You deserve a lil' staycation.
The PressUp group have been steadily building stunning properties around the capital over the last few years, with a focus on slick interiors and impressive cocktail lists. Some have complained that their style is homogenising Dublin, but the punters love it and bar/restaurants like Sophie’s and Roberta’s are jammed.
Now, they’ve branched out to the suburbs with a new hotel in upmarket Ranelagh. It’s close to the city centre but also in a little village of its own filled with bars and restaurants, and it’s an impressive looking addition to the high street. I was afraid it would just be a mini replica of The Dean in terms of atmosphere, but was pleasantly surprised. It might look similar, but the vibe is very different as the locals have taken to it like ducks to water – the night we stayed over there were as many oul lads sipping pints of Guinness in the bar as there were sexy young things in sequins.
The rooms are small but perfectly formed, with kitsch additions like a rotary phone, Smeg fridge and Grafton Barber toiletries. They got huge bonus points from me for having not just a good hairdryer (most hotel dryers are abysmal), but a very glam Dyson in every room. There’s also a treat wall with reasonably priced goodies instead of the traditional minibar, and (a very smart touch) free condoms. There’s an iPhone lead in case you forgot yours, too. Plus, there’s Netflix on all the tellies!
The Americana bar on the ground floor reminded me of being in New York, bustling and smart. Layla’s on the roof is very similar to Sophie’s, although more compact and with views of the south city rather than town. The food is good, the ambience better, and it’ll be dreamy in summer time. There’s even a mini cinema in the basement, a little sister to The Stella in Rathmines that seats 44 and plays movies every evening – a fab touch.
We slept well after dining in the village and drinking in the hotel bar, and enjoyed a leisurely brunch before checking out and getting the Luas home. It was lovely having a night away in our very own city, and The Devlin with all its special little touches was the ideal destination.
Great for: Dinner, drinks, partying, getting ready
Not so great for: Those wanting peace and quiet
For rates, see thedevlin.ie
The sea is a very important part of any visit to Inchydoney, as you simply can’t ignore it. The resort is nestled right on the beach and the crashing waves of the Atlantic are as much of a feature as anything else – you’ll hear them throughout your stay and they’re both lulling and invigorating, depending on how relaxed you are.
The hotel has a beachy theme, although more sandy than tropical. It’s warm and inviting though, with incredibly friendly staff. The rooms are nice and cosy, and if you’re lucky you’ll get a sea view. When I’d had a few wines, I stood on the balcony with my thoughts watching the waves crash while my husband snored, and it was very therapeutic.
There are two restaurants, a more casual option for lunch and pints and a fancier one for breakfast and dinner. I normally avoid the fancy option in hotels as I’m not a fine dining gal, but Gulfstream is delightfully down to earth while still sophisticated and the menu is stunning, full of local fish and seafood with beautiful desserts. I really loved it. The spa is very nice, with Elemis treatments available, but it’s not a huge draw compared to other places. One of the best things about Inchydoney is its proximity to Clonakilty town, if you fancy popping down for a few pints and a bit of trad music, or a wander around the pretty streets.
It both feels like an oasis and a great location for fun, and a refreshing beach walk is an absolute must. Two days here and you’ll come back feeling refreshed and revived.
Great for: Proximity to the sea and town, beach walks, great food, relaxation
Not so great for: Stunning luxury, it’s more down to earth
For rates see inchydoneyisland.com
Popular with golfers from around the world thanks to its Nick Faldo designed course, Lough Erne isn’t all about little balls and 9 irons (thankfully). It’s a delightfully old school resort just across the border in Fermanagh and close to Enniskillen, but it’s like a little world of its own.
The staff are gorgeous, so friendly and welcoming, and you might feel like you’ve stepped in to a time warp thanks to the rich mahogany and luxe, opulent decor. It’s the perfect place to switch off, with lots of places to relax around the property, beautifully appointed rooms and gorgeous lake views.
If you’re active, there are plenty of walking trails, the aforementioned golf and estate activities. But for us, this was about chilling out. I visited the Thai spa for a full body aromatherapy massage, and it was intensely satisfying – I was sore afterwards, but all the tension knots in my shoulders and neck had been worked, and I could just relax with a glass of wine in my four poster bed.
The food is great – locally sourced, huge portions, and reasonably priced for a five star hotel. The breakfast is great too, you can order off the menu or visit the buffet, and everything was elegantly presented and delicious. It would actually make a gorgeous wedding venue, with its beautiful grounds and lake views, with plenty of room for guests too.
Great for: Getting away from it all, romance, chilling out
Not so great for: Action, location in terms of what nearby has to offer
For rates see lougherneresort.com