lough erne resort

Family HolidaysFeaturedHolidays in Ireland

5 Luxury Family Hotels In Ireland


Five Star hotels and kids don’t always go together, but I found five luxury family hotels in Ireland that managed to tick all boxes.


With more of us holidaying at home, luxury family hotels in Ireland are in high demand. Sometimes it can be hard for hotels to get the balance right – we might want a five-star experience, but it is also important that hotels are family friendly. I’ve stayed in all of these hotels with my family and can highly recommend them. Some hotels have family rooms or interconnecting rooms, while others have lodges on the grounds of the hotel.

luxury family hotels in Ireland - Mount Juliet

It is important to note that some facilities listed below may have restrictions imposed. I always recommend booking a room with free cancellation incase there are any changes to the listed facilities that may not suit you, or if you have to change your plans at the last minute. However, if you are booking a non-refundable room, check out staycationinsurance.ie.



1. Fota Island Resort, Co. Cork

One of our favourite luxury family hotels in Ireland, we have visited Fota Island Resort on a many occasions. While the hotel is perhaps not as luxurious as some of the others on this list, the hotel facilities and the on site self catering lodges are superb for families.


We stayed in one of the new three bedroom Fushia lodges last year and loved it. Not only were they very spacious, but the modern interiors were some of the best I have seen. The children loved playing in the large back garden and we even had some resident rabbits join us each morning for breakfast! 


Fota Island Resort has a large outdoor playground, an indoor pool and a kids playroom. There are also lots of kids camps to choose from during school holidays. Camp Fota (€10 per session) operates for 4 – 12 year olds with indoor and out door games in their own dedicated kids lodge. There are also golf camps and an adrenaline adventure centre (age 8+ ) with kayaking, bush craft and lots more (€20 per session).

The restaurant has supervised kids buffets at 6.30pm followed by movie nights and quizzes so parents can even have a date night!  However, It is important to check that these camps and facilities are still running when you are booking.


We also stayed in the hotel rooms at Christmas time when we were lucky to see the Fota Beyond Christmas experience. This is one of Ireland’s best Santa Experiences and one I would highly recommend. The dark furnishings in the hotel lend itself perfectly to the festive period. With warm fires and lavish decorations, this is a great time to visit. All children also receive a large teddy bear in their room, Bea, which soon became our new family pet!

Luxury Family Hotel Breaks In Ireland
One of the advantages of staying in Fota Island Resort is its close proximity to Fota Wildlife Park. To witness many animals including kangaroos and lemurs roam free, is something that we all loved. Fota Wildlife Park also runs a Summer camp for children aged 4 and above, that focuses on the importance of animal conservation through five themed days.

Fota Island Resort is also very close to Cobh where you can take the Titanic experience tour, or take the boat trip to spooky Spike Island, to explore the fortress that once held 2300 prisoners. 

Read: My review of Fota Island Resort

Check prices here




2. Castle Leslie, Co. Monaghan

One of my favourite hotels in Ireland, Castle Leslie is not like a traditional hotel. The Leslie family still live here at times during the year and the hotel even closes at Christmas time for a large family get together. The minute you enter the hotel you get the sense that you are visiting someone’s home. Although it is less grand than Ashford or Dromoland Castle, it has a relaxed, cosy atmosphere that is extremely inviting.


The grounds are spectacular with plenty of activities available for guests. It doesn’t have a swimming pool, but it makes up for this by having one of Europe’s finest equestrian centres and one of Ireland’s best preserved lakes for fishing. You can also try kayaking, clay pigeon shooting or even take a hot air balloon ride.


The lodges are located in the village of Glaslough, about five minutes walk from the Lodge at Castle Leslie. These four and five bedroom lodges are more like luxury town houses. All have open fires, nine foot ceilings, are lavishly furnished and cater for 8 – 10 people. They are located only a few minutes walk from the village of Glaslough and the Lodge at Castle Leslie, and about ten minutes from the Castle.


