Niche Travel


The onward march of the curator knows no bounds. The latest iteration is the “curated” travel website, offering a boutique alternative to trawling through thousands of entries in directories such as hotels.comor

Curated sites such as DesignTripper.comor Boutique-Homes.comoffer just a few, well-chosen properties for the discerning traveller.

For an ultra-curated list, check out the Swell Group, brainchild of Waterford man Brendan Kirwan and his Liverpudlian business partner, Amanda Aharoni.

Kirwan and Aharoni are former barristers with an interest in design who got the idea for the business when holiday lodgings Aharoni booked in Paris just didn’t seem “Parisian” enough.

Today the Swell Group has a small but perfectly formed portfolio of luxury properties in Britain, France, Italy and Ireland.

Honey Cottage, a thatched house outside Killybegs, Co Donegal, provides a deluxe take on rural Irish dwellings. “We wanted to set a hotel standard for self-catering, and anchor each property in its location,” says Aharoni.

“So in our Paris apartment, you’ll be listening to Edith Piaf CDs. In Honey Cottage, you’ll find buttermilk scones and turf fires. But it’s a luxurious form of Irish authenticity, not a frayed version.”

Another Co Donegal property, Gatsby House, is a luxury townhouse in Ardara with Ralph Lauren furniture and Molton Brown toiletries. Despite the name, you don’t have to be a “swell” to afford it. Gatsby House sleeps 10, which, at €1,500 a week, works out at about €21 per person per night.