Over the past one hundred years, Culloden Estate & Spa has been Northern Ireland’s most prestigious hotel and the perfect rural retreat! It has the added advantage of being just five miles away from Belfast’s city centre. Just to tell you a short story, at the end of the 19th Century, Culloden House came to be the official residence of the Church of Ireland’s Bishop and was known as the Bishop’s Palace. Over the course of year, the estate was bought by the Hastings family and transformed into a beautiful hotel, which should be on everyone’s list when visiting N. Ireland.
During the first evening we had a lovely dinner in the garden while discovering the estate and the views overlooking the bay! I was actually stopping every 5 meters, taking different photos and telling everyone how beautiful the views are! Now looking back, I understand why my heart was stopping every time I was discovering a new panorama – the views offered me a strong feeling of tranquility.
What is better than wearing an all white suit for a dinner in a 19th century estate?
The highlight of the evening was the fresh grilled shrimps (yummy). As the weather is quite unpredictable in Northern Ireland, the rain started all of the sudden and we all snugged underneath the event tent on the estate’s grounds, sipping champagne and enjoying the beautiful rainy view. Covered with three blankets, I have enjoyed the dinner and the drinks until late in the evening. The full moon and the gothic appearance of the castle send me back in the Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde novels mood!
Such a lovely view! While I am seeing again the photos, I am reliving the beauty of the surroundings!
After a long and peaceful sleep far away from noisy London, I woke up fresh and serene for another perfect day in Northern Ireland! The second day started in style – breakfast & spa! Before loosing my senses in the beautiful Culloden Spa, I had a Tete a tete coffee with the view (and with my long list of emails – but this is not glamorous enough to emphasise in my N.Ireland diary).
The Spa time was fabulous! The Culloden Spa uses only ESPA products, which are my absolute favourites when it comes to oils and creams for massages! I have tried out the new relaxing massage which incorporates in the beginning an inhaling technique – you need to breath in and out for three times a de-stress oil which makes you fall asleep easily and relaxes your body muscles. 60 minutes later I woke up fresh, ready for a splendid garden party!
The main focus of my trip was to honour the invitation of the Culloden Hotel to a lovely garden party announcing the completion of their property renovation as well as the 50th anniversary of the Culloden as the first Hastings Hotel property. The garden was filled with picnic baskets and blankets overlooking the bay and the atmosphere was so lovely! During the Garden party we had a tour of the grounds learning some lovely anecdotes regarding the estate and its past owners.
My morning and evening routine was in the Mitre Restaurant, where I was spoiled with breathtaking views over Belfast Lough! The Restaurant is known as one of the finest restaurants in Northern Ireland and I must say that it serves modern Irish Cuisine using the finest and freshest local products. The next time you are around, you should defiantly try out the fresh oysters, meat and vegetables – all locally produced! One of the evenings, I have tried out the Chef’s tasting dinner menu – a selection of the chef’s favourites! I must confess that it was for the first time when I tried black pudding – and I loved it! I have enjoyed not only the Mitre Restaurant but also the famous The Cultra Inn, a bar and bistro on the grounds of the Estate – perfect for a tasty lunch or a glass of wine by the fireside – and also the hotel bar! As a quick anecdote, the hotel bar once was the Bishops’ chapel!
The Culloden Estate &Spa is a must destination for your next trip to Northern Ireland – the gothic vibe and the views will make you want to come back over and over again! Also, the hotel is quite close to the golf and yacht clubs, which are just around the corner of the estate! The rest of my time in the hotel, I spend it in the lounge playing chess by the fire place while enjoying some lovely wine from the bar’s collection!
Hastings Hotels (hastingshotels.com, 028 9042 1066) offer nightly
rates at The Culloden Estate & Spa from £125 per person on a B&B basis.
I hope you enjoyed my Photo Diary from the Northern Ireland trip to Culloden !