Kathryn McKenna explains why the personal touches made all the difference at the Redcastle Oceanfront, Golf and Spa Hotel.
Reclining in the relaxation room fresh from a therapeutic treatment with a glass of lemon infused ice-cold water in hand, and the sweeping waves of Lough Foyle echoing faintly in the distance, I suddenly understand what people mean when they refer to an experience as a ‘little slice of heaven.’
Nestled on the shores of Lough Foyle in Inishowen, Co. Donegal, my husband and I found the famous Redcastle Oceanfront, Golf and Spa Hotel with its wild coastline, tiny fishing villages and natural, rustic charm, to be an ideal venue for a staycation in Ireland.
A popular wedding destination, this deluxe four star resort offers floor to ceiling views giving visitors the sense they are vacationing in the middle of the deep blue sea itself. The 93 bedrooms and luxury suites boast ocean or parkland views, with the aptly named Edge restaurant offering breathtaking panoramic views - so it’s certainly no surprise that a seaview seat is as coveted as the holy grail during peak season.
Foodie fans will savour the fine dining experience on offer here, which was a true highlight for my husband and I when we visited earlier in December.
Despite the time of year, the hotel and restaurant hosted a pleasant bustle of people - thanks to its great package deals. Between the attentive, friendly service, stunning views and impressive menu packed with locally sourced ingredients, I found this to be a standout culinary experience. Any fish lovers should opt for the Shortcross Gin and Citrus Cured Salmon, Cucumber Gazpacho and Pickled Cucumber - one of the most flavoursome and fresh dishes I have ever had the pleasure to enjoy.
The secluded hotel offers everything visitors could ever need without setting foot outside its magnificent grounds, which is set among mature parkland with its own private nine hole golf course, and its own array of exciting restaurants which also includes the more relaxed Captain’s Bar and The Deck. It also hosts complimentary leisure facilities for guests plus a fully equipped gym.
For those attempting to keep children entertained or who simply like to explore their surroundings, Redcastle is conveniently located to a number of local attractions and quaint village experiences close to Moville. My travel partner and I took advantage of Redcastle’s proximity to the nearby village of Muff which was a convenient 10 minute drive away, visiting nearby delightful cafe Tany and Skinny’s for a catchup with family and a seriously scrumptious pecan pie. This was easily squeezed in after a luxurious in-room breakfast and a more than reasonable 12pm check out time.
Captivating spots of natural beauty in picturesque Inishowen are also well within driving distance, including the much lauded Carrickabraghy Castle.
For those embarking upon a relaxing long weekend, I could not recommend the spa enough. With an extensive list of spa treatments as well as beauty options on offer in The Sugar Room, it’s easy to understand why the Redcastle’s reputation as a spa retreat precedes itself. Working with Voya, all of its products contain organic certified seaweed and are harvested in sustainable ways, not tested on animals and contain natural healing properties.
Like most people, I suffer from the dreaded sore back thanks to hunching over a computer screen, and so I opted for a holistic therapy in the form of a Traditional Swedish Massage (75 euros).
This form of massage involves gentle manipulations of the soft tissues, performed with essential oils and pressure can be applied according to your personal taste.
Our therapist Tara was terrific, from asking which choice of oil we each preferred to applying the pressure exactly to our specification. In a spa first for me, I was surprised yet pleased at the personal touch when I was presented with an aftercare card carrying a list of recommendations which included tips to help with my back and shoulder tenseness.
Meanwhile, this was my husband’s first trip to a spa, and whilst that brought its own hilarity as he battled to understand the dos and don’ts of the tranquil spa etiquette, it’s suffice to say he will certainly be returning - which is indeed a ringing endorsement in itself.
Driving from Belfast, we found the one hour and 50 minute drive to Moville simple and straightforward with the help of trusted Google Maps. Upon arrival, it’s certainly hard for even the most experienced vacationer not to be impressed by the grand scale of the hotel - from its sloping vibrant green golf grounds to the atmospheric twinkling lights of the villages beyond the sea.
After parking up in the ample car park we received a particularly friendly welcome at the front desk before being shown to our Superior Suite, and to say we were impressed by the sheer luxuriousness would be an understatement. A huge corner room complete with its very own glittering Christmas tree, it boasted a spacious sitting room area with plush sofas which looked out to sea - the perfect way to watch the sun go down. Doors opened onto a spacious balcony, and standing in the fresh open sea air with a colony of seagulls soaring above, you would be forgiven for thinking you were relaxing on the beach itself.
Overall, this was a fantastic feel-good break which reawakened the senses with its vibrant sea breeze, delicious food, and hearty drinks in the Captain’s Bar.
The people of Donegal have a special saying, “Up here, it’s different.” That was definitely clear to see at the Redcastle Hotel Donegal with its idyllic surroundings, personal touches and great service.
Contact the Redcastle Oceanfront, Golf & Spa Hotel on +353(0)74 9385555 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: redcastlehotel.com.