It’s safe to say that, as lockdown drags on, our next breaks are very much taking up some brain space. Been fantasising about that trip much? Yeah, us too. For those in the UK, the first opportunities to get away will probably be staycations, or, at very best, short haul trips. With that in mind we have taken a look at the very best in luxury that our Northern Irish neighbours have to offer.
London to Belfast is a little over an hour by plane, and it’s rare such a short hop from the capital will take you to crystal clear waters and stunning beaches. With breath-taking scenery and glorious atmosphere in the bag, let’s take a look at our top 3 luxury hotels in the region.
1. The Culloden Estate & Spa
The Culloden Estate & Spa in Belfast stands on the forested slopes of the Holywood hills, overlooking Belfast Lough and the glorious County Antrim coastline, offering idyllic surrounds for a cosy weekend break. The Culloden is a grand estate originally built as a Palace for the Bishops of Down, Known as ‘The Ritz of Northern Ireland,’
With nature on the doorstep, guests can explore the stunning colours of Northern Ireland, admiring the maples at Mount Stewart, located just minutes from the Culloden Estate & Spa. With luxurious treatment suites, relaxation rooms, swimming pool, a range of heat experiences and an extensive selection of therapies on offer, the Spa at Culloden offers the perfect haven to enjoy some time out and pampering. As far as luxury hotels in Northern Ireland go, The Culloden is up there.
As a cosy country hotel, Culloden Estate & Spa immerses guests within a warm atmosphere that is the ideal complement to a refreshing country walk, the perfect antidote to lockdown lethargy. Enjoy fine dining in front of a roaring fire, or spend a beautiful day in the tranquil spa, followed by indulgent afternoon tea. Culloden Estate & Spa offers something for everyone, allowing guests to enjoy the stunning Northern Irish landscape and provide themselves with a well-earned break.
2. The Slieve Donard Resort &
The Slieve Donard Resort & Spa is situated on the idyllic seashores of the Irish sea on Newcastle Bay. The luxury hotel looks out to the Mountains of Mourne with spectacular views across the Royal County Down Golf Course. Set in six acres of beautifully kept private grounds, the property is famous for its expansive and luxurious spa.
The four star Slieve Donard Resort and Spa offers 181 comfortable and stylish bedrooms, including Classic, Superior, Executive and Resort rooms as well as 6 luxury suites. The inside of your hotel room is traditionally tasteful, comfortable and inviting. The recently refurbished and luxurious rooms are the ultimate haven to relax in. Their King Koil “cloud beds” have an extra thick mattress and the plumpest pillows and duvets available to help ensure you drift away and enjoy a perfect night’s sleep.
Overlooking a windswept Irish Beach, the Spa at Slieve Donard is an exquisite haven of escapism. Here you will find the contrasts of light and dark mingle to create inspiring and comforting spaces to relax, restore and revitalise. And, all the while, the majestic Mountains of Mourne and the rolling sand dunes of County Down provide the perfect backdrop for a spa of refined relaxation.
Guests can escape to a cocoon of calm and melt away their stresses with over two floors of tranquillity, including a magnificent 20 metre swimming pool and Vitality Pool, amethyst steam room and high tech fitness studio.
3. Ballygally Castle
Ballygally Castle is beautifully located on the scenic Antrim coast facing the soft, sandy beaches of Ballygally Bay and only 26 miles from Belfast. The hotel offers 18 “5 star coastal view” rooms including 6 family rooms making it one of the largest hotels on the Causeway Coastal route with 54 bedrooms. The castle dates back to 1625 and is unique in that it is the only 17th Century building still used as a residence in Northern Ireland today. The hotel is reputedly haunted by a friendly ghost and brave guests can visit the “ghost room” in one of the towers to see for themselves.
This beautiful Castle is perfectly located for top tourist attractions and has a wealth of recreational activities within easy reach making it the perfect base for exploring the stunning Causeway Coastal Route, Bushmills Distillery, Carrickfergus Castle, Royal Portrush Golf Course, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and the popular Game of Thrones Tour. For those wishing to explore on foot will enjoy the beautiful walks to be found in Carnfunnock Country Park, which is within walking distance, or simply relax and enjoy a leisurely stroll on the beach opposite the hotel.
Ballygally Castle’s Garden Restaurant enjoys beautiful views over the grounds and serves a delicious traditional Irish Breakfast. The restaurant offers an excellent table d’hôte dinner menu, as well as a range of daily specials, where chefs use only the best of local produce to provide a wide range of culinary delights.