Robert and Rachel Thompson took on this neglected early Victorian house on the edge of Ballymena in 2003 and then painstakingly restored it to make an unusual and very comfortable haven for guests and, although close to the main road, the result is truly impressive.
Originally built as the Dower House for the O'Hara family of nearby Crebilly House, the Lodge is a classic of its era, double fronted with spacious, high-ceilinged reception rooms on either side of the entrance hall, and bedrooms which have lent themselves remarkably well to the architectural gymnastics needed to provide en-suite bathrooms in an old house.
The three rooms - The Blue Room, The Chintz Room and The Print Room - are all large and comfortably furnished with interesting antiques, but otherwise very different.
Robert and Rachel not only provide an excellent breakfast but also offer dinner for residents - and non-residents are welcome too, by reservation. The repertoire is quite extensive, and a 6-course menu uses local and artisan produce in some unusual ways; special gourmet evenings are sometimes held, with wine paired with each course.
Marlagh Lodge is within easy reach of the main airports and ferry ports, and all the attractions of the north Antrim coast.