From lighthouses to beach houses, lakeside lodges to penthouse suites, my bucket list of the top boutique, unique and luxury hotels in Ireland is forever expanding.
I absolutely LOVED researching this post, in fact I’d say it’s been my favourite yet! This was supposed to be a ‘top 10 list’ but there are so many amazing places to stay in Ireland that I couldn’t possibly limit it to that number. I already had plenty of luxury hotels in Ireland, as well as unique holiday homes on my Irish bucket list, but I was amazed to discover so many places that I didn’t know existed. My list has just got a lot longer…
Did you know that Ashford Castle has an exclusive Hideaway Cottage, or that you can stay in a private Lake Lodge in Lough Eske Castle? I stayed in the Cliff House Hotel a few years ago, but I never knew they had a designer Beach House!
I found the cutest thatched cottages at Sheen Falls Lodge Hotel, secluded Inis Meáin Suites, and there are some amazing Airbnbs and private houses that also deserve a mention.
I have selected penthouse suites with private butlers, lighthouses with jaw dropping sea views, luxurious seaside cottages, as well as a treehouse in Wexford and dinner on the Orient Express!
As you can see I have not just chosen luxury hotels in Ireland, I have picked some unique places to stay too. These are my own personal choices, and this is my own bucket list, so you may find some of my choices a little strange.
It is important to point out that this is a BUCKET LIST, so I am not suggesting we can all afford to stay in all of these luxury hotels in Ireland – some of these are very expensive. Hopefully there will be something on this list to impress you, and remember, there is always the Lotto…
Luxury Hotels in Ireland for a Pampered Weekend Away
From time to time, it is nice to treat yourself. And it’s safe to say that Ireland’s most luxurious hotels take your stay to another level.
From relaxing spa treatments, gourmet dining, excellent service and top-notch amenities, a stay at these luxury hotels is an unforgettable experience.
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. There is a wide selection of rooms to choose from, and even staying in one of the Classic Rooms warrants a place on this list.
However, if you really want to indulge, the Dunraven Suites, that were once the private apartments of the Earls of Dunraven, are located in the historic Manor House, while the lavish Signature Suites offer a complimentary minibar, restocked daily, as well as your own private Manor Butler.
For families or friends looking to indulge, try the two and four bedroom Manor Lodges, or the three-bedroom storybook cottages – these are firmly on my Irish bucket list!
2. Ballyfin Demesne, Co. Laois
When it comes to luxury hotels in Ireland, Ballyfin Demense tops the list every time! It was also voted one of the best hotels in the world by 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 suites and is open to residents only – it is a perfect choice for an intimate escape.
3. Stay in a Signature Suite at the Shelbourne
The Shelbourne is not only one of our top luxury hotels in Ireland, 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. It also has impressive dining options, as well as a health club, spa and 19 metre swimming pool.
History buffs or culture vultures will love the Signature Suites at the Shelbourne. They have taken their names from notable visitors over the years, including JFK, Michael Collins, and Éamon de Valera.
Their stories are told through thoughtful décor and curated memorabilia, making each suite unique. You can also expect lavish furnishings ( and a price to match), and stunning views of St. Stephens Green.
4. A family escape at the Dunloe Hotel, Co. Kerry
The Dunloe Hotel and Gardens is a recent addition to my Irish bucket list and must be one of the best luxury hotels in Ireland for families. As well as 64 acres to explore, there is a wonderful outdoor adventure playground on the hotel grounds.
Families can also enjoy kayaking on the river that flows through the estate, as well as complimentary pony trekking, tennis and fishing. If you are lucky to catch something, the kitchen will be pleased to prepare and cook your catch for dinner that evening.
During the summer two popular movies are shown each night, suitable for children of all ages. Popcorn and drinks are provided.
The hotel has large family rooms that can accommodate two adults and three children, which consists of a double room with balcony and a separate room for children via an internal interconnecting door that can not be reached from the hotel corridor – I love this idea! This hotel is pet-friendly too.
5. The Seven Star Steal at The Merrion Hotel
The Merrion Hotel is one of Dublin’s most most luxurious five star hotels, it is also a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. As well as boasting Ireland’s first ever two-star Michelin restaurant, it is also home to an 18 metre pool, spa and gym.
