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“A home from home- except waaay bigger!”

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Lough Eske Castle, a Solis Hotel & Spa
Ranked #2 of 7 Hotels in Donegal Town
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 10, 2008

We were in the lucky position that we had won vouchers to stay here so we stayed two nights for b&b. This place would be out of our price range normally. However, I can see why it costs €175 a night. Previous reviewers have told you all. Huge room, huge bed, huge bathroom and nice little extras like a filter coffee pot etc. As parents we were given some nice extras like they had left out a baby bath and some nappy bags for us. A very thoughtful idea. We were worried that we would stick out like a sore thumb with a toddler but there were 3 or 4 other kids there and we were made very welcome. The staff were lovely and professional but warm also. The meals were good but pricy. This is definitely a romantic place to go and even my husband and I got a sense of
it despite the little fella!

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled with family
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Thank Dublinmama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,344 - 2,350 of 2,454 reviews

Reviewed November 5, 2008

We really enjoyed our stay in Solis, even though it was raining and weather was slighty miserable it was a very relaxing stay in a fantastic hotel. We firstly enjoyed a couple of drinks in their very relaxing bar which for a nice change doesn't have music or blaring tv. The dining room for dinner was very nice. A recommendation, if booking dinner try and reserve one of the booths which give a nice intimate experience. Food was excellent, service was really good and can recommend the bio white wine which was very good value. The only slight negative about our stay was the breakfast. Although food in the buffet was nice, expected something a bit more special for a 5 star. Unfortunately didn't read some of the other reviews that there was a breakfast menu as we didn't see one or were offered. Though I wouldn't have agreed with paying €15 extra for an omelette.
The pool was extremely nice, all mosaic tiles though you are on view for those walking by outside.
Best part of the stay was the fantastic room we were in which is one of the biggest we've had in a hotel in Ireland.
Stay was slightly more than we'd usually pay but for the experience was worth it. Think we'll be back after the credit crunch!

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank gallaron
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 20, 2008

We stayed at Lough Eske Castle with our friends on weekend of 10-12 October 2008. The hotel is stunning set in fabulous grounds.

We arrived in the evening and it is a bit of a Wow! There is plenty of car parking. Check in was very efficient and we were given two fabulous rooms in the same wing of the hotel. The rooms are outstanding, four poster beds, sitting area, patio doors to the hotel grounds. The bathrooms are amazing, huge with fabulous interior design. There are all the extras you expect in a 5 star hotel tea, coffee, biscuits, etc., iron, hair dryer, fab toiletries, bathrobe, slippers. The rooms and hotel in general are spottless.

The hotel interior is very grand and very stylish and I imagine in keeping with a castle's interior! Lots of areas to sit in. Two bars The Oak and The Terrace (on the Saturday there was an Irish folk group playing which made for a great atmosphere in the Oak Bar). There is also a lounge area and a library area. We went for walks around the hotel, lots of paths with beautiful sculptures dotted around the gardens.

The only negative is the service at breakfast and at dinner in the restaurant - we are hoping this is only a teething problem and as the hotel becomes more established will be rectified.

We never used the spa but it did look good.

Overall we had a fabulous weekend, yes it is expensive, but if you are looking for a relaxing weekend in fab surroundings I would highly recommend Lough Eske Castle. Up there with the best hotels in Ireland. We will definitely be back!

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank PaulaBelfast
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 13, 2008

We had a very enjoyable stay at this hotel. As regards decor, fixtures and fittings and facilitates throughout the hotel I could not find fault. I loved everything about this hotel from that point of view. A few other comments though on the service which I feel could be easily fixed. A shoe polish was offered to residence, however the first night my shoes were not taken at all, the second night I left them out I phoned in advance to tell housekeeping!, however I could not make up my mind the following morning if they had been polished or not. This was in stark contrast to my experience when I availed of the same service at the Four Seasons in Dublin where I was left wondering had they returned the same shoes or a completely new pair!
I was there on a dinner bed and breakfast package, the dinner menu under the package was very restricted compared to the al a carte and the same menu was given to us the second night we ate in the restaurant. We also went for dinner at the nearby Harvey’s point hotel. Dinner at Harvey’s point was much better in my view but the decor at the Castle hotel was nicer and I much preferred dining at the Castle hotel. One thing I can not excuse at the Castle hotel was the use of a desert spoon instead of a soup spoon, a fatal flaw. I avoided ordering the soup the second night because of this however this only left me with the sorbet.
Another 'unusual' thing about this hotel was the arrangement for breakfast. At the weekend the full Irish breakfast was available at the buffet, however the group at the table next to me ordered pancakes which was no problem ( too late for me as I did not know they were available, no menu etc provided) . The second morning the full Irish breakfast was available as a buffet style, the lady at the table next to me asked for an omelette but unfortunately chef was very busy and it could not be done, she was told. The third morning a menu was provided and we could have had anything we liked from pancakes to fish but at a supplement of between 12-25 euros. This is not good for a 5 star hotel. I must add that the quality of the food at breakfast and the variety at the buffet etc was excellent but I don’t understand the inconsistency regarding what one could/could not have on any given morning.
The pool is beautiful at this hotel, always seemed to be very quiet, beautiful towels and elemis products were and added bonus.
When I booked this hotel (on the day I was arriving) I asked for a lake view room. I was told by reservations that she did not allocate the rooms and she would pass on my request to reception. For anyone who intends to do the same, there are no lake view rooms!!
Overall I did enjoy my stay, I did feel like I was staying in a five star hotel but with four star service I am sorry to say.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled with family
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Thank ..xxx......xxx9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2008

My husband and I went here for our wedding anniversary and from the check in to check out everything was amazing. The room was so luxurious-with thee most amazing bed!! The bathroom was top of the range with a great selection of products. On arrival we were shown our room and a few minutes later the manager came back with a plate of goodies - see pics! Our meal in the restaurant was outstanding-the staff were so attentive without being intrustive. The breakfast was also fab! fresh smoothies, croissants, etc. The gym is great for a workout and the spa looked fantastic too. - didn't have time for the use of it-unfortunately! The grounds are lovely and at night the entire castle has the wow factor. I cannot wait to stay here again-it ruins me for any other hotel I'm gonna stay in as this was the most superb place I've ever been too!

