Hotels offer five-star luxury over Christmas but at a price

Lego rooms, movies, falconry and long walks some of the activities on offer during hotel stay

A table setting for Christmas dinner at the Park Hotel in Kenmare.

A table setting for Christmas dinner at the Park Hotel in Kenmare.

 

For those who want to swap the madness of Christmas Day at home for a bit of five-star luxury, there are plenty of options available here. But it comes at a price.

This year, the 64-bedroom Park Hotel in Kenmare will be full for the Christmas period. The Co Kerry bolthole is selling “a luxurious personal time together”, according to hotelier John Brennan, who runs the Park with his brother Francis. The pair co-present the hit RTÉ television programme At Your Service.

A Christmas package for three nights is €1,495 per person, with a schedule for the big day that is slightly different to other hotels. “All the residents come on Christmas Eve and they’re together for three days – there’s a lovely house party atmosphere,” Brennan said.

Christmas dinner, held in the evening in the Park, includes locally-raised turkey and ham. Then the following day, patrons can do a St Stephen’s Day walk if they so wish, bringing them across Molls Gap. The vast majority of residents, however, just want to relax, according to Brennan.

Christmas movie

Options include whiskey tasting, yoga, meditation and a Christmas movie. For children, there’s a hide-and-seek, and a dedicated lego room. “There’s more adults in the Lego room than there are children,” Brennan admits.

If an Irish city break is what you’re looking for, there’s no shortage of options. At the Westbury just off Grafton Street in Dublin, the hotel offers a “home from home” feel over the Christmas period. Children meet Santa on Christmas Eve, with afternoon tea served from noon.

On Christmas Day, guests have their pick of the lot when it comes to dinner, which starts from €195 in the Wilde restaurant. For main course, turkey with all the trimmings is an option, but guests can also opt for pheasant, loin or halibut for main course. Prices for rooms at the Westbury start at €335 per night.

On the other side of the country Galway’s five-star Glenlo Abbey offers “crackling log fires, twinkling Christmas tree lights and the gentle waft of chestnuts roasting”.

Personalised gifts

In the 18th-century surroundings, the estate has plenty of options for its guests, from playing a round of golf to visiting the birds of prey in the walled garden. A three-night stay starts from €950 per person and younger guests will all get personalised gifts.

On St Stephen’s Day, options include a tour of Connemara or golfing on the estate, topped off by live music that evening. You also have the option of watching a falconry show.

If you’d prefer to escape Ireland, the Dorchester Hotel in London’s Mayfair might fit the bill. A two-night break there costs £1,375 (or £2,725 if it’s a suite you’re after) per room.

When you arrive on Christmas Eve, you’ll get a glass of Veuve Clicquot. On the big day itself, there’s lunch at the Grill at the Dorchester and music in the afternoon. On St Stephen’s Day, there’s another lunch in the Grill before late check-out in the afternoon.

Roman holiday

In Rome, patrons of the Baglioni Hotel Regina will shell out at least €732 for a three-night stay, not including dinner on Christmas Day.

The hotel, located 3km from the Colosseum, offers Christmas Day diners an “exceptional lunch with a meat and fish menu culminating in a delicious artisanal panettone cake with creamy zabaglione” for €260 for two people.

But don’t expect turkey for your main course. At the Brunello restaurant, head chef Luciano Sarzi Sartori is offering a six-course menu including acacia honey caramelised scallops and chestnut, date and apple stuffed capon. Buon appetito.