The 12 stays of Christmas

Don’t feel like cooking this Christmas? We’ve compiled the very best festive stays — so you can check in and chill out.

Feel festive in Dublin at the Radisson

1. K Club Kildare

It’s opulent and elegant but at the same time the K Club is cosy, just the sense of relaxation and familiarity you want for the festive season.

Its old school charm — grandeur withtraditional hospitality — is one of its biggest draw cards, and explains its huge popularity for Christmas.

It ticks all the boxes — lush country setting, attentive staff, carol singing, Santa’s arrival on a horse and carriage, a Christmas tree in every room — mixed with the perks of a high end hotel: daily activities, interconnecting family rooms, kids clubs, and spa.

It’s Christmas heaven. Begin with mulled wine and mince pies on arrival, to dine on in one of the drawing rooms complete with crackling log fires and deep sofas so you can really make yourself at home.

The kids’ club keeps the small ones entertained with Christmas movies, discos, face painting and treasure hunts.

Two family nights at the K Club starts from €995 per night.

- www.kclub.ie

2. Castlemartyr Cork

There will be carols sung by a local choir at the Castlemartyr resort in Cork.

Arrive on Christmas Eve to mulled wine in this five-star resort and savour an afternoon stroll in the woodland grounds. Afterwards there’s a cocktail reception at the manor house with Christmas carols by a local choir with dinner after at the bell tower. A special visitor is expected by pop by afterwards for smaller guests....

Wake up on Christmas morning with breakfast at the Manor House and after gifts are exchanged, savour a Christmas feast with board games and Christmas movies to while away the evening.

You can even book a carriage for a cosy ride around the castle grounds on St Stephen’s Day.

A two night stay starts at €850 per night based on two people sharing.

- www.castlemartyr.ie

3. Clontarf Castle Hotel

This unique 12th century castle hotel blends the old with the new. Celebrate Christmas in this historic destination with mulled wine to greet you on Christmas Eve. Later there’s a four-course dinner in the great hall.

On Christmas morning a champagne artisan breakfast is on the menu with Christmas Day Mass in the Viking suite. A festive feast is served later in the great hall.

A two night little Christmas festive feast starts from €569 per person sharing.

- www.clontarfcastle.ie

4. Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Dublin

It’s Christmas with a city feel at the Radisson in the capital. After last minute shopping on Grafton St, escape the hustle and bustle and check into the stylish hotel surrounds. There’s a three-course dinner for two in the hotel. Wake up on Christmas to a stocking on your door filled with chocolates, crackers and treats before savouring Super Breakfast in bed. Later there’s Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.

On St Stephen’s Day you’re perfectly positioned for the Christmas sales, and there’s also the option of a 2pm complimentary late check out.

- The two night Christmas cracker package comes in at €250 per person sharing www.radissonblu.com

5. Ballynahinch Galway

Christmas at Galway’s Ballynahinch is focused on family tradition and ritual — festive essentials. On Christmas Eve there’s pre-dinner carol singing and an option of late breakfast on Christmas morning, with crackers waiting to be pulled before festive lunch later that day.

This Victorian country house and estate has riverside suites on its own stretch of river in the heart of Connemara.

It’s luxury, yet the hotel is utterly focused on family tradition and ritual — festive essentials.

On Christmas Eve there’s pre-dinner carol singing before dinner is served in the Owenmore Restaurant, a series of riverside rooms lit by crackling log fires.

Board games will be at the ready for afters in the hotel’s cosy sofas.

There’s the option of late breakfast on Christmas morning, with crackers waiting to be pulled before festive lunch later that day. Afterwards, catch a Christmas movie, with popcorn on hand.

Guided walks will be available from the front door on St Stephen’s morning, and it’s local music and proving entertainment that evening. Three nights dinner bed and breakfast costs €870 per person sharing.

- www.ballynahinch-castle.com

6. The Shelbourne Dublin

You can join centuries of other guests who have enjoyed the season of good will at Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel.

