Spas and retreats appeared all over Ireland in recent years, but few could rival the beauty of this magic place. This unique resort on the eastern shores of Lough Derg is modelled on the lines of a 19th century Irish village with quietly understated luxurious accommodation scattered throughout the cottages in the village.
The shoreside situation is truly lovely and there is a sense of being very close to the changing moods of nature, partly because the main building - which has a small traditional bar and a country style dining room - is only a few feet from the water.
Rooms do vary considerably, but all are simple in style and furnished well, and - a very nice touch this - many have a turf-burning stove which is set up in advance, matches at the ready, so you can have your own real fire whenever you like.
The contrasts are wonderful here: whether you want to pamper yourself at the mini spa, hold a small conference - or simply unwind with style - this unusual village could be the ideal destination. Excellent cooking is provided by chef Rob Oosterbaan.
This is a romantic location for weddings, which are held in a luxurious banqueting marquee set by the water’s edge in summer; in winter, small weddings are possible in the main buildings.
[*Coolbawn Quay was our Hideaway of the Year in 2005.]