Isn’t it just gone so Wintery…we were lucky to see such little rain up ’til this week and then it’s all boots, brollies, not to mention bad hair days…oh I hate the rain.
It made me think about getting away for a few days and planning a ‘staycation’. I know it’s a draining time of the year on the old bank account with Christmas just around the corner but think about it…we trawl the shops for gifts for parents/partners/friends etc. for Christmas and I always think it’s nice to spend that same money on a little break away, rather than an ‘ill-fitting shirt’ or a ‘watch they will never wear’, don’t you think? We should all try to spend a bit more time with our nearest and dearest as it’s all just rushing and racing in this life, and most of us are like ships in the night and never actually get time together to chill out. I was only talking to someone on Saturday who told me they emailed the shopping list to their husband and I thought to myself, ‘Phew, I am not the only one who emails their husband!!’ (mind you never the shopping list!!!) That’s just the way life has gone!
This is the absolute best time of the year for amazing hotel rates, both midweek and weekend as it’s the off-peak period for hotels from now right up until Valentines Day.
I just love staying in hotels and from my experience of working in the hospitality industry these are the reasons why I love booking a Winter break. Firstly, it’s the time of year you need to re-charge the batteries, so try to book a hotel where you can park up the car for the few days and not have to leave. I would suggest you pick a hotel with wonderful food which has a spa, pool, gym or nice scenic walking trails. As it’s a little bit quieter, I always find that staff are so attentive this time of year too as they have that little bit more time to have a chat with each and every guest so service is always brilliant. (I love chatting to hotel staff and finding out their background, where they are from etc…but maybe I’m just nosey!) You can sit around drinking hot chocolates , hot toddies or rich red merlots in front of beautiful fires and just read that book you’ve always wanted to. Some hotels offer an extended check-out time (complimentary) so there’s no rushing to be out for 12 noon, so you can order that brekkie in bed and have another little snooze or a canoodle 😉
Anyway with all that in mind, I want to recommend some hotels over the coming weeks if you are considering a gift or a break for yourself!
Back in September I had a mini staycation (2 nights midweek) with my hubby to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We stayed in the stunning Dunboyne Castle Hotel in Co. Meath. Now I know when we booked there was a few people wondering why when I’m originally from Meath would I want to go to Meath on a mini-break?
First of all, this is a hotel I have been wanting to visit for a very long time as I had heard and read amazing reviews on it, especially about their spa, Seoíd. The fact that it was only half an hour from my home village added to the experience for me as we were able to visit my family on the way, and then they came and visited us in the hotel too. Also, we wanted somewhere that we could just chill out for 2 days, indulge in some nice food and a few drinks and go to the spa to unwind. For anyone who doesn’t know Dunboyne in Co. Meath, it’s a gorgeous little village, quite close to the Dublin border with some really quaint pubs and some beautiful fashion boutiques too. It’s only 10 minutes from Maynooth and 15 minutes from Blanchardstown (and you know what’s there ladies…The Blanchardstown Centre) You can also hop on the Dublin bus from outside the hotel if you fancy a trip into the city – it’s just so accessible to so many places if you want to explore.
On arrival we were treated to a show-around of the original part of the hotel, which is an old mansion house built on the grounds of the former Dunboyne Castle. It was absolutely stunning – there was only one bedroom in this part of the hotel, the bridal suite and it was so luxurious and definitely worth a visit if you are an impending bride or groom – I would book a wedding there for the bridal suite alone! There was also a stunning drawing room which can cater for private parties and small weddings – it was dressed beautifully as there was an upcoming event.
We were very fortunate to be upgraded to the Presidential Suite in the main part of the hotel for our anniversary and to say it was breath-taking was an understatement – it was absolutely HUGE! It had a separate living/dining room area with spectacular garden views and a bathroom that I could only dream about having at home – I adore double vanity units (my side is always messed up with everything I brought from my own bathroom and the hubby’s side is all neat and tidy with his one wash-bag! haha)
But I don’t want to go on about the presidential suite, as the standard rooms were absolutely fabulous too. The hotel is open nearly 10 years, and all the rooms are so modern and well appointed with all the 4 star amenities that you would expect (some hotels did cut back on these little touches during the recession but this hotel certainly didn’t!). They kept their standards very high and that was clear to see. (We both work in the hospitality industry so we can spot these little things) I just loved all the added touches such as robes/slippers, fancy creams etc…it’s nice to feel a bit spoilt when you are away!
