Beech Hill is just a couple of miles south of Londonderry, beautifully set in 42 acres of peaceful woodland, waterfalls and gardens. Built in 1729, the house has retained many of its original details and proprietor Patsy O’Kane makes an hospitable and caring hostess.
Comfortable bedrooms vary in size and outlook - many overlook the gardens, but all are thoughtfully and attractively furnished with Mrs O’Kane’s ever-growing collection of antiques.
Public rooms include a good-sized bar, a fine restaurant (in what was originally the snooker room, now extended into a conservatory overlooking the gardens) and, unusually, a private chapel, now used for meetings, private parties or small weddings. All the main public areas have recently been refurbished, but changes are always undertaken sensitively, in keeping with the building.
American visitors, especially, will be interested to know that US Marines had their headquarters here in World War II and an informative small museum of the US Marine Friendship Association is housed within the hotel.
Facilities include picnic areas in the grounds for fine weather.
*Beech Hill is understandably popular for weddings; private guests are advised to check if there is a wedding expected during their stay, as it may affect dining arrangements and the atmosphere in the hotel.
Conference/banqueting (300); business centre, broadband wi/fi, secretarial services. Beauty salon, massage & treatments, walking, garden. Golf, fishing & equestrian nearby. Children welcome (under 3s free in parents' room cot available without charge, babysitting arranged). Pets allowed by arrangement.
Rooms 30 (2 suites, 3 junior suites, 13 executive rooms, 10 shower only, 2 disabled, all no smoking). Lift. B&B £67.50pps, ss £22.50; SC discretionary. Closed 24/25 Dec.
The Ardmore Restaurant:
The restaurant is a particularly attractive feature of this charming hotel; it is elegantly appointed and well-positioned overlooking gardens (which is a particularly pleasant outlook at breakfast time).
Menus are a hymn to quality ingredients, citing use of local seafood, dry-aged local meats, free-range pork and Thornhill duck, award-winning cheeses; similarly, the ingredients of the dishes themselves are described in detail, all of which is interesting and confidence-inspiring.
At the time of going to press a new head chef is due to be appointed, but the house style is modern classic, with a strong Irish twist, and a separate vegetarian menu is offered, and also an early dinner menu, which is very good value.
An informative, well chosen wine list includes tasting notes and a good choice of wines by the glass.