It’ll be a different kind of break.
Irish hotels are set to reopen on July 20th and while Covid-19 safety measures will demand social distancing is strictly maintained, it will be possible to book in for a well-deserved change of scenery in a few weeks’ time.
First, some housekeeping; if you rock up expecting the hotel bar to be lively you will be disappointed. If hotels are serving drinks to guests, it will be table service only and you may need to book ahead to ensure you are seated.
Breakfast buffets will be out for obvious reasons and you may be served breakfast on an outdoor terrace or in your room, depending on the space available at your hotel.
With the usual hotel pastimes (cocktails and entertainment in the bar, long massages and saunas) off the menu for now, booking a hotel with plenty to explore in the surrounding areas is key.
It’s important to remember that the planned reopening roadmap is entirely dictated by the public health restrictions that were put in place to protect us all from COVID-19. Each phase will only come into effect when the National Public Health Emergency Team says that the conditions are right.
That said, if you’re keen to start planning your life after lockdown, you can book a getaway now. Here are five options in various price ranges:
1. DUNMORE HOUSE
With a private nine-hole golf course and ten beaches located within ten minutes of the front door, you’ll never be short of activities to keep you busy at Dunmore House.
Perched on the shore of Clonakilty Bay, this family-run hotel first opened in 1948 but a recent refurbishment has given it a thoroughly modern new look with Voya Irish organic products in the rooms, Hanly Irish cashmere rugs and an interesting private collection of local and modern Irish art.
Dunmore House reopens on July 20th and you can book a room from €180 here.
2. THE ECCLES HOTEL, GLENGARRIFF
Dreaming of a dip in the Blue Pool? There are endless walks to be enjoyed in Glengarriff, with jaw-dropping scenery around every corner. The Bamboo Park, an exotic garden packed with tropical plants, is now open too, with tickets reduced to €5 per person (children go free).
Book an overnight stay at the Eccles, which reopens on July 20th, and you’ll enjoy panoramic bedroom views over Bantry Bay and a Georgina Campbells Irish Breakfast Award-winning breakfast the following morning.
From €144 per room here.
3. CASTLEMARTYR RESORT
Golf is the big draw here and the course at Castlemartyr Resort has been open since May 18th. There’s also 220 acres of gorgeous parkland, a fairy trail and the ruins of a 13th-century castle to ramble in. Guests can enjoy a picnic, made with the finest local ingredients, in the formal gardens or fly a kite around the castle grounds.
The two-night ‘Here Comes the Summer’ package includes dinner for the adults in Franchini’s on one evening (kids pay on consumption), a Family Pass to Fota Wildlife Park or Leahy’s Open Farm, your very own ‘Marty’ the bear and a Kid’s Activity Pack on arrival.
From €249 per room here.
4. BALLYMALOE HOUSE
Nothing blows away the cobwebs of three months’ cabin fever like a bracing walk by the sea. Lace-up your hiking boots and head out for a stroll along the 7km Ballycotton cliff walk before a snooze in your cosy room at Ballymaloe House and a top-notch dinner in one of their private dining rooms, which allow guests to meet as a family while complying with social distancing guidelines.
Ballymaloe House opens for overnight guests on Wednesday, July 22nd with a one-night midweek break including bed and breakfast and a five-course dinner available from €455 per couple here.
5. ACTON’S HOTEL, KINSALE
Situated right in the heart of the town, overlooking the Harbour, Acton’s is a prime base for exploring the winding streets and hidden coves of Kinsale. Stroll the Old Head and James Fort or take off for the day with a picnic and a dip in the cool, pristine waters of Nohoval Cove.
The hotel’s B&B package is available for booking on their website from Friday, July 24th at €198 per room here.