Glowing with traditional elegance warmth and luxury, the Grand Dame of Irish hotels is otherworldly at Christmas time.

Beginning with the annual Christmas tree lighting the Shelbourne looks its very best during the festive season.

Join centuries of other guests who have marked the season of goodwill at the historic hotel.

Think Christmas morning dinner in the Saddle Room, complete with a visit from Santa in the Lord

Mayors lounge. A one-night stay with breakfast and a lavish five-star lunch starts from €875 per room.

- www.theshelbourne.ie

7. The Limerick Strand

Enjoy mulled wine and mince pies on arrival or opt for relaxation at the indoor heated pool at Limerick’s Strand Hotel.

Escape last minute shopping at check-in with mulled wine and mince pies on arrival or opt for relaxation at the indoor heated pool. If you feel like some pampering, head next door to Niall Colgan hairdressing for a 10% discount.

The River Restaurant hosts dinner that evening with entertainment for afters at the Terrace Bar.

There’s Buck’s Fizz for breakfast on Christmas morning with drinks and canapés later at the city view suite with panoramic views of the city. Then it’s five-course dinner at the River Restaurant complete with a visit from Santa. There’s a movie in the Library and jazz and high tea that evening.

Two nights costs €335 per person sharing, children stay free.

- www.strandlimerick.ie

8. Radisson Blu Hotel Sligo

Christmas Day begins with the famous super buffet breakfast and a gathering around the tree to await the arrival of Santa.

Later, after lunch, with the kids firmly in mind, the resident magician will work his magic.

Live music and evening entertainment wrap up the day.

On St Stephen’s Day there’s the option of the guided walk on the foot of Benbulben.

A two-night Christmas stay is available from €350 per person sharing.

- radissonblu.com

9. Dromoland Castle

A welcome with the scent of homemade mince pies and mulled wine filling the air, the 16th century Dromoland castle makes for a luxury home from home.

Festive breaks are available from Christmas Eve to Stephens Day at €1,180 per person including a celebratory cocktail reception with canapés followed by dinner in the Earl of Thomond and Terrace Restaurant. On Christmas Day, spend the afternoon relaxing in front of an open fire with a board game in The Gallery and Drawing Room with the resident pianist on hand to entertain. Enjoy a leisurely St Stephen’s Day and take the time to enjoy estate activities from championship golf to archery, clay pigeon shooting to falconry. Or perhaps a stroll or cycle around some of the 450-acre estate.

- dromoland.ie

10. InterContinental Dublin

Check into one of Dublin’s most stylish addresses at the InterContinental in Ballsbridge, Dublin.

Luxury one- and two-night residental packages are on offer at the five star hotel. Hot chocolate and mulled wine will be on hand at check in, where you can curl up on a luscious couch in the cosy, yet elegant, Lobby Lounge.

After Christmas morning breakfast the next day, there’s a five-course lunch and champagne reception overseen by Executive Chef Alberto Rossi. There’s even a visit from Santa with a special Christmas gift.

Residential packages start at €348pp and include 10% off treatments in the spa — and free city centre packing.

- www.intercontinentaldublin.ie

11. Sheen Falls Kenmare

The Sheen falls, with its sensational lakeside location, is transformed into a winter wonderland at Christmas. Known for its homely five-star welcome — striking the perfect balance between professional yet personable — it’s what the hotel regulars just keep returning to, especially for the festive season.

Hot apple cider is served on check-in Christmas Eve, with dinner in The Falls restaurant.

Champagne is served with breakfast — while Christmas lunch comes with the hotel’s very own smoked salmon. The entertainment continues on St Stephen’s Day with a treasure hunt and winter walk for the family.

A two-night stay costs from €840pp.

- sheenfallslodge.ie

12 The Park Kenmare

And finally... who better to look after you at Christmas than Francis and John Brennan. Unsurprisingly, this year is already fully booked — but this hotel is worth an early booking for 2019. Christmas trees in every room, and a welcome from the hosts with the most. What more could you ask for.

- parkkenmare.com


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