Nine gorgeous getaways for Valentine’s Day
Surprise and delight your partner with a romantic escape for two this Valentine's Day
Ireland’s Blue Book is a romantic collection of country houses, historic hotels, castles and restaurants around the island of Ireland. Pictured: Glenlo Abbey
Busy modern lifestyles can make it difficult for couples to find quality time to spend together, to reconnect, and to create new memories. So forgo the clichéd box of chocolates or bouquet of roses this year and sweep your loved one off their feet with a night or two at a charming country house, luxurious castle or refined regency manor from Ireland’s Blue Book.
Whether you’re looking for the seclusion of a relaxing woodland retreat, or the ultimate in indulgence in a five star mansion straight out of a period drama, the collection has something to suit everyone’s tastes and requirements.
Marlfield House … for a cosy lie in
Marlfield House is the kind of place where you will check in and never want to leave. The house exudes both warmth and opulence. Upon arrival you can enjoy a glass of bubbles in front of a blazing fire, or wrap up warm and enjoy a romantic ramble through the gardens.
Those looking for a little luxury should book into the Stopford Room – an elegant suite decorated in soothing soft shades of gold and blue, with its own romantic fireplace and large windows overlooking the peaceful grounds.
Dining options at Marlfield include the casually chic Duck Restaurant, and the fine-dining restaurant, the Conservatory. Retire afterwards to your suite for a wonderful night’s slumber in your four-poster bed and a luxurious lie in the following morning.
Hayfield Manor ... for a five-star city spa break
At Hayfield Manor you can share a romantic meal with your partner without even leaving the comfort of your suite. If you’re staying in the Grand Suite, you can book your very own butler who will wait on you and your significant other as you dine in peaceful privacy.
If you choose to dine instead in Hayfield’s award-winning Orchids Restaurant, then you can arrange to have your room decorated for Valentine’s in your absence. Return after your meal to find your room strewn with rose petals, to flickering candlelight, soft music playing and champagne on ice.
During your stay at Hayfield, make sure to avail of the Beautique Spa and their fantastic Elemis treatments, including soothing massages, invigorating facials and soothing cleanses suitable for all guests.
Castle Durrow ... for the royal treatment
Perhaps you want to whisk your loved one away for the royal treatment at an elegant castle hotel. Just an hour outside of Dublin, you’ll still feel like you’re a world away as you enjoy a peaceful retreat on this luxurious estate, just outside the charming village of Durrow in Co Laois.
Each room at Castle Durrow is individually decorated, most with large four-poster beds, family heirlooms and antiques. Soft lighting, elegantly muted tones and delicately patterned wallpaper create an ambience of calm and relaxation. The team at Castle Durrow strive to create a refined but comfortable home-away-from-home feeling for all guests.
Spend a couple of days living the high life, sipping tea beneath glittering chandeliers, dining in the beautiful candlelit restaurant, or ambling through the stunning grounds, courtyards and gardens.
The Wineport Lodge … for a touch of sparkle
Champagne on ice awaits you and your significant other in your lakeside suite at the Wineport Lodge. Fittingly named the Champagne Suite, the space comprises of two floors, with a mezzanine floating bedroom, lake-view balcony and fireplace, as well as floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the rippling lake.
It’s the kind of room you won’t want to leave, but if you do, there are plenty of romantic treats and activities awaiting you at the Wineport, including an indulgent outdoor hot tub, treatment suites and a wonderful lakeview restaurant perfect for a romantic dinner for two. Watch the sun set upon the lake as you sip bubbles and dine on the delicious seasonal dishes carefully prepared by the Wineport’s expert chefs.
Dunbrody House … for blissful seclusion
In a peaceful woodland setting and overflowing with charm, Dunbrody’s Cosy Cabin in the Woods is perfect for couples looking to get away from it all and just enjoy each other’s company, with nothing but the rustling of the trees, birdsong and the sound of the occasional lowing cow for company.
