Why not surprise your loved one with a luxury escape when we can travel again? I’ve listed the best hotels in Ireland for luxury and romance below.
Think waiter service, 1,000 thread count bed sheets and outdoor hot tubs – we all want something to look forward to… It may seem like a pipe dream right now, but hotels in Ireland are opening on the 18th of July. Why not make that dream a reality and book a romantic escape in one of the best hotels in Ireland? I’ve listed my top picks below, which include five star luxury hotels and foodie breaks in Michelin star pubs that happen to have rooms upstairs! Hopefully one of these will be just what’s needed to rekindle some romance when this is all over.
1. Adare Manor, Co Limerick
After a staggering two-year long refurbishment, Adare Manor opened to rave reviews, and has already won numerous awards including the best resort in Europe and the 5th best resort in the world, in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers Choice Awards. Be prepared to be astonished by the 840 acres of pristine parkland, the lavish interiors and the award-winning spa.
This luxury five-star resort also boasts the Michelin star restaurant, The Oak Room. If you are looking to spoil yourself, or a loved one, then look no further than Adare Manor.
2. Ashford Castle, Co Mayo
Is there anything more romantic than staying in a 13th century castle? I recall driving across the moat and seeing Ashford Castle for the first time – it was like being inside a fairytale. Awarded the accolade as a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, Ashford castle is undoubtedly one of the best hotels in Ireland. As well as lavish interiors and a choice of dining options, you can enjoy a host of sporting activities or relax in the stunning spa.
3. Ballyfin Demesne, Co. Laois
Ballyfin Demense is not only one of the best hotels in Ireland, it is one of the best hotels in the world according to Condé Nast Traveler. According to Richard E Grant “it was like stepping back in the past without the inconvenience of no electricity. The personal attention…the welcome of the people, the setting, the food, I should be their PR manager” – it sounds pretty special doesn’t it? This five-star luxury country house has only 20 rooms and is open to residents only – it is a perfect choice for an intimate escape.
4. Castle Leslie, Co. Monaghan
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Castle Leslie Estate is one of my favourite hotels in Ireland. The fact that is one of the few great Irish castle estates that still remains in the hands of the founding family is remarkable. Surrounded by 1,000 acres of woodland, lakes and stunning gardens, I don’t believe you could take a bad photograph in Castle Leslie. If you are fortunate to get married here, (like Sir Paul McCartney and many other celebrities), you take over the whole castle – only you and your guests are allowed to stay. Castle Leslie is often referred to as ‘Europe’s most romantic hotel’ – I can see why.
5. Cliff House Hotel, Co. Waterford
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I stayed overnight in The Cliff House Hotel last year and loved it. It is regarded by many as one of the best hotels in Ireland and I couldn’t agree more. This five-star boutique hotel in the small fishing village of Ardmore has only 39 rooms, and is the ultimate romantic hideaway.
I had a superb meal in its Michelin-star restaurant – in fact it one of the best meals I have ever eaten. I only wish I had time to enjoy the swimming pool and spa too. Its setting, perched on a cliff over looking the Irish Sea is absolutely breathtaking. Bring me back….
6. Dromoland Castle, Co. Clare
Dromoland Castle has been welcoming guests since the 16th century. It is the ancestral home of the O’Briens of Dromoland, whose lineage dates back 1,000 years to Brian Boru. I stayed here many years ago with my husband and enjoyed a wonderful romantic weekend. The bedrooms are superb, we were fortunate to be staying inside one of the turrets! This luxurious five-star hotel is full of history, grandeur and romance – a royal stay is guaranteed.
7. Finn Lough Bubble Domes, Co. Fermanagh
You may have seen images of similar domes under the Northern Lights in Lapland or Norway, but you only have to venture as far as Co. Fermanagh to enjoy stargazing from the comfort of your own four-poster bed. With a 180 glass dome you will feel immersed in nature, albeit from a heated dome that comes equipped with an ensuite bathroom, Nespresso coffee machine, bath robes and complimentary breakfast. There is also a luxury spa and top quality restaurant on site.
8. Galgorm Resort, Co. Antrim
Galgorm Spa and Golf Resort is one of Northern Ireland’s most luxurious spa hotels. Set within 163 acres of parkland with the River Maine flowing through the estate, it has all the feels of a secluded hideaway, yet is only 30 minutes from Belfast. The riverside hot tubs and outdoor heated pools are an Instagram favourite, but there is more to Galgorm than its unique thermal village. There are numerous dining options to choose from as well as a championship golf course.
I was supposed to be staying in Galgorm Resort in March but unfortuntely had to cancel. Hopefully I will visit later in the year – watch out for my review!
9. Glenlo Abbey Hotel, Co. Galway
Glenlo Abbey is located on an 138-acre estate on Lough Corrib, and has been welcoming guests since 1740. The on site facilities are impressive, and include a Falconry, archery, fishing, golf, and the Abbey movie theatre. However, the pièce de résistance is the Pullman Restaurant, which is two former carriages that once served on the Orient Express. Can you think of anything more romantic than telling your loved one you will be dining in the Orient Express?