The village of Glaslough is an attraction in itself, with quaint shops and family friendly pub in the centre. Make sure you pop in to Ambledown Cottage for some great pizza in a beautiful, albeit quirky setting. Another must do is a visit to nearby Lake Muckno. Located in Castleblaney, this lake is undoubtedly Monaghan’s finest, with spectacular scenery from all sides. Take the time to do the Black Island walk. Enjoy the forest trails with fairy doors and Wilbert’s adventure playground. We tried kayaking and loved it. The water was so calm, it was even suitable for small children. You can wakeboard, waterski or take a boat out on the lake and prices are very reasonable. 

Read: Captivated my Castle Leslie

See more here



3. Lough Erne Resort, Co. Fermanagh

Luxury Family Hotel Breaks In Ireland

This luxury hotel is situated on a 600 acre peninsula overlooking two championship golf courses and lower Lough Erne lake. The lodges are a huge attraction, with conical roofs that look straight out a fairytale. The food at the hotel is superb and there are are lots of options to choose from, with a fine dining restaurant, a Loughside Bar and Grill, as well as some tasty bar food.

The large indoor pool allows for family swims from 8am – 11am  and 4.30pm-530pm. There is also an unsupervised play room, Ernies Den, with table football, air hockey and lots more. 

Luxury Family Hotel Breaks In Ireland

There are some excellent walks around the hotel golf course with stunning views over the lakes. There are also more arduous walks close by, the famous Stairway to Heaven boardwalk at Culcaigh Mountain, being one of them. This is more suited to older children as it is a 15km round trip with 450 steps. A popular spot for social media enthusiasts, no doubt teenagers will enjoy taking selfies at the top!


Marble Arch Caves and Lough Navar Forest Park are also close by as well as Corralea activity centre. The town of Enniskillen is only 5 minutes drive from Lough Erne if you fancy a change of scene. Make sure you pop into Francos for some good food in family friendly surroundings.

Read: Living it up at Lough Erne Resort

Check prices here



4. Kelly’s Resort Hotel & Spa, Co. Wexford

Kelly's Resort Hotel, Wexford - luxury family hotels in Ireland

Perched on five miles of sandy beach, with award winning cuisine and a host of activities for children, it is no surprise that Kelly’s Resort Hotel is considered one of best luxury family hotels in Ireland. Although officially only a four star hotel, the service and facilities on site deserve five stars. There is non stop entertainment for both adults and children available, with kids clubs, mini-golf and a multi-award winning spa, all on site. If you can manage to tear yourself away from the hotel, (many don’t), there are lots of things to do in Wexford with kids.

The food is superb, with an extensive buffet (probably one of the best I’ve seen) and an a la carte restaurant, where parents are encouraged to dine alone, while the kids enjoy the buffet with their new found friends. There is complimentary child minding from 7-9pm which allows for a romantic dinner for two, a rarity for parents with young children. 

Read :Is Kelly’s is the best family hotel in Ireland?




5. Mount Juliet Estate, Co. Kilkenny

luxury family hotels in Ireland

Mount Juliet is one of Ireland’s finest hotels and is one of the most popular luxury family hotels in Ireland. We stayed here recently and had a fantastic experience. The grounds, the facilities and the choice of dining options are superb. You can choose to stay in the Manor House, as we did, or the more modern Hunters Yard, which I’m told caters extremely well for families, and offers great value too.


I was surprised at how much children’s activities are available in Mount Juliet. There is a large playground with a zip line, as well as a fairy trail located in the gardens. Extensive kids clubs operate during school holidays, (extra charge applies), so parents can enjoy a round of golf or spa treatment while the kids avail of the supervised activities. 


There are two kids clubs, one from age 5-12 and the other 12+. Activities range from archery, equestrian and meet the owls, to baking, golf, treasure hunts and arts and crafts. It is important to check activities in advance with Mount Juliet as some activities may change. There are also evening activities such as a talent show and movie nights, and children can dine with their new pals giving parents the opportunity to have a date night.  


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on

There is also a leisure centre and equestrian centre which we loved. I tried horse rinding for the first time with my daughter Alex and it was fabulous! We trotted past the Manor House, through the woods and along side the golf course – it was an experience I would highly recommend. 