We decided to head straight down to the thermal area of the spa and again a big ‘wow’ awaited us! There was an indoor hydrotherapy pool with lots of various jets and water features and the thermal area had a stunning herb sauna, laconium and crystal steam room. It was the outdoor hot tub that won me over – it was just bliss. We sat in the outdoor hot tub until our skin was shrivelled up – as you can see from the photo it was so gorgeous and overlooked the grounds of the hotel estate.The spa was well stocked with all the recent glossy mags too and they kept me quiet for a good while. I only found during our stay that ‘Seoíd’ meant ‘Gem’ and this is truly a gem that shouldn’t be hidden. I indulged in a ‘well-needed’ Voya facial and it was so relaxing and I left feeling totally cleansed and refreshed after my seaweed-infused gel mask.
Dinner that night in the restaurant was superb, ‘The Ivy Restaurant’. I had the hake and my husband had rack of lamb. We are not dessert eaters but I spied the desserts coming out to other tables and for anyone who loves a bit of sweetness, I can only say these looked divine. The staff were extremely professional, yet friendly. We ate quite late as we had met my parents for a drink before dinner, but we were never rushed or pressured to finish each course. It was back to over to the bar then to have a little post-dinner drink to digest all the yummy food…as you do!
The next day after a gorgeous breakfast we took a long walk around the grounds of the hotel and then it was off to Blanchardstown for a bit of retail therapy – it was literally 15 minutes away in the car and I just love that shopping centre and the retail parks around it. It’s great to have all the shops and department stores beside each other, some of which I don’t get to very often such as Mango, French Connection & BT2, so we pottered around there for a few hours much to my delight (lightening my purse rapidly as I went!)
It was back to the hotel then for more chilling in the spa – I have to admit I am a bit of a ‘spa critique’ and this one certainly is on the very top of my list. I noticed they offer lots of day spa packages too so if you don’t have far to travel I would strongly recommend it…another great gift idea for a day out with a friend/mum/sister. I do this every year with own my sister for Christmas – instead of buying something for each other, we head off to a spa for the day and this year we are going the whole hog and going to stay somewhere overnight as there are such great deals in January/February (plus we can have a few drinkies too!) We are currently researching so I will keep you updated on that adventure too in the new year!
This hotel is extremely popular for events too – on our first night there was a school graduation ball and that occupied my time ‘fashion-policing’ for a good hour! There were some stunning dresses, but my god there were a few too that raised an eyebrow as I thought back to the innocence of my own grad days!!
The second night there was a wedding and again I was in my element ‘style-watching’. The ballroom is the other side of the hotel so there wasn’t a word to be heard on either night in our bedroom , which was super for the light sleeper that my husband is! (I wouldn’t care if the DJ was in the room! ) We over-heard all the wedding guests raving about the food and service the following morning at breakfast which I can certainly concur with, as the food was outstanding throughout the hotel. We dined in the bar on the second night and it was beautiful too – the bar is in an open atrium area where the old part of the mansion house meets the new hotel area so it has alot of character with very plush, comfy seating and a superb drinks list – we were happu t out sitting back with our drinks, feeling totally chilled!
So now if you are thinking of treating yourself to a pre-Christmas break to indulge in a bit of retail therapy in Blanchardstown or maybe you’re thinking of heading to the January sales or planning a romantic break or a girly spa get-together …if so, Dunboyne Castle Hotel is definitely on the top of my list of recommendations, so go on treat someone or treat yourself, you will really enjoy it!
I checked out the website and there’s an amazing overnight Spa Package available at the moment starting from €99 per person B+B which includes a spa treatment…now that is excellent value!
Check out their website: Dunboyne Castle Hotel or phone: 01-8013500
Anyway, I’m reminiscent of my lovely stay in Dunboyne Castle Hotel as I look back on my photos. I am now looking out the window at the rain and wind beating against it and thinking there’s nothing better than making memories, so go and make some!
Have a good week everyone.
Love, T x 💖