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank julesthereader
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2008

My wife and I stayed at Solis Lough Eske Castle for a weekend break at the end of September 08 having never heard of the property before seeing it had good reviews on Trip Advisor.

We paid €175/night for 2 nights with a 3rd night free (for a standard room) - unfortunately we couldn't stay the 3rd night due to work on Monday morning so used the extra night to have a very late check out around 9pm on the Sunday evening instead.

The main part of the hotel is a restored castle, with various (tasteful) extensions to the original main castle building holding the majority of the rooms. The buildings themselves are set in woodland with a long winding drive through the trees along the edge of the lough taking you from the road to the hotel. There's a grave with a large celtic cross just off the main drive to the left as you drive in, reasonably close to the main road end that's worth a look. The grounds are decorated with various animal sculptures such as deer, a dragon, and the centrepiece salmon fountain outside the main entrance door. If you've a spare £45,000 or so, you can even commission a dragon of your own to take home from the sculptor (details in the rooms).

We were in a standard room - 224 on the 1st floor - there were only 2 floors for the majority of the building with various lifts between them. It was a long walk to the room from reception but this wasn't really an issue as there was a rear door close to the room and a rear car park just outside. Our room was in a little side passage off the main corridor and was very large, very well decorated and very quiet. The bathroom was huge - a little bigger than our spare bedroom at home with a bath, 2 sinks, an excellent large shower cubical with the biggest shower head I've experienced anywhere, and the toilet which was in its own compartment behind a glass door. There was also a dresser unit in the bathroom.

The bed was large and very comfortable, as were the "easy" chairs and sofa, and the room also had a large walk-in cupboard (which is where you'll find your dressing gowns and slippers).

There was turndown service each evening where, apart from the standard folding back of the bedclothes and leaving of chocolates, the room was tidied and cleaned again, used towels refolded, tea & coffee tray left out, lights on dim, and the ice bucket filled. The room itself and the bathroom were very clean.

The only negative points about the room are that the TV reception isn't great on some channels, and on the Friday night, the fire alarm sounded several times for 3 or 4 "blasts" over the period of about an hour between 4am and 5am. I called reception and was told there was a system fault and they were in contact with an engineer to have the system reset. The following morning at breakfast, the waitress asked if we'd slept well, and was very apologetic when we mentioned the alarm, as was the receptionist when I called. Guess this was outside their control and just unfortunate.

Breakfast on the Saturday morning was good. We were seated quickly and the food was good. On the Sunday morning, there was a huge queue of 20 people or so in front of us. It took almost half an hour to be seated and everything seemed to have run out, so the experience wasn't good at all. New food arrived in dribs and drabs but I'd have preferred by orange juice with the hot food rather than 10 mins after, for example, and the hot food required 2 visits as half the stuff was empty first time. Therefore, I'd advise against leaving breakfast until 10:45 (finishes at 11) on a Sunday morning as they don't seem to be able to cope well with a crowd arriving at the last minute.

We ate in Donegal Town for all lunch/dinner meals except Sat evening. We tried bookign a table in the restaurant on the Sat evening and were told at around 4pm that 7-8pm wasn't available and 9:45pm was all they had, so we are in the Oak Bar instead. The food was very expensive and not particularly plentiful, but what we did get was nice. The dessert priced at €12 was definitely a rip off (and the lemon tart with coconut ice cream I ordered actually came with raspberry sorbet!). €92 for 2 main courses, 2 desserts and 2 drinks was a lot to pay for what we got.

My wife used the spa for a couple of treatments and said it was very good. A little more expensive than the local place at home, but worth the extra I'm told!

All the staff were very helpful & friendly, and strangely enough for a typical hotel, the vast majority were local too.

There are a multitide of areas to sit and have a quiet drink, from the 2 bar areas themselves, to various drawing rooms, a well stocked library, a room with a pool table, etc, some with open fires, others with candles.

Overall, other than the fire alarm, the food experiences were a little disappointing but everything else was great. We'd a lovely relaxing weekend and will definitely return at some point, but will probably eat in Donegal Town for all but the breakfast if there again.

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank PaulMulvenna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2008

I recently stayed in the Lough Eske Castle Hotel and can summarise my stay with the word stunning.

The Hotel itself is approached via a long, winding drive from the main gates through mature woodland and the exterior of the main building looks like something off of a Disney stage set.

We were met at the door by a friendly member of staff who led us to reception and then to our room. The standard room was very large indeed with french windows opening onto the gardens. The quality and finish was beyond compare.

Dining in the restaurant, the food was of a high standard and not excessively expensive. Service was very attentive. However, I did find bar snacks pricey and of dubious quality. Another reviewer commented on quality of TV reception in rooms, I found it poor also.

All in all, beyond the Disney exterior, this is a modern Hotel which exudes quality. Our room cost e175 - which represented exceptional value (particularly when compared to the nearby Harvey's Point ate320 for a standard room) - was flawless, as indeed was our stay on the whole.

You know, I always liked Disney films.....

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Paul S
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
Location: Ireland > County Donegal > Donegal Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center 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 Family Hotel in Donegal Town
#3 Business Hotel in Donegal Town
Price Range: $216 - $348 (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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