Read: My review of Mount Juliet Resort

Check prices here


I hope this post on luxury family hotels in Ireland will help you plan a family break soon. It is important to note that some of the facilities / activities listed may not be operating to full capacity – please check with individual hotel for clarification. I always recommend booking a room with free cancellation incase there are any changes to the listed facilities that may not suit you, or you need to cancel due to personal reasons.


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.  Read more in my privacy policy.


You might also like:

The ultimate guide to Center Parcs Longford Forest

Winter Wonderland at Center Parcs

The best beach hotels in Ireland – my top 20 picks

Top picks for glamping in Ireland

20 Hotels with lodges in Ireland



The Travel Expert


Holidays in Ireland

Living It Up At Lough Erne Resort


Wonderful walks, lodges straight out of a fairy tale and a food lovers paradise – find out how I lived it up at Lough Erne Resort.

It was my first time to visit Fermanagh. For someone who has visited every other county in Ireland, I felt almost ashamed that it took me this long to get there. I was kindly invited by Lough Erne Resort to stay with my family for two nights, so I accepted with open arms.


I had of course heard of the prestigious Lough Erne Resort, that has won numerous awards and accolades, including 2017’s hotel of the year in the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards. In fact, the G8 Summit was held there in 2013, so I guess if it was good enough for Barack Obama, it was good enough for me 😉.

lough erne resort

Once we reached the entrance to Lough Erne Resort, we had to drive past two golf courses to get to the hotel. You get the feeling that you are driving on to an island. The 600 acre peninsula where Lough Erne Resort is located is stunning, and the frosty day make it it look even more dramatic. It was a good start!  This was nicely followed when we were given the keys to our self catering lodge, which has ideally located beside the hotel.

lough erne resort self catering lodges

The lodges are an attraction in their own right.  My daughter shrieked with delight when she saw them, and thought that our new two story home, complete with a turret, resembled Rapunzel’s tower!  Needless to say the kids decided they wanted the upstairs bedroom. Both bedrooms were extremely spacious and my first thought was that the lodges certainly deserved their five star rating.


The bathrooms were equipped with large double showers and free standing baths. The main living room was spacious too, although the kitchen area was quite small. One other thing to point out is that while our kids (ages 7 and 10) were at the perfect age, families with younger children may not like sleeping on a different floor to their parents.

I loved that breakfast is included in the hotel when you book one of the self catering lodges. I haven’t found this to be the case in many other hotels with lodges in Ireland, and I think it is a massive bonus. Not only did it give us an incentive to rise early in the mornings (breakfast is served until 10.30), but the à la carte breakfast was delicious.  This is standard for anyone staying in one of the twenty five lodges at Lough Erne resort.

breakfast at lough erne hotel

Speaking of food…. Lough Erne Resort is renowned for its culinary delights and locally sourced produce. The Executive Head Chef Noel McMeel  has worked with some of the world’s most respected chefs, and is no doubt the reason why Lough Erne resort is the proud winner of the Hotel Restaurant of the Year. 


We dined in the Catalina Restaurant, Lough Erne’s fine dining offering, and we were suitably impressed. While myself and Cormac were given an ‘amuse bouche’ of goats cheese to start, the kids were not overlooked. They two were given their own ‘amuse bouche’ – a strawberry, blackberry and raspberry on a cocktail stick, it was a lovely touch!

dining at Lough Erne

My starter of braised cheek ravioli was perfectly cooked, as was the halibut, but the pièce de la resistance was the chocolate soufflé. It really was superb! The kids were happy too, as there were plenty of options to choose from the kids menu. Alex had a tasty pasta dish, while Luke enjoyed the chicken curry. Prices for two courses are £45, or £52 for three courses, quite reasonable I thought for such high quality food in a five star hotel.

fine dining at Lough Erne Resort

There are other more casual options at Lough Erne Resort if you don’t fancy fine dining. The Blaney Bar, where we had pre dinner drinks served light bites, and the Loughside Bar and Grill overlooking the Nick Faldo golf course, offers tasty steaks and seafood. Did I mention there were two championship golf courses here?