This super seven star steal includes a four-course lunch with a a surprise tasting menu at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, followed by a stay at the Merrion Hotel with breakfast. Price from €225 per person.
6. Stay in a Wild Atlantic Suite at the Armada Hotel, Spanish Point, Co. Clare
With the Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands and the Burren on your doorstep, as well as the traditional Johnny Burke’s Irish pub on site, its no surprise that the 4-star Armada Hotel is one of Clare’s most popular hotels.
I have a grá to stay in either the Seascape Suite or Wild Atlantic Suite. They both offer stunning views of Spanish Point Beach, and have a library, record player and telescope. The Seascape Suite boasts a feature bath tub overlooking the ocean, while the Wild Atlantic Way suite has a four poster bed and fire place. Decisions, decisions…
7. Galgorm Resort & Spa, Co. Antrim
I have booked Galgorm Spa and Golf Resort four times and had to cancel each time due to covid restrictions, so it is definitely on my own bucket list! It is one of Northern Ireland’s most luxurious spa hotels and 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 and the cottages look amazing – I can’t wait to stay there myself.
8. The Ultimate Spa Retreat at Monart, Co. Wexford
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If you are looking for a luxury spa break in Ireland, then look no further than Monart. 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, in order to experience it properly. Many Irish hotels have spas but there is only one destination Spa hotel in Ireland – Monart.
Rooms are not as luxurious as some of the other hotels listed here, but then you are not going to book at stay in Monart because of the hotel rooms. However, if your budget allows, there are two luxurious suites with four poster beds, a free standing bath, and a separate spa-style shower with garden views.
Read: My review of Monart
9. The lake lodge at Lough Eske Castle
Lough Eske Castle is one of the best luxury hotels in Ireland, but it’s own private two-bedroom hideaway, Lake Lodge at Lough Eske, looks like a little piece of heaven. Situated at the Castle gates, overlooking Lough Eske, this secluded two storey lodge retains all its original character, but with Scandinavian style furniture and all modern creature comforts.
The fully equipped kitchen allows you the freedom to cook, but if this is not your idea of a holiday, you can enjoy meals in Lough Eske Castle. Guests also enjoy access to the Spa, swimming pool and all other facilities at the Castle.
If you prefer to stay in Lough Eske Castle, the Tower Suite situated in the original 18th Century wing of Lough Eske Castle is a good bucket list alternative! It is spread over three levels, with a winding staircase leading to an open plan bathroom on the top floor.
10. A superior lake view room at The Europe Hotel
When I asked on Instagram for your favourite luxury hotels in Ireland, The Europe Hotel was recommended many times. Surrounded by the Lakes of Killarney, with a decadent spa and award-winning dining options, I am told it is THE place to stay in Killarney.
The outdoor terrace in the Brasserie Restaurant offers beautiful lake views, as does the fine dining Panorama Restaurant.
There are many room types to choose from, but for the ultimate bucket list experience opt for a superior lake view room. These bright spacious rooms are south facing and have a private balcony with outdoor furniture to enjoy the magnificent lake views.
11. Get pampered at Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa, Co. Wicklow
I’ve been fortunate to stay in Powerscourt Hotel on a few occasions. I’m not sure if its the location in Powerscourt Estate, or the superb facilities on offer, but I always feel like I am in a ‘resort’, miles away from home, despite the fact that it is less than an hour from my house. Bicycles are provided free of charge to explore the estate, nearby Powerscourt Waterfall and the Wicklow countryside.
I have enjoyed casual dining in the Sugar Loaf Lounge as well as dinner in the Sika restaurant, but it is the 20 metre Swarovski crystal-lit swimming pool and the luxury ESPA that blows me away every time.
All rooms are elegantly furnished and offer innovative designs such as recessed TVs in the bathrooms. Superior rooms have a furnished outdoor balcony, which is the perfect place to take in the Wicklow mountain views.
Boutique Hotels in Ireland Worth Checking Out
For those looking a for an intimate atmosphere, consider booking one of Ireland’s boutique hotels. These accommodations don’t skip the luxury experience, yet they offer a more personalised and unique experience.
