Yes, it’s early to be talking Christmas. But is it really?
Word reached us recently that Christmas hotel breaks – as in residential packages, with overnight stays running from Christmas Eve to St Stephen’s Day – had sold out at Harvey’s Point in Co. Donegal. It won’t be long before others follow suit.
Plus, there are less than 100 days to go!
Don’t panic. Before you break out in a sweat, we’ve outlined your options for skipping the wash-up and seasonal stress with a hotel break below.
Packages look pricey, but they include everything from meals to mulled wine and mince piece, Santa visits and live entertainment.
Beset of luck – and be sure to compare like with like.
Take 3: Christmas in a castle
Ballynahinch Castle (pictured) is a Victorian country house with beautiful Connemara views – cosy up for a three-night break from €870pp sharing a classic room. 095 31006; ballynahinch-castle.com.
Dromoland Castle could be your home away from home this Christmas, with special curated two-night packages available from €1,180pp. 061 346-7007; dromoland.ie.
Lough Eske Castle is Donegal’s only five-star, and it invites you to put your feet up during what it dubs “silly season” with a two-night or four-night package (from €559pp and €799pp respectively). 074 97 25100; lougheskecastle.com.
More: Dromoland Castle Review: A 5-star with feeling (and sky-high fees)
Take 3: Bargain breaks
Dublin’s Radisson Blu Royal Hotel has a nice little extra in the shape of a Christmas stocking stocking filled with chocolates, crackers and treats – its two-night package is available from €250pp, but be sure to pre-book the Christmas Day dinner. 01-8982900; radissonblu.com/royalhotel-dublin.
Wexford’s Ferrycarrig Hotel has two-night, all-inclusive breaks from €365pp, with three-nights from €515pp. 053 912-0999; ferrycarrighotel.ie.
Galway’s four-star Maldron Hotel has a two-night Christmas package from €389pp, with three-night packages also available. 091 513200; maldronhotelsandyroadgalway.com.
Take 3: Christmas in Kilkenny
Mount Juliet Estate (pictured) is one of Ireland’s most popular luxury Christmas hotel breaks, with guests known to book the year ahead as they check out. It has a three-night break from €1,895pp. 056 7773000; montjuliet.ie.
Fancy an adults-only Christmas break? Hotel Kilkenny has two-night packages from €389pp, with three nights from €499pp. Book before October 31, and you get an additional night on December 23 for free. 056 776-2000; hotelkilkenny.ie.
Kilkenny’s Newpark Hotel has a Christmas Experience from €549pp for three nights and €649pp for four nights, staying in a classic double. Children under two go free, and kids aged 3-12 are charged at 50pc of the adult rate. 056 776-0500; newparkhotelkilkenny.com.
Break the bank
The newly refurnished Adare Manor (pictured top) has three-night Christmas experiences ranging from €2,490pp in a deluxe room to a whopping €5,050pp in its signature suite. Highlights of the five-star fairytale include Champagne afternoon tea, horse and carriage rides, slap-up feasts and the option of chauffeur-driven rides to local church services. 061 605200; adaremanor.com.
Take 3: 5-star Christmas hotel breaks
Dublin’s five-star Intercontinental Hotel has one-night Christmas packages from €347.50pp (single occupancy €495) and two-night deals from €475pp, 01 665-4000; intercontinentaldublin.ie.
Sheen Falls Lodge in Kenmare, Co Kerry (above) has two-night packages from €840pp and three-night stays from €1,340pp. It’s newly-refurbished, too. 064 664-1600; sheenfallslodge.ie.
The Brehon in Killarney has five-star Christmas packages, including two-nights from €525pp and three-nights from €679pp. 064 667-1543; thebrehon.com.
Take 3: Christmas in Cork
The newly-refurbished Metropole Hotel has two-night stays from €259pp and three nights from €339pp; it has a specially-commissioned movie room and the pool will open from 9am–3pm on Christmas day. 021 464 3770; themetropolehotel.ie.
