Perched on the edge of a stunning sandy beach two miles long, this famous hotel has - to the delight of its many fans - recently been purchased by longtime General Manager, Paul Diver, who has secured its long term future and kept its wonderful staff together as a team.
The hotel lost its once-familiar crenellated roof-line some years ago, but emerged with an elegant new look reminiscent of a French chateau and it continues to inspire affection among regular guests.
Unrivalled sea views and easy access to the beach have always been the great attractions of The Sand House, which started life as a fishing lodge in the 1830s and completed its latest metamorphosis with a new floor of bedrooms, a panoramic lift (with the best view in the house), a new boardroom and a marine beauty spa.
Existing bedrooms have also been quite recently refurbished; all are very comfortable, with excellent bathrooms - and everyone can enjoy the sea view from the sun deck.
There are also some good things that thankfully never change here, including the welcoming fire in the foyer, and exceptional housekeeping.
Golf is a major attraction for guests at The Sand House, which is a member of The Emerald Triangle (three strategically placed establishments offering great golf experiences: the other two are Rathsallagh, Co Wicklow, and Glenlo Abbey, Co Galway, see entries). Also partners in ‘Play 3 Great Golf Courses in Ireland’s North-West’ (Donegal GC, Bundoran, Castle Hume).
Conferences (100). Rooms 50 (1 suite, 2 junior suites, 5 executive, 5 shower only, 25 no-smoking, 1 disabled). Children welcome (under 5s free in parents' room, cots available without charge, baby sitting arranged). Pets permitted by arrangement (stay in bedroom, free of charge). Lift. 24 hour room service. B&B €96pps, no ss. SC discretionary. Closed Dec & Jan. Spa; fishing, cycling, tennis, walking, tennis on site; horse riding, boating and many other activities available nearby. Details on application.
The main restaurant used to be at the front of the hotel, with no sea view, but this area is now kept for overflow during very busy times. Instead, the restaurant has been moved to a first floor area spanning two rooms at the back of the hotel, with magnificent sea views seen across the famous golden beach - a huge improvement, and even though it must mean more work for them, the staff seem to enjoy it too as the atmosphere is lovely and they are very helpful.
In the Guide's recent experience, the cooking is also better, with main courses of salmon en croute and stuffed pork with apricots attracting particular praise. A very good breakfast is also served here - a lovely way to start the day. On the other hand it's shame to see that ingredients - which are clearly carefully sourced - are not credited, which is an opportunity missed.
*Soup and sandwiches are also available in the bar at lunchtime, every day except Sunday.