12. The Hideaway Cottage at 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 luxury 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.
Staying in any of the 83 rooms is already a bucket list experience, but the Hideway Cottage is a truly one of the most unique hotels in ireland. A former boathouse, this lakeside cottage is surrounded by private gardens, yet only minutes from Ashford Castle. You can choose private dining in your cottage, dine alfresco on the pier (weather permitting), or enjoy any of the dining options in the Castle throughout your stay.
Enjoy a welcome basket and a fully stocked bar when you arrive, a 24 hour concierge service, and complimentary Jack Murphy Jackets and Wellingtons are yours to take home, as a reminder of this magical stay.
13. The Cliff Beach House, Co. Waterford
I stayed overnight in The Cliff House Hotel last year and loved it. It is regarded by many as one of the top luxury 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….
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All rooms have sea-views and are beautifully appointed, but if you really want to push the boat out, the split-level Cliff Veranda Suites are spectacular. The living area is on the ground floor and the bedroom is upstairs with a dramatic cliffside location. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors open on to a large private veranda, with ocean views and comfortable sun loungers.
For families or friends the Cliff House also has luxury self catering options. The Cliff Cottage is a three bedroom contemporary home, and the six-bedroomed Cliff Beach House must be one of Ireland’s most exclusive holiday rentals.
14. Fiddle + Bow Lodges & Cottages, Doolin, Co. Clare
As far as Ireland boutique hotels go, Fiddle + Bow is hard to bear. This unique hotel opened in Doolin in the summer of 2019. With just 12 bedrooms, a loft, and 11 self-catering lodges and cottages, it is a delightful boutique hotel.
While the hotel bedrooms are stylish, the lodges and cottages are what caught my eye. They are all beautifully furnished, with dreamy sea views – Hazel Lodge and Elphin Cottage look particularly impressive.
15. Get Away from it all at Inis Meáin Suites, Aran Islands
Inis Meáin is the least developed of the three Aran Islands and a stay in the luxurious Inis Meáin Suites is the ultimate retreat. Explore the beaches, enjoy cliff walks, and meet the Irish-speaking locals on this island that measures only 5km x 3km.
There are only five private suites, and each one was designed to reflect the landscape outside, using wood, lime, stone, and wool. A long 10 metre window provides uninterrupted views of the island and Galway bay and there is a private south-facing seating area outside if you want to enjoy the views in the open air.
The onsite restaurant has won numerous awards and offers a four-course dinner that changes nightly, based around the best local ingredients. A breakfast box and a HotPot Lunch are delivered daily to your suite, as well as an Exploration Kit with bicycles, binoculars, a fishing rod, walking sticks, beach towels, maps and books of interest – it seems the owners really have thought of everything.
There are regular ferries available to the island with AranIslandferries, but for the ultimate indulgence, you can book a private helicopter, they can land on the site of the restaurant.
16. Enjoy a foodie break in Virginia Park Lodge, Co. Cavan
Michelin starred chef Richard Corrigan serves up delicious country fare at the 18th Century hunting estate at Virginia Park Lodge. It is well known as an exclusive hire venue for weddings or special occasions, but it can be booked individually from Sunday to Thursdays.
There is a wide selection of accommodation options in suites, cottages and even Woodland Huts. With French double doors, solid oak flooring and a Shaker style galley kitchen, this is glamping at its finest!
17. A Royal Stay at Dromoland Castle, Co. Clare
Dromoland Castle has been welcoming guests since the 16th century. I enjoyed a romantic weekend here many years ago and stayed in a deluxe tower room. These are, as they sound, in the towers of the hotel, and offer a fairy-tale like experience.
You can also indulge even further and opt for one of the lavish suites. This luxurious five-star hotel is full of history, grandeur and romance – a royal stay is guaranteed.
Unique Places to Stay in Ireland in 2024
If you are looking for a night away from normality, then why not consider some of Ireland’s most unique accommodations? I have handpicked my favourites down below.
18. Views for days at The Lighthouse, Enniscrone, Co. Sligo
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The Lighthouse Penthouse boasts stunning ocean views from its 360° living room, and is undoubtedly one of the most unique places to stay in Ireland. The two-storey penthouse has four bedrooms, so it would suit a romantic couple as well as a family or friends stay.