Hayfield Manor (above) has three-day packages from €1,490pp, leaving you in pole position for the city’s post-Christmas sales. 021 4845900; hayfieldmanor.ie.
Cork’s Castlemartyr Resort brings five-star magic to the festive season (you can book a cosy carriage ride around the castle grounds for a Stephen’s Day surprise), with two-night packages from €850pp. 01 421-9000; castlemartyrresort.ie.
Take 2: Blue Book Christmas breaks
John and Francis Brennan’s Park Hotel in Kenmare, Co. Kerry has three-night Christmas hotel breaks from €1,495pp, including candlelit dinners and a whole host of classes and activities planned as part of your festive break. 064 664 1200; irelandsbluebook.com.
In Connemara, the McEvilly Family’s Christmas packages at Cashel House kick off with a cocktail welcome, with crackling turf and log fires as a backdrop to the food, drink and entertainment. A two-night package costs from €695pp. 09531001; cashelhouse.ie.
For more Blue Book Christmas breaks, see Hayfield Manor and Mount Juliet (above).
Take 3: Galway Christmas breaks
The five-star g hotel is doing Christmas hotel breaks for the first time in 2018, with a two-night special including a “bespoke Christmas gift” from €465pp (three nights costs €595pp). 091 865200; theghotel.ie.
Galway’s Galmont Hotel (formerly the Radisson) has a two-night package including several meals from €425pp. Don’t miss its outdoor hot tub overlooking Lough Atalia. 091 538300; thegalmont.com.
Galway Bay Hotel has a two-night Christmas package from €419pps and €190 per child. 091 514645; galwaybayhotel.net.
Take 3: Four-star festive breaks
Athlone’s Hodson Bay hotel has packages ranging from €465/€190pp (two nights) to €694/€245pp (four nights) for adults and kids. 090 644-2004; hodsonbayhotel.com.
Dun Laoghaire’s Royal Marine Hotel has one-night stays from €220pp, including B&B and a Christmas Day buffet. A two-night package costs from €325pp. 01 230-0030; royalmarine.ie.
In Co Meath, the Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa has a two-night special including lots of food and entertainment from €600pp (€ 225 per child from 4-12 years). 01 801-3500; dunboynecastlehotel.com.
Take 3: Christmas breaks in Dublin
Clontarf Castle Hotel is a movie-like setting for Christmas, with a “Champagne Artisan Castle breakfast” among the treats in store in its two-night package from €569pp. Three and four-night packages are available from €569pp and €709pp respectively. 01 8332321 or clontarfcastle.ie.
Brooks Hotel (above), which featured on our Fab 50 for 2018, has a two-night Christmas package in the heart of the city on Drury Street from €790pp. It includes a Christmas gift, as well as movies in its private cinema. 01 670-4000; brookshotel.ie.
The five-star Dylan Hotel, also on 2018’s Fab 50 list, has a one night-deal (arriving on Christmas Eve) with B&B and a four-course lunch or dinner from €572 per room. 01 660-3000; dylan.ie.
5 Tips for booking Christmas Hotel Breaks
1. Christmas packages are best booked over the phone, and directly with the hotel. You’re spending a lot of money, so negotiate for best rates, especially if booking with a larger group over a couple of rooms.
2. Ask for a discount, confidently. ‘Is that the very best deal you can offer?’ Or, ‘Can you give us 10pc off seeing as we are a group?’ Fortune favours the brave.
3. Travelling with kids? Most hotels offer substantially reduced rates for kids, but why not ask if they can go for free – especially if they are sharing your room? Make sure to ask when Santa will visit, and what activities cater for their age group.
4. Flying solo? Most hotels will charge single supplements, especially at Christmas – which is expensive to staff and operate. Don’t forget to shop around.
5. If Christmas itself is too expensive, why not book a break over ‘Twixmas’, the period between December 27 and New Year’s Eve? It can be a good window for deals (take a look at last year’s top Twixmas offers for inspiration).
NB: All prices subject to availability, and based on two sharing (except if stated otherwise). Food and entertainment offerings differ across hotels.
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