Last-minute Valentine's Day breaks
Nicola Brady casts an eye over the great deals being offered by hotels up and down the country with the most romantic weekend on the calendar only a few days away
There are some great deals being offered by hotels up and down the country with the most romantic weekend on the calendar only a few days away...
The Marker Hotel, Dublin
It's not even open a year, but The Marker has secured its place as one of Dublin's coolest hotels. The impressive spa is reason enough to visit – stylishly clad in charcoal, the infinity pool is one of the best in the city. There's a huge Jacuzzi, sauna and steam, and for most of the day the whole area is child-free.
You can get away on Valentine's Day for €389, for a one-night break for two including breakfast, spa access and a couple's spa treatment. Or if you'd prefer, €369 will get you a night in a deluxe waterfront room, breakfast and a four-course gourmet dinner, as well as spa access.
See: themarkerhoteldublin.com or call 01 687 5100
Castlemartyr, Co. Cork
At the 5-star Castlemartyr Resort you can while away the hours strolling the beautiful grounds, exploring the village or having afternoon tea. On arrival you'll find chilled Prosecco and chocolate-covered strawberries in your deluxe room to kick off the weekend in style. Dinner is served in The Bell Tower, run by head chef Kevin Burke, and takes advantage of all the fabulous produce available in the region. If you want to push the boat out, upgrade to one of the Manor Staterooms or Grand Suites. Valentine's at Castlemartyr costs from €300 per night, including dinner for two.
See: castlemartyrresort.ie or call 021 421 9000
The Westbury Hotel, Dublin
Here's a thought fitting for Valentine's Day – what if Romeo and Juliet hadn't died, but lived out their lives and grown old together? This is the concept behind the production of 'A Tender Thing', exploring what might have been for Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers. The play runs until February 15, and would be the perfect night out for a romantic Valentine's. The Westbury has paired up with the Project Arts Centre to create a break around the production. The 'A Tender Thing' package is available from €250 per room and includes breakfast, three-course pre-theatre dinner with a glass of champagne and two tickets to the show.
See: doylecollection.com or call 01 646 3333
Carton House, Co Kildare
Venue for last year's Irish Open and the training ground of the Irish rugby team, this Kildare hotspot has plenty of cool points for sports fans. Just the draw you might need if you suspect your partner might prefer to be watching the match, instead of lying atop rose petals.
On February 14 you can get away for Carton House's 'Love in Luxury' package, a two-night break with roses and chocolates on arrival, breakfast on both mornings and a three-course dinner on one evening in the award-winning Linden Tree restaurant, with a glass of Prosecco. The package starts at €235pps.
See: cartonhouse.com or call 01 505 2000
The Shelbourne, Dublin
It's the timeless classic in the heart of Dublin, where impeccable service walks hand-in-hand with enduring charm. The beds are plush cocoons, the Horseshoe Bar serves a great cocktail and the huge spa is well worth exploring. Stay on Valentine's Day and you'll enter your deluxe room to be met with rose petals, champagne and strawberries before ambling down to the Saddle Room for a three-course dinner. You'll want to leave space for the full Irish breakfast the next morning, which is a real treat. Valentine's rates start from €349.
See: theshelbourne.ie or call 01 663 4500
The Twelve Hotel, Co Galway
It's one of Ireland's quirkiest hotels, and with stylish suites and in-room spa treatments it's the perfect option for a couple's hideaway. In the spirit of St Valentine, it's offering a Lovebomb Surprise package, with 12 romantic elements to make up your perfect weekend. There's a picnic ready for a stroll, Love Potion cocktails and spa treatments as well as muffins and a petal-strewn bed.
Not all of these may be your style, but the luxurious suite should be – it features its own bar, hardwood floors and a super-king-sized bed. The package is available on February 14 at a cost of €470 per couple, with the option of staying another night for an additional €120.
See: thetwelvehotel.ie or call 091 597000
Dylan Hotel, Dublin
The Dylan's Indulgent Valentine's Package is the ultimate break for chic foodies. A stay includes a five-course tasting menu with wine pairing, when you'll enjoy exquisite dishes such as wild Irish sika venison with butternut squash, pear, chicory and dark chocolate. After finishing with a sumptuous dessert, be sure to waddle into the bar for a loved-up cocktail in delightful surroundings. 'Tickle Me Pink' is a blush-hued mixture of raspberry-infused vodka, wild strawberry liqueur and rose water syrup. The Indulgent Valentine's Package starts at €409 for one night and includes the tasting menu, wine pairing, full Irish breakfast and complimentary parking. Upgrade to a suite for an additional €100 per night.
See: dylan.ie or call 01 660 3000
Knockranny House, Westport
Westport is a great town for a cosy couple's getaway. There are charming walks where you can amble hand-in-hand or jump on a bike for a journey on the scenic Great Western Greenway (it runs 42km in all from Westport to Achill). If you want to go the whole hog, you can even rent a tandem (clewbaybikehire.ie) After all that activity, you'll have definitely earned your pint in Matt Molloy's, the pub owned by The Chieftains' flute player. Knockranny House Hotel is a great option a short walk from the town, with views of Clew Bay and Croagh Patrick. This Valentine's there's an overnight package with dinner, a cocktail and breakfast for €125pp. Be sure to pop into the candlelit pool for a romantic dip.
See: knockrannyhousehotel.ie or call 098 28600
NB: All prices are correct at time of going to press, but are subject to change/availability.