The Culloden Hotel and Spa is a grand 5 star luxury hotel sitting on top of hill overlooking the Belfast Lough. It is part of the Hastings Group of hotels and they have a few other hotels in their portfolio. This one is situated in Holywood, just a bit away from Belfast City Centre. It is set in its own grounds with beautiful vistas which make it a favourite for wedding parties.
The hotel was originally built as a Palace for the Bishop of Down and most recently was a “family home” before it was converted to a hotel. The building is grand and the interiors are a combination of classic and antique furniture. The liveried and top-hatted staff and ready to offer their assistance at an instant.
On my way to the hotel, the taxi driver gave me a running commentary about the Holywood area and how Rory McIroy (one of their most famous sons) lives just down the road. Being a massive golfing fan, I had to go and visit. All I was told was that it was down the road and next to the Sailing club. A lovely stroll through the posh residential streets, I found myself along Seafront Road. A friendly local pointed out his penthouse flat along the street. Took a pic and sent it to my Golf Pro brother. (I’m not a normally a stalker, really).
The Bedrooms at Culloden- I stayed in a beautiful Junior Suite
As you walk in to the suite, you just can’t help be overawed by the large picture windows and the view. Then you notice the space, it is enormous. There is a sitting area with a sofa, armchairs and a large flat screen TV. The room is dominated by a king size bed with King Coil Cloud mattresses, fine linen and a choice of feather and foam pillows (no pillow menu).
They left a couple of sweet morsels as a welcome gift next to the in-room coffee and tea maker. Next to the bed is an ipod hub and alarm clock.
There is a separate working desk with double plugs, a desk lamp, so ample room to catch up on work if you are here on a business trip. Also, essentially, there is complimentary wifi throughout the hotel.
The marble bathroom is really big with a deep bathtub (accessorised with a Culloden rubber ducky), separate power shower and 2 sinks. Toiletries are from Espa which are a joy.
The Spa and Fitness areas
There is one indoor pool in a room designed to resemble a Roman bath with gothic columns and marble statues. It is underneath a sky light so if feels like you are outdoors even when the weather is not great. The pool is not a regular rectangular shape but just about big enough to swim some laps. It wasn’t too busy when I had a swim. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time for a treatment.
There is a hot tub next to pool and some sauna and steam rooms through a door connected to the pool. Around the pool are a couple of sun beds to relax on or some comfortable seating areas serviced by a bar that serves light refreshments.
The Gym is right next to the reception and is quite large as this is open to membership outside of hotel guests. To get to your room, it is a walk through the main areas of the hotel. You might get strange looks if you are walking around in your robe but you won’t be the only one.
Food and Drink
Breakfast is a lavish buffet with an option for an Irish Breakfast which I can highly recommend. It comes with some local produce. Moyallann back bacon, Honey Bee Pork Sausages and a really really good black and white pudding by Gracehil, served with free range County Down eggs. Toast and Irwin’s potato bread is served with the superb local butter.
On the buffet, they highlight all the producers who supplied the products from the local apple juice, the Guinness cheese to the granola. Love the promotion of food provenance. They even have a page on their website which lists who they work for.
For dinner, the Mitre restaurant is transformed into a fine dining space. The kitchen is overseen by Head Chef, Paul McKnight. He is passionate about local produce and showcases Northern Irish produce on his menu. We had a chance to enjoy his tasting menu which incorporates a lot of the top Northern Irish food producers. It was quite a stunning meal and you can read more about it here.
There is an alternative dining venue in the grounds. In its own stand-alone building is the Cultra, accessible directly from the street. They serve a casual menu here.
I really enjoyed my stay and the warm Irish hospitality at the Culloden. Those beds were a dream and I really want one shipped home. With the combination of good food, very comfortable accommodations, lovely spa and beautiful surroundings, it makes for a great getaway venue. If you are looking for a stylish getaway, you will love it at the Culloden Estate.
The Culloden Hotel and Spa
Belfast BT18 OEX
Details on their website: http://www.hastingshotels.com/culloden-estate-and-spa/
EatCookExplore travelled to Northern Ireland as a guest of Discover Northern Ireland as part of a gastronomy tour. You can read more about the highlights here.