Picture it. It’s a chilly, wintery night and you can hear the wind howling outside. But you’re curled up beside a glowing and crackling fire, a hot drink in your hand, warm and full after a delicious meal and fine wine, thinking only of the cosy bed awaiting you in your luxurious room.
This is the kind of winter escape on offer at the beautiful country house hotels of Ireland’s Blue Book this winter. Whether you’re looking for a luxury spa break, a gourmet meal or simply a chance to unwind in comfort and leave the everyday behind, we’ve selected some perfect cosy winter escapes to help you rest and recharge. Treat yourself to a break away from the ordinary or delight a loved one with a gift voucher.
Marlfield House, Co Wexford
We all love a bit of spoiling now and then, and where better to spoil yourself than in the luxurious surrounds of Marlfield House, a beautifully restored Regency period house in County Wexford.
The house is nestled amongst acres of gorgeous gardens and woodlands, perfect for an invigorating stroll on a crisp wintery day. Equally, the interiors are sumptuously warm and comfortable with 19 individually decorated bedrooms offering all modern comforts and luxuries as well as stylish period furniture and original artwork.
Afternoon Tea is served from Friday to Sunday, and guests have two evening dining options; the chic, contemporary Duck Terrace Restaurant as well as the fine-dining Conservatory Restaurant.
Dinner, B&B from €172 per person sharing
Ardtara Country House, Co Derry
If you dream of a place of peace and relaxation for the perfect romantic escape, Ardtara Country House is a complete break from the norm – an elegant 19th century house secluded amidst 10 wooded acres in Upperlands, Co. Derry. The property exudes a refined and understated elegance throughout. There is a cosy fire in almost every room, creating the perfect ambience for a cosseted romantic evening, glass of wine in hand, with someone special by your side.
The award-winning restaurant, under the guidance of Chef Patron Ian Orr, serves up stunning seasonal dishes, from a menu that changes daily.
Dinner, B&B from £94.50 per person sharing
Cahernane House Hotel, Co Kerry
Located adjacent to Killarney National Park, Cahernane House Hotel exudes a sense of relaxation and tranquillity where you can retreat from the hectic pace of life into a cocoon of calm. In the main house 12 gorgeous bedrooms are furnished with guests’ utmost comfort in mind and overlook the surrounding Killarney countryside and mountains.
The hotel, dating back to 1877, is full of character. Extensive renovations were carried out in 2017, but care was taken to preserve the personality and heritage of the building. The old coach house was restored in 2019, adding 8 additional luxurious bedrooms, designed and decorated with bright jewel tones and textures inspired by the surrounding natural landscape to envelop the senses and create your own personal oasis.
Dinner, B&B from €105 per person sharing
Castle Leslie Estate, Co Monaghan
Castle Leslie is situated on 1000 glorious acres of sweeping lawns, wintery woodlands and glittering lakes, placing you a world away from the stresses and pressures of everyday life.
Stay in the castle itself and immerse yourself fully in the history of the Leslie family. Explore the impressive library and drawing rooms for historical treasures, and choose from a selection of beautifully renovated and luxurious bedrooms which belonged to generations of the family.
Or choose to stay at the newly restored Lodge. Considered the social hub of the estate, it is home to the award-winning Snaffles restaurant, cosy-casual Conor’s Bar, and chic and comfortable rooms, designed in keeping with the period of the property.
Dinner, B&B from €140 per person sharing
Ice House Hotel, Co Mayo
A balm to the soul, the appropriately named Chill Spa at the Ice House is perfect for some indulgent me-time during the busy festive period. Rejuvenate body and mind with a relaxing massage or cleansing facial or just unwind in the thermal suite. Brave the cold for a couple of seconds and your reward is a hot, bubbling outdoor hot tub overlooking the River Moy.
After an afternoon spent relaxing in the spa, dine in the Riverview restaurant, before a wonderfully comfortable night’s sleep in one of the beautiful Riverside or Heritage Suites. The Riverview Suites are sleek and modern with floor to ceiling windows offering uninterrupted views of the river. The elegant Heritage Suites are designed in keeping with the period of the property, with gorgeous patterned wallpaper, sumptuous furnishings and antiques.
Dinner, B&B from €230 per night for two people sharing, with full use of the Chill Spa thermal suite
Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Derry
Bishop’s Gate Hotel is a luxury boutique hotel located right in the heart of the historic walled city of Derry. The elegant Edwardian property used to be a gentlemen’s club and has hosted WB Yeats and Winston Churchill. The property retains an air of this old-style grandeur, while still exuding warmth and friendliness.
Bishop’s Gate is just a 2 minute walk from the city walls, and 5 minutes from the fantastic Tower Museum. Enjoy a day of shopping and sightseeing before arriving back for a pick-me-up in the Wig Champagne Bar before dinner in the Gown Restaurant.
Dinner, B&B from £119 per night for two people sharing
Castle Grove Country House, Co Donegal
For a truly traditional country house stay, Castle Grove Country House has the feel of a cosy family home, albeit one with glittering chandeliers and four-poster beds. Warm and comfortable, care and attention clearly go into everything from maintaining the heritage of the 17th century property, to making sure guests are relaxed, well-fed and wanting for nothing.
Traditional afternoon tea is served in the drawing room, next to a crackling fire, and dinner is served in the elegant restaurant. There is also a cosy, quiet library for those looking for a little secluded relaxation.
Castle Grove Country House is also the perfect gateway to the beautiful Donegal coast. Head north to Fanad Head and if you're lucky you might even spot the Northern Lights.
Dinner, B&B from €100 per night for two people sharing
Wineport Lodge, Co Westmeath
Experience all the beauty of Lough Ree from the snug interiors of the Wineport Lodge. Nab a window table in the restaurant and enjoy a decadent dining experience overlooking the gently flowing water. Then settle down for a nightcap in the dimly lit lounge, before retiring to one of the Wineport’s comfortable and luxurious bedrooms.
To step the luxury up a notch, stay a night or two in the Wineport’s most opulent suite, which is aptly named the Champagne Suite. Spread out over two sumptuously decorated floors, guests can enjoy gorgeous views over the lake from a private sitting room and from the bedroom. Over the Christmas period, Champagne, chocolate truffles and even your own Christmas tree await you in your suite.
Dinner, B&B from €310 for two people sharing