Grown-up getaways: 10 adult-only hotel, spa and country house breaks in Ireland
We all love the kids. But doesn’t a grown-up getaway sound tempting?
Sometimes, you just want a getaway where you’re guaranteed some peace and quiet.
A place where you can take a dip in the pool without navigating kids doing cannonballs. A restaurant without chicken nuggets on the menu. A blissfully quiet sanctuary where there isn’t a child to be seen.
That can apply to anyone, including (especially, perhaps) parents. Two years into the pandemic, with months of lockdown, homeschooling and cabin fever under our belts, and Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s the perfect time to consider a grown-up getaway.
Whether you fancy a romantic break for two or simply a place where you can get a bit of peace and quiet, here are 10 places to go that are strictly for adults only…
1. Monart, Co Wexford
This luxurious spa is the ultimate kid-free paradise, where relaxation is taken seriously. It won ‘Ireland’s Best Spa’ in our Reader Travel Awards — a category it has absolutely dominated since the awards first launched several years ago. Think pampering perfection. You’ll spend your days in a bathrobe, drifting between the hydrotherapy pool and the various saunas and steams in the thermal suite, pausing only to be scrubbed, rubbed and polished in a treatment room. And it’s not just kids that aren’t allowed here — mobile phones are banned too, so you can really use this time to switch off and disconnect. “You can wear your gown for the entire day... even in the restaurant,” as one reader told us. “I mean, this is heaven.”
How: Rooms from €278; monart.ie
2. Cottages for Couples, Co Cork
You might think that treehouses are the kids’ domain. But why let them have all the fun? These swish treehouses near Skibbereen are the ultimate romantic hideaway for grown-ups, tucked in between the branches of spruce trees on the grounds of Grove House, near Skibbereen. They’re fully kitted out with kitchens, satellite TV, roll-top baths and even a two-person hot tub out on the deck, so you can soak with a glass of bubbles as you gaze out at the tree tops. There are other cottages available too, almost all of which have their own hot tubs.
How: Treehouses from €179 per night; cottages from around €159. cottagesforcouples.ie
3. Killarney Glamping, Co Kerry
If you want to embrace the great outdoors but also want a bit of all-weather security, these glamping suites are a great compromise. With canvas ceilings but wooden roofs, the triangular pods look a little like safari tents, but with a more solid base. Unusually for campsites, they’re open 11 months of the year, closing only in January. But things are kept toasty in the winter, with heating in the bedrooms and patios, and electric blankets on the bed, too. And if romance to you means pizza in bed rather than a 10-course tasting menu, you’re in luck — you can get a takeaway delivered right to your tent.
How: Rates from €90; killarneyglamping.com
4. Barbican, Co Antrim
There are any number of gorgeous properties from the Irish Landmark Trust that are perfect for adult-only breaks. Mostly because their spiral staircases or period quirks make them unsuitable for kids. But it’s these historic features that make for a dreamy romantic getaway. Set on the grounds of Glenarm Castle, Barbican is a Gothic masterpiece built in 1825, with stone turrets, heavy medieval doors and even a fairytale bridge. If you really want to escape the world, try the beautiful Helen’s Tower in Co Antrim, a proper adults-only fortress deep in the forest.
How: Barbican starts from €333 for two nights; irishlandmark.com
5. Wicklow Escape, Co Wicklow
With a few lodge rooms spread around a beautiful garden in the Wicklow Mountains, this place is a proper retreat from the world. New to Ireland’s Blue Book this year, the focus at the Wicklow Escape is all about the food, with tasting menus and forest feasts cooked up by new head chef Mark Ahessy, formerly of Chapter One and L’Écrivain (he replaces Danni Barry, who worked with the Escape after its launch last year). Between meals, you can have a dip in the wood-fired hot tub, walk in the mountains or take a delicious nap on the giant, squishy beds.
How: A one-night package starts from €592, including meals; thewicklowescape.com
6. Beds of Silk, Co Clare
Set in the village of Labasheeda (which translates as “beds of silk”), these handcrafted shepherd’s huts are small but mighty, with little kitchenettes and stylish notes like natural stone basins in the bathroom and Edison bulbs above the bed. For the ultimate treat, book the Eri Hut, which comes with private access to the seaweed barrel baths, where you can soak under the stars in the garden.
How: Huts start from €139 per night; the Eri Hut costs €40 extra; bedsofsilk.com
7. Screebe House, Connemara
It’s only a short hop from Galway, but Screebe House feels a million miles from the city. With elegant rooms, roaring fires and a great location right on the water, this is the Connemara guesthouse of your dreams. Next door you’ll find the Spa Lodge, with an indoor saltwater pool, seaweed baths and an outdoor hot tub overlooking the sea. If you really want to wake yourself up, leap into the water from one of the nearby piers, before heading back to warm the cockles in the sauna and steam room. With no televisions in the bedrooms, this is the place to switch off and hide away from the world.
How: Rooms from €220; screebe.com
8. Ballyfin, Co Laois
The kind of place you’d be terrified to bring the kids to anyway (though they are welcome when the whole place is rented exclusively), Ballyfin is the ultimate childfree getaway. Here, you can languish on the golden armchairs and live like royalty, if only for a night. The food is exceptional, the spa is a dream, and the various lounges and drawing rooms are so opulent, they feel like they should be hidden behind a red velvet rope. All that, and there’s a whole demesne to explore. It’s a member of Ireland’s Blue Book, too.
How: Full board from €930; ballyfin.com
9. Lorum Old Rectory, Co Carlow
If you’re after a characterful country-house break, Hidden Ireland is always a good place to start, with self-catering rentals as well as B&B offerings on their books. While not all are strictly for adults only, Lorum Old Rectory is one such place, home to a gorgeous collection of homely guest rooms, complete with overflowing bookcases and four-poster beds. In the drawing room, you can curl up on the couch and relax next to the giant marble fireplace, maybe even with a glass of pre-dinner wine.
How: Rooms from €180; hiddenireland.com
10. Hodson Bay Hotel, Co Westmeath
Now, this one isn’t entirely kid-free, strictly speaking. But there’s an entire wing of this hotel that is for adults only, which is also home to their spa. Not only that, but the Retreat Wing has a lounge where you’ll find complimentary activities for adults, like wine and cheese tastings with their sommelier, whiskey and craft-beer tastings, skincare talks and the like. The rooms in this wing have also just undergone a jazzy refurb, and you can breathe in the peaceful vibes with a stroll around the 145 acres of meadows and woodlands along the lakeshore.
How: Rooms from €140; hodsonbayhotel.com
NB: All prices subject to change/availability. Prices are based on two adults sharing. Book direct for best rates.