The recently re-opened The Lodge at Ashford Castle more than meets all requirements. It has the views, the comfort, relaxed luxurious style, superb food and something for everyone to enjoy.
Staying in a top class hotel may not be as expensive as you think, as Lorna Hogg discovers.
Nothing beats a top hotel for comfort, service and peace. You do indeed get what you pay for, whether it’s a group trip, short break or on a shopping or spa treat. The good news is, that if you know how, when and what to book, then luxury can be affordable. And even better news – the over 50s are in an excellent position to enjoy luxury for less, as they can holiday off-peak, off season and book well in advance.
Comfort and the city..
If you’re planning a city break, are flexible over dates, and not commuting or working in the city centre all day, then why not consider staying in a top chain hotel – on the city outskirts? The Hilton Airport Hotel, at Northern Cross, is just 20 minutes from Dublin city centre, with very good bus routes. Ideal for a comfortable city break, if you’re flying, you could also add on a short Dublin break before or after your trip,
The hotel is well appointed, and upgrades can get you even more luxury. With an excellent restaurant, The Burnell Bar and Grill, (where BBQ Spare Ribs and the Hilton Burger are favourites!) there is regular live music, an extensive room service menu and an evening shuttle bus runs to nearby Malahide. Further afield, you can visit Ardgillan House and its gardens, Newbridge House and in Howth, as well as great views and seafood. Enthusiasts will enjoy the Transport Museum.
At the time of going to press, the hotel was offering a wide variety of online deals.
Country house luxury
Most people’s idea of luxury includes location, comfort, peace, food, service and plenty to see and do. The recently re-opened The Lodge at Ashford Castle more than meets all requirements. It has the views, the comfort, relaxed luxurious style, superb food and something for everyone to enjoy, plus the range of attractions that Connemara has to offer. It also has the added bonus in that the hotel positively welcomes over 50s guests – and their pets!
The Lodge itself, now owned by the international Red Carnation Group, has retained its Victorian design, but its bedrooms are modern, based around a courtyard. Food is superb, with fresh, local ingredients, some even foraged, and cooked to order. It is served in the relaxed Quay Bar, or award winning Wilde’s at the Lodge Restaurant. Another must- eat spot is nearby Cullen’s at The Castle
Guests eventually have to get some exercise after all that eating, and one of The Lodge’s major advantages is that that they can enjoy activities on the Ashford Castle Estate. If you want to try your hand at fishing, take a lesson. Golf, archery, clay pigeon shooting, bike riding, and river cruises are all on offer. One of the most unusual activities, however, is hawking. The Irish School of Falconry is sited here, and the grounds are an ideal place to try your hand, or rather, your suitably gauntleted fist as a bird perch during a walk. Activities range from around €45 up to €70 for individual hawk walks.
A` Young at Heart’ package, for 2 people sharing, includes 2 nights full B&B, a welcome drink on arrival and a screening of The Quiet Man, dinner on one night in Wilde’s Restaurant, a Quiet Man Tour with a local guide, focusing on Cong, where the story was filmed. Deals start from €329, with 3 night packages from €414. The Lodge also has a variety of other deals.
- Book in advance – and the further ahead, the better the deal.
- Look out for all inclusive deals, with meals, choice of activities. They can offer the best value.
- Get better value with a longer break. If you have to travel a distance, then think about staying for three nights, instead of two, and using your hotel as a base for regional sightseeing
- Look for off-peak deals. Early spring, school holidays, winter months are ideal, especially if your hotel or chosen area has plenty of non weather dependent activities.
- ConSider upgrading your usual room choice. If you’re going off-peak, then why not consider treating yourself to a De-Luxe room, or even a suite? You could be more likely to get a really quiet room that way.
- Check websites for top hotels, for good value, as well as cheaper alternatives. You might be surprised at some deals on offer.
- Look out for over-50s deals.
- New hotels, especially the luxury variety, often have very good deals, to create interest.
- Become a regular. As well as discounts, points schemes, (which may come from on-line bookings), when you become a hotel regular, you become a valued customer, with access to special offers and deals.