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“Total relaxation...you'll find it here!”

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Lough Eske Castle, a Solis Hotel & Spa
Ranked #2 of 7 Hotels in Donegal Town
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 17 March 2009

Firstly I've never has good enough reason to write an hotel review but on this occassion felt this hotel was worth the effort.

We came across this hotel quite accidentally a few months ago, we had a walk through and were impressed with the building/setting etc we decided to go there later for 'without children' . We went the weekend before St Patrick's Day instead of our proposed weekend away to Dublin.

You will not get the same 'buzz' as a weekend in Dublin but what you will get it is a total weekend of relaxation. However if you are interested in golf, walking etc. I would imagine there is plenty of choice in the area. We just had a long weekend rest!

My husband and I have been to 'spas' before but he had never had any treatments before. He totally relaxed during the spa day as we both enjoyed a couple's massage. It may not have been my personal favourite massage but my husband was totally impressed. Similarly the Spa may not have as many facilities as some Luxury European Hotels but in comparsion to others in Ireland it is of an exceptional standard. It was so relaxing that we were in bed by 9pm, sound asleep!

We were both totally impressed with this hotel. The location is not a choice for those who want to go clubbing but if you want to rest in luxury this place is prefect. The generously sized bedroom had a luxurious, spacious bathroom and the bed was so comfy. For once we did not even ask for extra pillows.

As with most five star hotels we expected the food to be simply 'pretty'. Infact the food was excellent, the portions just right and so tasty. The steaks were cooked to prefection. On the second evening my husband particulary enjoyed the Red Thai Curry which was new to the bar snack menu. His only complaint regarding the food was that there had been a delay with his specific egg request for breakfast (only on the first morning), but they did arrive eventually and were to his 'egg standard' so again he was happy, (and he is so fussy about eggs!!)

The staff were all exceptionally friendly and helpful. Personally I wish to thank Rachel (from Sion Mills) for her excellent service. She is an Hotel Managment Under Graduate (UUJ) and was extremely personable, I wish her ever success in her career.

I did read other 'trip advisor' reviews and have to agree that for a 5* you would expect porterage etc on arrival but as a new hotel, struggling to build up a reputation this is entirely forgiveable. Similarly if you are expecting the 'old fustiness' of a castle you will not get it here, the Castle has been rebuilt to modern standards. However the are open fires burning in the spacious reception rooms and externally the front facade is exactly as pictured. Together with the well presented,extensive gardens with ornate statues etc make this Castle a beautiful wedding venue.

The staff advised that the hotel was built by a local man who dreamt of owning a FIVE STAR hotel in Donegal. What would be unfortunate is that this hotel could close because it becomes 'unviable' which is a reality in today's climate. I hope this never happens as we intend returning to what simply is a 'jewel' of an hotel in Ireland.

Infact Mr M is so impressd he wants to go to the hotel again in April and bring our kids along!
DM, N Ireland

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank mulvenna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,258 - 2,264 of 2,378 reviews

Reviewed 23 February 2009

We stayed for 3 nights over Valentines Weekend for a friends wedding.

The hotel itself is gorgeous, with the little drawing rooms where you can sit with a drink from the bar in front of log fires.

The hospitality of the hotel for the wedding was outstanding. I was part of the wedding party and they could not do enough for us. There was a mix up on times for breakfast and minutes after my phone call, it arrived.

The food at the reception dinner was amazing! Everybody who I spoke to said the same aswell, you really couldn't fault it. It was a concern of my friends whose wedding it was as sometimes when catering for such a large number (175) the quality can be lost but this was not the case at all.

Overall, the hotel was expensive and we did spend a lot of money over the weekend but we had a wonderful time and did not regret it for a minute.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Debster56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 February 2009

Have just spent two night in the castle..celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.I would not recommend this hotel to anyone as it is over rated and over priced.The building itself is very nice.However from the moment we arrived we could see that this hotel lacks management and style.No porter/concierge..faulty lights,tele,..restaurant disastrous..limited menu for those on 'the package'deal!!!!! terrible service ..delays ,or non arrival of food and wine..no sign of maitre di..no wine waiter.Staff looking confused and stressed,as were other guests around us.One of our many waiters didnt even know the soup of the day.A half an hour later she still didnt know for the guests at the table beside us.Wine and food was constantly being delivered to the wrong tables.No organisation...different waiters coming to take orders we had already given..several times..people continually requesting their coffees and bills.After complaining on way out knew we were wasting our time. I Had to go to an unmanned reception during my meal to advise them of the horrible conditions of the ladies toilets .
Breakkast was disappointing .We asked for our teas and coffees at least three times..Limited choice...The bill on our departure was incorrect.Even the complimentary wine we received in the restaruant after we voiced our concerns,,was on our bill.I had run out of steam at this stage and just paid and left.On my arrival home I read previous customers comments ,going back to last August with the exact same complaints.I cannot believe that no effort is being made to rectify these serious problems.The hotel is opened only on weekends at the moment.There is an obvious lack of leadership and professional management ..and no one seems to care..remember this is supposed to be a five star hotel..Ill be spending my hard earned money somewhere else..Fortunately we met some lovely people and made the best of our stay.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank AnneMcMayo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 February 2009

Reading the previous reviews i was slight apprehensive as to how our stay was going to be.

All i can go by was our own experience of the hotel and as you can probably tell from the title it was superb.

Hotel staff were excellent, well mannered and very helpful. Any requests were dealt with quickly and efficiently.

The restaurant even though it was very very busy was excellent, the food was perfectly cooked and again the service was fantastic, attention to detail was spot on. The breakfast was superb....

