Five great Irish staycation ideas

You don’t need to go abroad this summer, says Ciara McDonnell. She picks some of the best local destinations on offer in 2016.

A New Look For The Malton

Word has it that The Malton in Killarney is undergoing a major refurbishment at the moment. Following on from its busy first year for owners the Scallys, in February 2016 The Malton will reopen its doors to reveal an extensive bedroom refurbishment and a new look for the hotel’s magnificent Victorian grand foyer.

The refurbishment is under the direction of Joe Scally’s daughter, Annemarie who is Interiors and Creative Designer for the family business.

The Shelbourne Launches Super Spa

The Shelbourne has recently launched the latest addition to its extensive beauty offering. The Salon at The Shelbourne is headed up by Leanne Loughran, and offers hair styling, manicures, pedicures, express beauty treatments and a specialist blow-dry bar.

We love the concept of their Elemis Express Treatments; allowing guests to avail of a speedy route to fabulousness. The Speed Spa powered by Elemis provides an intense blast of the world-renowned Elemis expertise, promising to make every minute count, and delivering maximum results in minimum time.

The Elemis Speed Spa treatments range from the ‘Clear Objective’ which is a deep cleansing, ultrasonic vibration and massage to detoxify and decongest skin to the ‘End of the Line’ where micro-current technology meets oxygen infusion to power-up that dermis giving skin a vigorous plumping and a renewed sense of purpose.

This deluxe salon is all about detail, and as well as a huge range of signature treatments, will offer a wide range of cocktails and champagne, as well as a bespoke breakfast menu to ensure that patrons leave replenished on all levels.

Five great Irish staycation ideas

Can’t bear the thought of being cut off from the world during your spa treatment?

Never fear — guests at The Salon get to avail of the complimentary iPads from the comfort of their treatment chairs.

The Future Looks Blue

2016 is going to be a fantastic year for Ireland’s Blue Book with the addition of six new hotels and restaurants to its growing portfolio.

This luxury listing is the go-to website for guests looking to stay in unique and utterly luxurious surroundings. This year sees Brown’s Restaurant, Derry, No. 1 Pery Square, Co Limerick, Viewmount House, Co Longford and for the first time some incredible Private Rentals including Coolmore Manor, Co Donegal and The Shannon Princess Co. Westmeath joining the illustrious collection.

Members of The Blue Book are selected on a strict criteria basis, with the emphasis being on properties who have a strong individualistic style and character and who are not members of hotel chains.

This benchmark of quality allows The Blue Book to showcase properties that are a little different, but are always of the highest standard.

Head west For Gastronomic Bliss

Ballynahinch Castle in Connemara has welcomed new head chef Ultan Cooke to oversee their food offering over the coming years.

A rising star on the Irish food scene, Cooke was head chef at Aniar in Galway during the time it retained its Michelin star. Cooke’s food ethos matches perfectly with the natural larder surrounding Ballynahinch Castle.

Five great Irish staycation ideas

The presence of this new creative force in the kitchen is sure to put Ballynahinch, and its restaurant The Owenmore, on the food map. With local produce like Clarinbridge oysters, Connemara lamb and wild rabbit not to mention the huge amount of incredible wild plants to be foraged, this is a restaurant to get excited about.

Heaven Is Chocolate

The Lodge At Ashford is honing in on our love of chocolate in the coming months, with Tumbling Through Chocolate — their chocolate focused afternoon tea in Wildes, the hotel’s gorgeous restaurant.

Beginning with a selection of savoury treats — cheese scones with red onion marmalade, smoked salmon eclairs, cucumber profiteroles and beetroot and horseradish macaroons — the highlight of this experience is a dramatic chocolate bomb, broken open at the table to reveal a secret stash of handmade sweets.

The chocolate balloon contains mini-brownies, chocolate ice-cream, macaroons and truffles and is accompanied by a mint and wood sorrel slushie. Tumbling through Truffles Afternoon Tea is served in Wilde’s from 2 pm to 5 pm daily and costs €17.50 per person with hot chocolate or your choice of tea.

Meanwhile, Ashford Castle was rated number 12 on the prestigious Condé Nast Gold List 2016 in December. A definitive compilation of its editors’ choices of world’s top hotels for the coming year, spanning six continents and 47 countries, Ashford Castle is the only Irish property to be named as one of the top 100 worldwide hotels.

Since reopening its doors in April 2015, following an extensive two-year restoration project by owners Red Carnation Hotel Group, Ashford Castle has kept on wining awards including Virtuoso’s World’s Number 1 Hotel 2015 and the 2015 Andrew Harper’s Readers’ Choice for Top Family Resort.


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