Something wonderful happened this Summer, something totally unforgettable.
That special something comes in the form of Lough Eske, a five star luxury castle hotel in Ireland. Our visit gave me some of the best moments of 2012.
Lough Eske has a lot going for it. It is part of the Solis brand, meaning you are pretty much guaranteed good service, good amenities, good food and good value for money.
(For Lough Eske, change all the above from `good` to `outstanding`)
Situated in arguably Ireland`s most beautiful county, Donegal and on the shores of Lough Eske and surrounded by the Bluestack mountains, you are immediately immersed in aesthetic perfection. The long scenic drive up to the hotel fills you with anticipation. The grounds are immaculate and well crafted, the welcome by the concierges genuine and friendly.
We stayed in a garden suite directly opposite the spa and less than a minute from the main hotel building. These modern suites have everything you require and more. Elegance and open plan style meets comfort, the bed was amazing and I could have slept on.
The staff are numerous, subtly attending to guests needs. The staff are also friendly and in some cases funny too. Luxury hotels do not have to be `stuffy`, they are there to let guests relax.
It was recommended that we stay for 2 nights, to fully appreciate the facilities of Lough Eske. Whilst this is true, I think two nights are required to fully adjust and wind down. Relax to the max, this is the ethos here.
This is a multi award winning hotel. It keeps winning `World’s Best Luxury Country Hotel` at the World Luxury Hotel Awards (2009 & 2010 & 2011). Not bad when you consider that the hotel only opened in December 2007. Hopefully, it will hold on to the title for 2012 – It deserves to.
There is much to do here, whether just strolling around the grounds or making use of the Spa Solis. I swam on both days, mainly to counter balance the amazing meal from the night before (more of that later). The hotel is happy to arrange special activities and this is something I would personally recommend.
With the Bluestack mountains in such proximity, it would have been a crime not to explore. The hotel arranged for a very competent and lovely mountain guide, Anne, from the Bluestack ramblers walking club. Anne led us on a gentle(ish!) walk into the mountains. We enjoyed the scenery as much as Anne`s informed commentary. The hike lasted 3 Ç?¶« hours and it was the hottest weekend of the summer. An amazing experience.
I followed this with a quick swim to loosen up a little. My Fiancee made a visit to the spa, where she had an excellent nail treatment. I made a visit to the bar.
So here I was, midway through our stay, sat outside enjoying the sunshine and reflecting on just how good the hotel had been. A couple of deserved pints after my exertions led me to register this as one of my highlight`s of 2012. The sun was shining, I was in a beautiful place (literally!) and the Smithwick`s was excellent.
Just then, a member of the bar staff asked if everything was ok? I told her exactly what I had just thought, that this was possibly the best moment of 2012 so far. She `high fived` me. I liked that.
In fact, that showed me the staff care about this place, and if any hotel is going to succeed, it has to have the backing of the staff. Stuffy? Pretentious? Lough Eske gives you high fives, that`s the difference! (I`m sure this is not standard practice, but it certainly demonstrates a sense of uniqueness – and as I said, I really appreciated the gesture).
How about the food? In true Lough Eske style, everything was faultless. Set in a relaxed contemporary room, the menu is full of local produce and features fresh, quirky dishes. It is also very reasonable!
I had a steak, which was cooked to absolute perfection, and my Fiancee had duck which again was cooked brilliantly. The accompanying dishes were superb. I could have literally eaten a bucket of the mashed potato, with its smoked cheese subtle flavouring. Amazing.
Lough Eske, a Solis hotel is five star rated and justifiably so. Lough Eske provides perfect care and attention at every level and in every department. It makes the perfect luxury weekend break, it has also become my new favourite hotel.
Lough Eske has been my favourite hotel to review. No mean feat when the competition is considered, yet totally deserved. Lough Eske, here’s that high five right back at you – I will be returning.
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