Rooms were spotless and well kitted out, the bathrooms are stunning, still no RTE on the TV but to be fair this is not an issue at all.

Overall i would give the hotel 10 out of 10, it offers the complete package. It is expensive but in my opinion it is worth every penny.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank Phil_Evo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 January 2009

after a lovely visit to this hotel in october both my husband and i decided to call again while we were in the area. we didnt have a reservation and were going to see if they had any rooms free. am i glad that we hadnt booked with them, from the moment we arrived i could not believe how in 8 weeks that the hotel had gone downhill. we were met at the door by a male staff member who had on a very dirty uniform( stains on front of jacket, trousers in need of a good press). we proceeded to reception and were met by a very abrupt male member of staff who wasnt very helpful- needless to say we decided not to stay. we went to have some lunch and waited so long for it that we decided to leave. i was so disappointed as we had a lovely time there before. another bad thing was that some of the cheery, friendly, helpful staff that were there seem to be no longer with the hotel. we left and went to the neighbouring hotel and had a lovely stay!!

Stayed: December 2008
9  Thank shazzDublin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 January 2009

Myself and a number of friends stayed there for the Gala Ball on New Years Eve. The Ball was to begin at 7 pm that evening so we arrived at 5.30 pm to check in. The first imprssion of the hotel was disappointing as the gravel driveway is full of potholes, which is something that could be easily rectified. At the check in desk the lady on the reception had a very poor grasp of the english language. She told us that we had no reservation which I contracdicted straight away as the package had been pre-paid. Then after further investigation our reservations were found only to be shown to our rooms to find that they had not been cleared and that they were also outside away from the hotel. When we booked the rooms we assumed they would be part of the hotel and not seperate from it. This was not descibed on the website or were we made aware of it when we booked it.
Then there was a flurry of staff trying to clean the rooms quickly, this was something that did not sit well with a member of our party that suffers from ocd.
Eventually after arguing with the manager we managed to secure a room in the hotel, which happened to be the presidential suite. This was apprieciated however it did take an hour to sort out and now we were late for the ball.
We enjoyed the ball however when we ordered breakfast to the room the next morning there wasnt enough cutlery or crockery sent with it which ment ringing the reception a number of times. While the manager was polite, had given another suite and free bottles of wine that evening as he said himself he couldnt give us back the time we were delayed by problems with the hotel. I can cope with problems that occur but I cannot tolerate careless staff and a laissez faire attitude.

I had hoped that this event would be stress free and would be enjoyable but from beginning to end he was blighted by problems that shouldnt occur in a 5 star hotel. I convinced my friends to travel for 2 hours and spend their money to stay ina place where the staff are careless and need to up their game. I wouldnt stay here again and will be taking business elsewhere and suggest others do likewise.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled with friends
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6  Thank dhkdesigns
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2009

My girlfriend and I have just returned from an overnight stay at the Solis Lough Eske Castle. We booked the hotel after reading the reviews on tripadvisor and I have to agree with many of the comments made. The hotel and grounds are superb but the food in the main restaurant and a few other minor issues took the shine off what would have been a great weekend. On arrival there was no concierge to greet us or take our luggage. On checking in, the receptionist failed to explain the facitity's or direct us to the bar, restaurant etc. Our room was very cold and when we asked for the heating to be turned on we were told it was on a timer. We were in room 107 which is just behind the reception area and we found this room to be very noisey. We could hear doors being slammed all afternoon and again the following morning, hardly the receipe for a relaxing weekend. On visiting the bar area we found that only one of the three log fires were alight, and obviously this area was full up. The last of our gripes was the food in the main restaurant. We found this to be below average for a five star hotel and we were later told by locals that the adjacent hotel, Harvey's Point, serve much better food. At the risk of sounding snoby we also felt there should be a dress code in the restaurant as many of the men were dressed in jeans and t-shirts.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank MrSeanMissEmma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Lough Eske Castle, a Solis Hotel & Spa

Address: Lough Eske, Donegal Town, Ireland
Region: Ireland > County Donegal > Donegal Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Romantic Hotel in Donegal Town
#3 Business Hotel in Donegal Town
#3 Family Hotel in Donegal Town
Price Range: £157 - £249 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Lough Eske Castle, a Solis Hotel & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 96
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Lough Eske Castle, a Solís Hotel & Spa is a historic castle dating to the 15th century and closely identified with the O'Donnell Clan, the founding fathers of Donegal. Set in a secluded storybook location within 43 acres of native woodland on the shores of Lough Eske with the dramatic Bluestack Mountains as a stunning backdrop, it is the ideal place to relax and experience superior hospitality and exceptional friendly service. Winner of the 'World's Best Luxury Country Hotel' title in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and topping 'My Guide Ireland's Top 10 Hotels in Ireland, this lovingly restored castle hotel blends its historic past with a dash of contemporary luxury where you can escape into a world of relaxed elegance. From the spa to the dining table to your beautifully appointed guestroom, we provide a truly accommodating environment where our dedication to the guest is thoughtful, reliable, consistent and complete - a place where superb service and superior amenities make every day here a perfect day. Step into Solís Lough Eske Castle, and you step into an imposing Tudor-baronial castle, lavishly refurbished in 2007 and extended to create the modern comforts and graceful luxury of a world class boutique hotel. With stunning views and easy access to the great outdoors, the natural, unspoiled landscape is as magnificent as the hotel itself. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lough Eske Castle Hotel Donegal Town
Solis Lough Eske Castle Donegal
Solis Lough Eske Castle Hotel

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