Rooms with a view #2

Aghadoe heights will change your perspective on luxury

Mark Evans

ONE thing that Kerry has in common with Switzerland is stunning scenery.

And there’s no better place to appreciate the beauty of the Kingdom than from your own room in Aghadoe Heights Hotel, which commands panoramic views over the Killarney lakes.

Its penthouse has been hailed by the critics as the best on the planet.

If you're planning a special occasion, you can enjoy the holiday of a lifetime -- on your own doorstep.

Elegant and enormous (a massive 375sqm), it boasts no fewer than six toilets; four in the suite's very own lobby area and one off each of the luxurious bedrooms. The walls are lined with silk, bedsheets are woven from the same and the cushions are finished with ostrich feathers. Italian furnishings are complemented by individual pieces by Mies van der Rohe and Arne Jacobsen. And there's art by Patrick Scott and Maria Simonds-Gooding.

You've even got your very own butler here and if you feel like rustling up a snack, or haute cuisine, there's a designer kitchen with all the mod cons.

The lounge/dining area is on a presidential scale, and the wall of windows offers stunning views of the most beautiful corner of Ireland.

If you're entertaining, or merely showing off, two long sofas can seat 10 guests and you can catch the satellite channels on the wall-hanging giant flat-screen TV (just one of five). With the press of a button, your own cinema screen will roll down, while a projector emerges from the ceiling as the curtains close.

You can have your own Come Dine With Me night at the main table which seats up to 22 guests, while there's draught beer on tap in your very own bar.

If you want to feel truly indulgent and that you've made it, sip a glass of champers from your very own private hot tub on the terrace and watch the world go slowly by.

While we didn't stretch to the Penthouse, our own lakeside room was as good as any I've stayed in at the world's top resorts.

Modern styling means ceiling-to-floor windows and a breathtaking balcony, overlooking the sight of this year's Irish Open (Padraig Harrington was having brekkie downstairs). But there are classical touches, too, with antique furniture, an elegant marble bathroom, and relaxing rainforest shower.

What's interesting is that, if you choose the right special offers, luxury needn't come at a hefty price.

And, what's more, it's actually cheaper to eat at the hotel than in nearby Killarney. Sure, it's a gem of a tourist town but pub grub there works out at more expensive than delicious food in the elegant surroundings of the hotel bar area.

The spa is a destination in itself, complete with a range of treatment options, while the pool and gym area and tennis courts are up there with the best. But it's worth getting outside, exploring the atmospheric graveyard down the road, or taking the car out and then hiking up to the likes of the Torc waterfall.

You may have difficulty tracking down the hotel, and the only other problem you are likely to meet is trying to tear yourself away from Ireland's finest views. > MARK EVANS

> The hotel is offering a hiking weekend including two nights’ B&B, one dinner plus packed lunch and guided climb for €235pps.

> It’s also hosting a Christmas party on December 17, with a cocktail on arrival, a Christmas feast and entertainment till late. It costs €60pp and a special overnight accommodation rate is available at €125pps with breakfast. There’s also complimentary “recovery” time in the Thermal Suite.

> Call the hotel on 064 6631766 or email: or visit