Its stylish interiors include a polished Italian porcelain floor, designer leather couches, as well as 50 inch TV. Located beside the beautiful Enniscrone Beach, the video above shows that is no where better to watch the sunset over Killala Bay.
19. Stargaze at 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 spa and restaurant on site. Bear in mind you are praying the price for a unique experience, so perhaps you shouldn’t expect five-star treatment.
20. The Hideout, Romantic Tree House in Co. Wexford
Are you looking for somewhere unique to stay in Ireland? This beautiful tree house should do the trick! Featured on RTÉ’s The Big DIY Challenge, this fully insulated tree house comes with a wood stove and multiple oversized windows, to catch the perfect sunset views.
You can also stargaze through the skylight in the loft-style bedroom, and enjoy a BBQ on the outside deck. The house has all modern electrics, and the bathroom pod has a normal toilet and a large two-person shower.See more here
21. Lighthouse Keepers, Youghal, Cork
Featured as RTE’s Home of the Year and voted one of Ireland’s top 50 places to stay by the Irish Independent, when it comes to unique Airbnbs in Ireland, it doesn’t get much better than this. A 200 year old building, this house was the home of every lighthouse keeper that manned Youghal lighthouse since the 1800’s.
The owners spent two years renovating it and it is now a modern masterpiece, but still manages to hold on to its character and heritage. There are three bedrooms, two bathrooms, underfloor heating, and a conservatory complete with a hanging chair. Read the reviews from previous guests if you still need convincing.
22. Dine on the Orient Express at 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 falconry, archery, fishing, golf, and the Abbey movie theatre.
There are plenty of room options to choose from, the junior suites are housed in the original Manor House and many of the grand suites have four-poster beds. However, the pièce de résistance is the Pullman Restaurant, which is two former carriages that once served on the Orient Express. This must be one of the coolest hotels in Ireland. Dining on the Orient Express has always been on my bucket list, I think this might be as far as I get.
23. 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 heaven and I can’t wait to visit!
24. Try Traditional Experiences at Mount Juliet Estate
I had the pleasure in staying in Mount Juliet this summer and loved it. Ireland has many fine Manor House hotels, but there was something special about Mount Juliet. Even the name sounds romantic – I guess one automatically thinks of Romeo and Juliet.
The Manor House is magnificent and its setting is stunning. It is built on a ridge overlooking the River Nore with 500 acres of woodlands, parks and gardens. It also boasts a Michelin Star Restaurant, The Lady Helen, as well as a pool, spa and the most beautiful walled garden.
One of the things I love about Mount Juliet is the outdoor activities available. Why not scratch a few more experiences off your Irish bucket list and try falconry or horse riding, both are available on Mount Juliet Estate. I rode a horse for the first time this summer, and I couldn’t have chosen a more idyllic location. I also really enjoyed falconry.
We booked a family activity with the charming John Duggan and his wife Caroline, but myself and my husband enjoyed it as much as the kids.
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There are many different places to stay at Mount Juliet Estate. We stayed in one of the garden rooms in the Manor House which was superb, however Hunters Yard offers more modern and reasonably priced rooms, or if you are travelling with family or friends, you can opt for one of the luxurious self-catering lodges.
25. Thatched cottages at Sheen Falls Lodge
Sheen Falls Lodge enjoys an idyllic location overlooking Sheen Waterfalls, as well as being within walking distance to the picturesque town of Kenmare on the Ring of Kerry and Wild Atlantic Way.
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.
You may be aware of the lodges at the Sheen Falls Country Club, but did you know that there are thatched cottages available at the Sheen Falls Lodge Hotel? These Hansel and Gretel fairy-tale like cottages are accessed via a private gate, with a huge garden and the interiors are beautiful.
Little Hay cottage has a spiral staircase to the bedrooms and you can enjoy views of Kenmare Bay from your bedroom balcony. There are three two-bedroom cottages to choose from, as well as a four-bedroom house, and all have access to the activities and facilities at the Sheen Falls Lodge Hotel.