Fancy A Cosy Winter Break? Here Are Five Gorgeous Irish Resorts You’ll Want To Book

Team STELLAR visited some of Ireland's prettiest resorts to find the best winter breaks.

Nuala stayed at… Ice House Hotel, Ballina, Co Mayo

Location: Only a five minute drive from Ballina town, the Ice House Hotel is perched on the banks of the River Moy with stunning views overlooking the water and Belleek forest. There’s also an in-house spa, outdoor hot-tub, locally sourced menu, and rooms with floor to ceiling views of the surroundings. Upon arrival, the Ice House gives an immediate feeling of relaxation.

Food and drink: Try afternoon tea in their Tea Room, enjoy dinner with fresh, local ingredients in the River View Restaurant followed by cocktails in the secluded bar.

Activities: The Chill Spa has a mix of indoor and outdoor thermal suites including outdoor hot tubs and a sauna with stunning views of the river.

Best bit: The illuminating Voya facial for the ultimate relaxation treat.

Worst bit: It’s a long and windy road from Dublin, but nothing a good podcast and a sat nav can’t fix.

Who would you recommend a trip here to? Couples and anyone looking to de-stress.

Victoria stayed at… Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort, Ballymena, Co Antrim

Location: It’s on the North Antrim Coast, about a two and half hour journey from Dublin, and it feels tucked away from the rest of the world, nestled beside the rushing River Maine. When people tell you the Galgorm is a world all of its own, they aren’t lying. It’s known as Northern Ireland’s premier luxury resort and spa for good reason.

Food and drink: The resort has many restaurants to choose from, we chose Fratelli. My advice? Go hungry. You have the option to order almost all of the main courses as a starter. I, being a glutton, chose a carbonara to start and a steak for main and required a helping hand from my boyfriend – who was only too happy to oblige.

Activities: It’s all about the Thermal Village. There’s something spectacular about nestling into the hot bubbles after feeling the nip of the winter air on your skin, with the noise of the river rushing by in the background.

Best bit: I’m not being dramatic, I had a transcendental experience on a massage table at the Galgorm. Okay, maybe I’m being a little dramatic but I did very nearly shed a tear, such was my level of relaxation, so the best bit has to be the spa facilities. Second to none.

Worst bit: The Thermal Village can get crowded shortly after check-in at 3pm. Pro-tip: nip down at 8am when it opens to avoid the crowds

Who would you recommend a trip here to? If you’re in need of some winter relaxation, the Galgorm would make a perfect romantic break away with your other half, or even for a night away with the gals.

Katie stayed at… Dunboyne Castle & Spa, Co Meath

Location: Only a short drive from Dublin in the countryside of Meath.

Food and drink: The Ivy Restaurant had an amazing selection of delicious food and the breakfast was delicious! I really enjoyed the terrace bar, which makes the perfect setting for cosy evening drinks.

Activities: The Seoid Spa is the perfect place to relax with a huge pool and a gorgeous outdoor jacuzzi. There are plenty of really unique treatments available or you can just lounge around, exploring the various spa facilities such as a mini heated beach room with sand!

Best bit: The treatment was incredible. I opted for ‘Around the World’ which includes a full body exfoliation and a chocolate wrap so you leave smelling delicious!

Worst bit: It was hard work getting some space in the outdoor jacuzzi, but when we did it was bliss.

Who would you recommend a trip here to? Dunboyne Castle is the perfect break away for pals or partners. Plenty to do and see. You’ll 100% never want to leave!

Valerie stayed at… Knockranny House Hotel, Westport, Co Mayo

Location: Most Mayo people will grudgingly acknowledge that Westport is probably the nicest town in the county – and Knockranny House Hotel is an ideal perch from which to explore the area.

Activities: We sampled the hotel’s Soul Wellness package, which includes a stack of activities that would make even Goop proud: sound baths, yoga classes, detox massages, and spirulina body wraps in the spa. The sound bath was so deeply relaxing that I nodded off halfway through – though judging by the gentle snores all around me, I wasn’t the only one.

Food and drink: We enjoyed a gorgeous dinner in the hotel’s La Fougère restaurant on night two, but the real draw was revealed to us in the morning at breakfast when we could take in the breathtaking views over the town to Croagh Patrick.

Best bit: The brekkie. Truly, I have never eaten a fry in a nicer setting.

Worst bit: The hotel is massive and we frequently got lost on the way back to our room!

Who would you recommend a trip here to? Anyone! There’s loads to do in Westport – a visit to Matt Molloy’s pub for some trad is essential – and those who don’t like to relax too much could lep up Croagh Patrick of a morning too.

Ariana stayed at… Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa, Clonakilty, Co Cork

Location: Walking up to the entrance you start to feel more like you are in Martha’s Vineyard and not southwest Ireland. Gorgeous clean lines and perfectly angled balconies allow guests to get an almost 360 degree view of the stunning miles-long beaches as the Atlantic Ocean waves lap upon the shore.

Food and drink: The bar food in Dunes bar was heavenly with the crab crumble being the star of that particular menu, breakfast was plentiful with great selections while The Gulfstream restaurant didn’t disappoint with perfectly cooked fish, steak and great selections of wine.

Activities: Walking on the beach, surf lessons, whale watching or a relaxing trip to the stunning salt water spa for massage treatments are just some of the ways to pass the time during your stay.

Best bit: Fresh oysters with Inchydoney’s own Murphy’s flavoured reduction.

Worst bit: Having to leave!

Who would you recommend a trip here to? It’s family friendly, but also great for couples.

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