Blessed with one of Ireland’s most beautiful locations, on the shores of Lough Eske, this well-managed hotel was first opened by the Gysling family in 1989, when chalet-style buildings linked by covered walkways and pergolas created a distinctly alpine atmosphere reminiscent of their native Switzerland - a style that suited the site well, with the open low-level design allowing views of the lough and mountains from most areas of the hotel.
Other than its location, the most outstanding feature of this hotel has always been the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff and, under the current management of Marc Gysling and his wife Deirdre McGlone,who is General Manager, that is still its greatest strength. Otherwise, there have been many changes, and it is now a far bigger and more luxurious establishment: rooms in the new extension do not all have a lake view but they are exceptionally spacious, with six foot beds (or, in some rooms, large twins) and huge baths, which will please many guests.
At the other end of the spectrum, an equally appealing development has been the opening of The Lodge, a separate building just across the car park with terrific lough and mountain views. It offers13 compact and reasonably priced 'cruise ship cabin' style twin rooms with en-suite showers that have proved very popular with walking groups and - with its large patio and communal socialising spaces - The Lodge would also suit families well.
The Gysling family have done a huge amount to make Donegal the popular short break destination that it is becoming today. The hotel is renowned for its special activity breaks, offered throughout the year; Donegal is a dream destination for walkers, and walking breaks are a particular speciality, but there are many other options such as painting (water colours), photography, wine tasting, cookery demonstrations and seasonal celebrations, including Christmas.
Pets have always been welcome at Harveys Point - they even have a 'Crufts' Dog Show as part of the annual Christmas programme - and guests travelling with dogs are encouraged to book the Lakeshore Suites, 'as they are perfectly suited for our four legged guests'.
And, on the ball as ever, Harvey's Point has its own 'Green Guide' to favourite things to see and do in Donegal and the North West: it includes scenic drives, golf courses, walking trails, beaches, historical sites, entertainment, festivals, restaurants and much more (with all excursions beginning from Harvey's Point, of course), and is available as a printed booklet and also an App.
Harvey's Point is understandably popular as a wedding venue, and it also has outstanding conference facilities - but, thanks to the layout of the buildings, events do not affect other guests.
Conference/banqueting 300/350; video conferencing, secretarial services, free broadband wi/fi. Treatment rooms (hair, beauty, holistic). Children welcome (under 3s free in parents room, cots available free of charge, baby sitting arranged). Dogs permitted to stay in some bedrooms (no charge). Garden.
Rooms 64 (12 suites, 52 junior suites, 4 family, 8 ground floor, 14 disabled, all no smoking). B&B from about €99-140 pps low-high season; ss €50. Lift. Turndown service offered. Open Thu-Sun Nov-Easter (open Christmas-New Year). Open weekends only January.
Harvey's Point has long enjoyed a reputation as one of the region’s leading dining destinations: a welcoming turf fire sets the tone in the bar, and in the fine dining Restaurant - a large room, elegantly set up with white-clothed tables and extending right down to the foreshore – where diners can enjoy the beautiful view across the lough and, perhaps, watch the ducks coming in to the shore at feeding time.
The classically toned menus offered make a pleasing change from the casual dining that is becoming the norm, and they demonstrate a commitment to sourcing from the best local (or at least Irish) suppliers. A wide, but not over-extensive, choice is offered by head chef Chris McMenamin and the kitchen team's consistently assured cooking is well up to the theatrical nuances of the fine dining experience laid on by attentive and well-trained restaurant staff.
The buffet lunch offered in the banqueting area on Sundays also has a dedicated following (reservations required) and Harvey's Bar - which also overlooks the lake - offers a an informal alternative which may be attractive to guests staying several nights, with a Bar Snack menu available daily 12.30-9pm.