The following morning the hotel staff recommended we take the 40-minute walk around the Nick Faldo designed golf course, so off we went. Although freezing, (it was actually -2 degrees), it was bright and sunny which showcased just how stunning the hotel grounds are. We stopped at the 10th hole which offers breathtaking views over Lower Lough Erne. For someone who has never played golf I suddenly began to understand the attraction.

After about 40 minutes we realised that we must have taken a wrong turn because we were still miles away from the hotel. We popped into what was aptly called The Halfway House at the 9th green, only to find out that we had still another 20 minutes to go. We left our room without wallets or cash but thankfully the friendly barman said he would call reception and allow us to put any purchases on our room. We opted for some tasty homemade soup and hot chocolates before we set off back to the hotel.

The grounds are superb and there are many different walks to take. The following day we walked across Reeds Bridge on Castle Hume Lough. This is located at the rear of the hotel and offers the perfect view of the hotel and it’s conical lodges.

If you are feeling adventurous there are much more arduous walks in the surrounding area, the most famous being the newly opened boardwalk at Cuilcagh Mountain, which is only 15 miles from the resort. Often described as Ireland’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’, this is now considered one of the top things to do in Northern Ireland. However the walk takes approximately 6 hours in total and is not for the faint hearted. With cold temperatures and two small kids in tow, we decided we would have to try this another time.


We opted for Lough Navar Forest instead – located just 15 minutes drive from our lodge, this is a beautiful forest walk. You can also take the seven-mile drive through the forest and stop at many of the viewpoints, if you don’t fancy walking. Make sure you visit Magho Viewpoint which offers panoramic views over Lower Lough Erne, Donegal Bay and the Blue Stack and Sperrin Mountains. Other popular tourist attractions in the area are the Marble Arch Caves , Belleek Pottery, Castle Coole and EnnisKillen Castle.

Of course, staying in such a luxurious hotel, it can be difficult to leave…. The following day we enjoyed a morning swim in the large indoor pool. Children are allowed in from 8am-11am and 4.30-5.30pm. There is also a Light Therapy Sauna and Tropical Rain Shower, a Steam Room and relaxation areas.


There are ten spacious treatment rooms including a dual treatment room. I thought it would be a nice Mother and Daughter treat perhaps. The Thai Spa offered a winter saver package of a 30 minute facial, 30 minute body polish and full use of all the facilities for £75 which I thought was good value for a luxury spa.

swimming pool at lough erne resort

While Lough Erne Resort is not a typical family hotel, children are well catered for. At check-in, Luke and Alex were delighted to receive a nice swim bag with a colouring book and crayons inside. There is also Ernie’s Den, a kids playroom that offers a range of fun games including, table football, air hockey, table-tennis and a pac-man machine.


Ernie’s Den is open from 9am – 9pm, so we were able to enjoy a drink in the bar in the evening, while the kids played happily for an hour. This is handy for older kids who don’t need to be supervised, and I am sure there are many new friendships formed here in the busier Summer months. Children can also have golf lessons on site, try mountain bike trails, or take a guided pony trek nearby.

Ernies Den playroom at Lough Erne

We stayed at Lough Erne Resort for two nights, and we decided to go into Enniskillen for our second night and check out the local scene. We were amazed at how busy the town was. There was no sign of anyone opting for ‘dry January’ in Enniskillen. Francos was recommended to us, as a family friendly restaurant but it was fully booked all evening.


We decided to make use of our luxury lodges and went back to Lough Erne resort and ordered pizza from the local delivery service. On a cold January night, I decided to do something I hadn’t treated myself to in a long time, soak in a hot bath, chill out in front of the TV and enjoy some take away pizza! It was our home away from home.


Of course my FOMO (fear of missing out) kicked in and I still wanted to see if Franco’s lived up to the hype! We decided to pop in for lunch on our way home. Decorated from head to toe, it was the perfect place to finish off our fabulous stay at Lough Erne Resort.


For prices and bookings click here

Like holidays in Ireland? Read more here



The Travel Expert


Pin It on Pinterest