CLOSED FOR REFURBISHMENT UNTIL SPRING 2018
Sister hotel to the Europe Hotel & Resort, Fossa and Ard na Sidhe Country House, Caragh Lake (see entries), this beautifully located hotel is mainly modern (although the original castle is part of the development) and has much in common with the larger Europe: the style is similar, the scale is generous throughout, and standards of maintenance and housekeeping are exemplary.
Like the Europe, the atmosphere is distinctly continental; some of the exceptionally spacious guest rooms have dining areas, and all have magnificent views, air conditioning and many extras. The surrounding park is renowned for its unique botanical collection, which includes many rare plants.
Golf is, of course, a major attraction here and there is an equestrian centre on site (they breed Halfinger ponies, known for their gentle natures and great for trekking), also fishing on the River Laune, which is free of charge to residents.
Perhaps surprisingly, the space and relaxed atmosphere make it a good choice for families - and there is an impressive outdoor play area. Informal meals are offered at The Garden Café, which is open all day and caters for everything from light snacks to hearty main courses.
More recently, attention has turned to the family pet. For a nominal charge per night, this fine hotel offers a choice of luxurious kennels or a dog friendly guest room where you will find a food and water bowl with floor mat, special pet treats and pet beds and (a very realistic idea) “a doggy throw, to cover the sofa with, should that be your pet’s preferred sleeping place!” With 20 acres of grounds and gardens (clean-up bags provided), it’s emphatically a five star destination for dogs – the only trouble is likely to be persuading them to hop into the car when it’s time to leave.
For fine dining, the hotel’s Oak Room Restaurant offers a classic à la carte menu, complemented by an extensive, well balanced and informative wine list which - along with plenty of treats - includes a good choice of interesting affordable wines and an exceptional choice of half bottles. A very good breakfast is served here too, offering an enticing buffet display as well as a tempting range of hot dishes.
Best of all, however, is the warm and welcoming ambience created by the excellent staff. This is a lovely place for a break, and it's fair bet that they have a high percentage of returning guests.