Lodge Overview: The Culloden Property and Spa, Holywood, Northern Eire
Many people in the UK may view Northern Ireland as a pesky side issue in the never-ending Brexit discussions, but have they ever visited the scenic region? The Culloden Estate and Spa on the outskirts of Belfast is arguably an example of the best that Northern Ireland has to offer. It showcases tradition, sophistication and the unmistakable Irish welcome.
The hotel’s sumptuous decor is populated with exquisite antiques
Built on the gentle slopes of Holywood Hills and with sweeping views of Belfast Lough, you won’t be surprised to find it was built in 1876 as the official residence of the Bishops of Down. Fortunately, this heavenly place was made by the bishops and is only available to mortals for hotel stays. The location is unbeatable with 12 acres of palace gardens, but at the end of the garden there is a train station that will take you to central Belfast in less than 15 minutes. Belfast Airport is only three stops away.
The sumptuous decor inside is populated with exquisite antiques, all of which are tastefully arranged and don’t seem out of place on The Crown set. Burgundy walls and stained glass windows are standout features in the main reception area and grandiose drawing room, which is to be expected given the spiritual history of the venue. But there are also intimate details such as a cozy fireplace in the drawing room and an elegantly polished chess set.
All rooms and suites offer exceptional views of Belfast Lough or the immaculately landscaped grounds
What stands out about The Culloden is the number of suites they have and they are individually named even if you stay in one of the junior suites. Space is never a problem here, as the State Suites are all over 500 m². All categories give you exceptional views of Belfast Lough or the immaculately designed properties.
You would expect nothing less than the best toiletries here and they supply customers with exclusive ESPA products. And to add a personal touch, you also get a Hastings hotel duck. Nespresso machines are offered in all suites, while the king-size cloud beds from King Koil ensure a restful sleep.
Vesper is the hotel’s signature gourmet restaurant
There are two main options for hotel dining, Cultra Inn and Vespers. The former serves first-class gastropub classics, while the latter is the characteristic gourmet restaurant. Some restaurants pay lip service to origins, but at Culloden they actively promote it.
At the Cultra Inn, the golden, crunchy scampi I tried with chunky hand-cut fries came from Ireland of course. During their time at Vespers, they are even more specific: the lamb comes from the Morne Mountains and the beetroot salmon comes from Glenarm. In the current difficult economic environment, it is more important than ever to support local companies.
They have elegantly housed the Cultra Inn in a separate complex at the end of their garden so that the frivolity of the pubs does not affect the peace and quiet of the hotel guests. The wooden frame design with steel beams contributes to a more relaxed atmosphere. Vespers, on the other hand, is all about Gothic grandeur with the refined elegance of the surroundings that match the quality of the cuisine served.
The hotel has award-winning wellness facilities
The spa facilities have won numerous awards this year following a renovation. This includes a brand new linear vitality pool, a tylarium (a combination of sauna and steam room) and additional treatment rooms. They have spa treatments to cater for all needs, whether it is the golfer’s tonic to revive those tired limbs or maternity massages for expectant mothers, all done with quality ESPA products. And if you are concerned about the bad Irish weather they have heated massage tables to ensure maximum comfort during your treatment.
If you want to get out and about, there are endless options from Titanic Belfast to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, which is just five minutes from the hotel. You can take a Game of Thrones tour or enjoy the many breathtaking golf courses nearby. Rory McIlroy was born in nearby Holywood.
In a nutshell
Enjoy a royal stay at any time of the year in this magnificent establishment, which offers not only history, but also modern comfort. You may feel like you’re in the country, but it’s not far from central Belfast.
The Culloden Estate and Spa offers rooms from £ 100 per person with breakfast included.
Address: Bangor Rd, Holywood BT18 0EX
Phone: 028 9042 1066