Cute and quaint, you'll feel like there is no one in the world but the two of you. Cuddle up inside on the couch, or wrap up in a blanket and watch the sunset through the trees, and enjoy the cool, peaceful night air on your own private terrace.
Just a stone’s throw from the main hotel you can still enjoy all the hotel’s facilities, restaurant and bar, and still have your secret retreat awaiting you in the woods..
Glenlo Abbey ... for old-fashioned romance
Linger over a romantic dinner for two aboard the Pullman Restaurant at the 5 Star Glenlo Abbey Hotel. The Pullman Restaurant is set aboard two carriages from the original Orient Express. Decorated in classic 1920s style with lace curtains and dark wood panelling, it is sure to transport diners back to a different era. During the month of February, guests at Glenlo Abbey can also enjoy a selection of romantic black and white classic films in the in-house Abbey Movie Theatre.
Retire to the elegant Presidential Suite, richly decorated in the style of the original building, high ceilings and sash windows and decorated in warm gold and green tones, which bring to mind the colours of the Connemara landscape. A private terrace and balcony offers a romantic hideaway and the perfect spot to pop open a bottle of champagne and enjoy the view of the surrounding estate.
Castle Leslie ... for a suite escape
Castle Leslie Estate is tucked away amongst 1,000 beautiful acres of romantic Irish countryside, with rolling hills, peaceful woodland and glittering lakes. Still owned by its founding family, the castle is steeped in history and has welcomed many famous names over the years, from rock stars to royalty and poets to politicians, who have come for the renowned old-world hospitality and the character and charm of the hotel.
With elegant canopy beds and working fireplaces, each uniquely decorated suite will sweep you back to a more romantic time. You’ll have to drag yourselves away from your room to explore, but you’ll be glad you did. The castle has its own impressive library full historical volumes, as well as a magnificent drawing room complete with grand piano.
For something a bit different to do on Valentine’s Day, explore the vast estate on horseback with your very own expert guide. Castle Leslie Estate has its own equestrian centre, and resident horses Blueberry, Whisper, Beau and Buddy will be delighted to make your acquaintance.
Ardtara Hotel … for quiet luxury
Nestled on acres of peaceful gardens and woodlands, Ardtara Country House is perfectly secluded from the world. The house has just nine bedrooms, each with their own character and style, complete with antiques, ornamental rugs and glowing fireplaces. Ardtara is the perfect, intimate country-house retreat for those looking for old-timey elegance without fuss. The hotel is renowned for its superb food, so dine together on sumptuous dishes and toast your relationship with a delicious wine from their impressive list.
The gem of this beautiful Victorian mansion has to be the romantic bar. Dimly lit with a crackling fire, plush armchairs and the sound of tinkling piano keys in the background, makes for the perfect spot to relax with a drink after your meal.
For lovers of poetry, the Seamus Heaney HomePlace is just 15 minutes from the hotel – a fantastic museum celebrating the life and work of the iconic Irish poet.
Ballyfin Demesne … for the ultimate indulgence
For serious lovers of luxury, there is no more romantic and indulgent a destination than Ballyfin Demesne. Choose from a number of splendid state rooms or suites such as The Lady Caroline Suite, with its magnificent four-poster bed, antiques, art and views overlooking the estate. Dinner at Ballyfin is preceded by a formal cocktail hour before guests are brought through to the State Dining Room. Sumptuous food and drinks served beneath the glimmer of candlelight makes for the perfect glamorous evening.
Couples staying a Ballyfin have an array of activities and facilities at their disposal; spend a relaxing afternoon unwinding in the spa, a romantic day boating on the lake, or take a guided horse and carriage tour of the estate. Guests can even live out a Downton Abbey-inspired fantasy with Ballyfin as the lavish backdrop. Choose from a stunning collection of period costumes and then enjoy pre-dinner drinks and a special banquet with a photographer on hand to capture every moment.
Ireland’s Blue Book is a romantic collection of country houses, historic hotels, castles and restaurants around the island of Ireland. For more information, visit irelandsbluebook.ie