruise ship, solos don't just mean empty beds but lost revenue on meals, drinks and activities. In cruise-speak, it's called 'spoilage'.
The good news? Solo-friendly rates are hard to find, but they do exist. Here are the highlights of my digging this week:
Arnolds Hotel (above) in Dunfanaghy has several rooms for solos, and doesn't charge single supplements on midweek bookings during winter - it's got two nights' B&B with a €40 dining credit from €120. Elsewhere, the Sandhouse Hotel in Rossnowlagh has B&B with dinner for solo guests from €99. Both are Manor House Hotels (manorhousehotels.com).
Kelly's Resort Hotel & Spa, voted Ireland's Favourite Family-Friendly Stay in our last Reader Travel Awards, charges no single supplements. Half-board midweek rates start from €115 per night with all-inclusive weekend rates from €330, plus 10pc service; kellys.ie.
Northern Ireland's Hastings Hotels charge single supplements, but they offer single rates for guests "who wish to avail of a double room for single occupancy". B&B with dinner at the Slieve Donard (top), for example, starts from £120pp; hastingshotels.com.
The Delphi Lodge in Leenane charges €95 for a single B&B (half of its double-occupancy rate). Renvyle Hotel (above) has 10 single rooms; two nights' B&B with two dinners costs from €158pp. See delphilodge.ie; renvyle.com.
Golden Ireland has a three-day package to Dingle (February 25-28; goldenireland.ie), including meals, 4-star hotels and activities from €365pp, with no single supplement for solo rooms. It also lists solo-friendly hotels on its website.
Solo with kids
Killarney's Gleneagle Hotel recently launched 'Flying Solo' breaks for parents travelling alone with kids - B&B with kids' clubs starts from €85 per night; gleneaglehotel.com.
Best of the rest
Other hotels with single rooms, or solo deals in Ireland, include the Parknasilla Resort in Sneem, Co Kerry (parknasillaresort.com); Mulranny Park Hotel in Co Mayo (mulrannyparkhotel.ie), Castle Hotel in Macroom, Co Cork (castlehotel.ie), and Ireland's Blue book member Rathmullan House in Co Donegal (above, rathmullanhouse.com).
NB: Prices subject to availability and change.