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.
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!
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.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.
3. Lough Erne Resort, Co. Fermanagh
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.
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.
4. Kelly’s Resort Hotel & Spa, Co. Wexford
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.
5. Mount Juliet Estate, Co. Kilkenny
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.
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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.
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.