Planning a Twixmas break? Discover the ten best hotel stays of our travel editor in 2021


Voted Ireland’s Best Guest House by the Georgina Campbell Awards, but is Blackwell House in County Armagh worth it? It certainly is.

Located in the heart of County Orchard, the country house’s five-star boutique hotel impresses with its luxury accommodations, from the rustic Orchard Room to the Charleston, dripping with the finesse of the Roaring Twenties.

Chef-owner Joyce Brownless and her husband Steve also create an exceptional dining experience in Ulster (highly recommended for celiacs too!). From 180 €

9: Hard Rock Hotel

Looking for a fun getaway? The Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin was the surprise hit of my summer.

Rooms are vibrant, luxurious, and come with music-laden TVs, while there are options to control your personal vinyl player or Fender guitar in your room. Rock On!

Also discover their excellent Peruvian-inspired restaurant, Zampas. Good value for money in the capital with rooms from 170 €

8: Limerick Strand

Thinking of taking a break in the City of Treaties? What I really liked about the Strand in Limerick was that every corner I turned in the four star hotel gave me a sense of connection to the city.

Not only were the views of Shannon and King John’s Castle from my room quite spectacular (and most junior suites have great balconies), the menu at the hotel’s River Restaurant is also a delicious celebration of Munster products. .

Highly recommended for a great value break in Limerick. From 115 €

7: The Imperial

With further renovations and new openings 2021 has been an exciting year for hotels in Cork City, but my favorite stay this year was the old classic that is the Imperial Hotel.

The old world property on the leafy South Mall offers historic charm while the elegantly appointed rooms have an air of classic luxury.

Dining in the Art Deco-inspired Thyme Restaurant was a revelation as the hotel’s new cocktail bar, Sketch, added a fun touch to a perfect stay.

With other stellar options like The Montenotte and The Dean, Cork’s hotel offerings have never been better. From 115 €

6: The Shelbourne

Any hotel room that causes an audible “wow” at first glance is surely something special.

And it was my experience at the iconic Shelbourne this year which was truly a great Irish experience as much as a typical hotel stay.

Elegant rooms; the service is there; and this setting overlooking St Stephen’s Green is pure Dublin romance. From 499 €

5: Salterbridge Gatelodge

One of my highlights from this year’s stays was the independent property collection managed by the Irish Landmark Trust.

I was lucky enough to check in at two: Kilkee Cottage in Mitchelstown which was a great rural alternative, but Salterbridge Lodge in Cappoquin, Co. Waterford was the real find for me.

The mid-19th century architectural treasure that guards the historic estate is bursting with character, antiques, and charming pieces, including a country kitchen so well-stocked even Mrs. Patmore would be in awe.

Downton abbey indeed feels… even though I was the humble keeper. From 175 €

4: The Harrison

The Merchant Hotel in Belfast is the city’s most iconic accommodation, but I think it has some competition!

Having opened its doors just over a year ago, The Harrison (by Melanie Harrison) is quickly gaining a reputation as the city’s must-see, with wonderfully appointed rooms filled with story, chalk and dazzling.

If budget allows, treat yourself to one of the Harrison’s suites for their four-poster beds, freestanding soaking tubs, and picture windows overlooking the Queen’s Quarter. A real beauty of Belfast, then! From 132 €

3: Rosleague Manor

I love that even in Ireland there are still so many properties on the island that I haven’t visited – ready to impress. This was the case with Rosleague Manor, the dreamiest country house hideaway set in the Connemara wilderness.

The rooms at this country hotel were comfortable with a view of the postcards. But the real highlight was the superb dining room and the warm service which still retains an air of old country house hospitality.

Rosleague sits amid acres of scenic woodland walks as well as a stretch of its own private Connemara coastline… it will be hard to find a dream county house getaway. From 180 €

2: Bushmills Inn

The Bushmills Inn is at the top of my list of hotel tips this year. But I’m hardly ahead of the gang here… after all, they’ve only been hosting guests for about 400 years!

Heritage seeps through the (very thick!) Walls

Its tavern-like restaurant is one of the most unique dining rooms in the country and the locally inspired cuisine is also quite fantastic.

You might want to make it a weekend: the hostel is located near a mine of attractions on the Causeway Coast. From 185 €

1: Cabü

Drum roll… my number one stay of the year is none other than Cabü, the trendy lodge in the heart of the magnificent lakes of Cavan.

I was a little skeptical before checking out the ‘Instagram-gold’ heaven on the shores of Lough Oughter, but Cabü really proved that you can have style, substance, and a pretty gorgeous backdrop too.

The luxury cabins, made from Coillte’s original show houses, are a dream hybrid between perfect Pinterest design and hygge comfort, while the stunning Cabü lake and forest setting adds to this escape. Savage.

A true all-season getaway to the ever-changing Hidden Heartlands of Ireland. From 175 €


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