10. Harvey’s Point, Co. Donegal
Harvey’s Point has been on my wish list for many years, in fact I promised myself I would visit this year – hopefully that will still happen. Although only a four-star hotel, Harvey’s Point always manages to receive five-star reviews from its guests – it has been named the best hotel in Ireland five years in a row from Tripadvisor.
11. Hayfield Manor, Co. Cork
The prestigious five-star Hayfield Manor hotel has all the charm of a country house, yet is located just a short stroll from Cork City. However, with two award-winning restaurants and the Beautique Spa with indoor heated pool, you may find it difficult to leave.
Hayfield Manor is an independent family owned hotel whose mission is to exceed guests expectations. It seems it has succeeded, as it was won numerous awards including Ireland’s Best Welcome at the 2020 Irish Independent Reader Travel Awards.
12. Lough Eske Castle, Co. Donegal
Lough Eske Castle is steeped in history and romance. Dating back to the 15th century and set within 43 acres of native woodland on the shores of Lough Eske, it certainly has the wow factor. It blends its historic past with contemporary luxury beautifully, and has a luxury spa with a swimming pool for the ultimate relaxing break.
13. Marlfield House, Co. Wexford
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My husband Cormac and I booked an overnight escape to Marlfield House last year – a rare night away without the kids. Located just an hour’s drive from Dublin, it is a great choice if you can only get away for one night.
We arrived in time for lunch and enjoyed a fabulous meal in the Conservatory Restaurant. In the evening time we ate in The Duck, a restaurant that deserves all the praise and awards that it receives. We also enjoyed a stroll on the famous Curracloe beach before returning home the following day.
14. Monart, Co. Wexford
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If you are looking for a romantic spa break in Ireland, then look no further than Monart. You won’t find a sports facilities and nightly entertainment, but you will find one of Ireland’s best spa hotels.
When you arrive you can slip on your robe and never don clothes again until you leave – yes many people even dine in their bath robes! It is one of the most relaxing hotel stays I have experienced, but you do need to plan a quiet night with not too many night caps to experience it properly. Many Irish hotels have spas but there is only one destination Spa hotel in Ireland – Monart.
Read: My review of Monart
15. Sheen Falls Lodge, Co. Kerry
Sheen Falls Lodge enjoys an idyllic location overlooking Sheen Waterfalls, as well as being within walking distance to the picturesque town of Kenmare. A Relais & Chateaux Hotel, it boasts fine food and wine and a host of activities including kayaking, paddle-boarding, archery, fishing, horse riding, clay pigeon shooting and falconry. If you prefer to relax, spend some time in the spa or indoor heated pool.
Kenmare is ideally situated on the Ring of Kerry and on the Wild Atlantic Way, making it a great choice if you want to see some of Kerry’s highlights.
16. The Hideaway at Dromquinna Manor, Co. Kerry
For couples looking for the ultimate retreat, The Hideaway is the place to go. You will be staying in a custom made African safari tent, over looking the lake on the grounds of Dromquinna Manor. The world ‘tent’ doesn’t adequately describe your accommodation… Complete with a luxurious en-suite bedroom and private veranda, it is camping but not as you know it.
There is a separate entrance to the Hideaway via a private gated garden ensuring absolute privacy. A delicious breakfast basket will be delivered to your tent every morning and you can enjoy dinner in The Boathouse in the evening. This is my idea of pure romance and I can’t wait to visit!
17. The Ice House Hotel, Co. Mayo
Funky furnishings and an eclectic design combine to make The Ice Hotel one of Ireland’s coolest hotels – excuse the pun! It has all the feels of a city hotel, yet located in the countryside on the banks of the river Moy. The outdoor hot tubs and superb spa garden, as well as fantastic food, fine wines and clever cocktails, have made guests return year after year.
A member of Ireland’s Blue Book the Ice Hotel boasts 32 rooms and suites, creating an intimate atmosphere for a romantic break away.
18. The Shelbourne, Dublin
I may be a little biased to consider The Shelbourne Hotel as one of Ireland’s best hotels – I got married here many years ago! It is not only a luxury five-star hotel, but it is one of Dublin’s landmarks. Located right on St. Stephen’s Green, it has been the centre of the city’s social and cultural life for 200 years.
I still love to pop into The Shelbourne whenever I am in town, and I can think of no where better to stay in Dublin if you want to plan a romantic break away.
19. The Wild Honey Inn, Co. Clare
Romantic escapes don’t need to be in five-star hotels! Foodies will love the chance to stay in this traditional Inn that was the first pub in Ireland to be awarded a Michelin star. More like a restaurant with rooms than a typical hotel, the bright airy rooms have their own terrace with views over the surrounding countryside. For couples who are looking for a unique adult-only experience with fine dining, check out the Wild Honey Inn.
20. Wineport Lodge, Co. Westmeath
Wineport Lodge has been a firm favourite for romantic breaks in Ireland for many years. Located in Athlone, in the centre of Ireland, it is easily accesible from most cities, making it a good choice for an overnight escape. Its tranquil setting on the banks of Lough Ree makes you feel immediately relaxed once you step inside. Enjoy a treatment in their Treatment Suite or a bathe in the outdoor hot tub, and let’s not forget a glass the obligatory of wine on the terrace.
I hope this post on the best hotels in Ireland will help you plan a romantic escape in the near future. Note some of the links in this post contain affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.