ESCAPING TO ADARE MANOR
If I had to compile a list of my favourite hotels I’ve ever stayed at, there’s no doubt that Adare Manor would feature highly. Top three even, but don’t make me pick out of favourites.
Adare Manor is a place of bucket list dreams and if you take nothing else away from this blog post, please take away this: you absolutely must visit at some time in your life.
Save up and go for a special occasion, you’ll be on cloud nine the entire time you’re there - I guarantee it’ll be one of the most magical stays you’ve ever had.
A few weeks back, Mum and I spent two magical days as guests of Adare Manor.
One of Ireland’s most luxurious privately owned hotels, Adare Manor is located on the banks of River Maigue in the village of Adare, County Limerick. Your nearest airport is Shannon, easily accessible from London and a short 25 minute drive from airport to hotel.
You don’t see Adare Manor straight away, entering the grounds first and spiralling through the trees until you’re greeted with quite the sight: the most glorious manor house.
Known as a calendar house (it has 365 windows and 52 chimneys), the manor will leave you speechless. A grey stone, majestic medieval figure with an extract of psalm 127:1 along the top of the house reading: “Except the Lord build the house, then labour is but lost that built it”.
The inside is something else too. Shall we?
If you’re thinking that this place might just be the cosiest ever, well, you’re right.
Elaborate fireplaces, velvet sofas and draping curtains, sink-into armchairs - you’ll be hard pushed to find a spot you’re not comfy in. The above images are just the hotel’s “reception room” for want of a better word. A perfect spot to play a board game, read a book, listen to the fire crackle away or chat away to the friendly staff. And when I say friendly staff, I mean it. Genuine warmth and friendliness oozes from them. Everyone we met treated us like royalty - as they do with all guests - and they were happy to chat at any time. And nothing was too much of a task. Service here was sublime.
THE dunraven stateroom
Our “room” at Adare Manor surpassed our expectations (in fact, if you want to have a swoon over the rooms then I strongly urge you to have a nosey here). We stayed in one of the hotel’s spectacular Dunraven Staterooms (previously the private apartments of the Earls of Dunraven and their families). Wonderfully spacious and thoughtfully designed, in-keeping with the grand history of the manor house. Beds are deeply comfortable (it’s actually hard to get up once you’re cocooned into the marshmallow of a duvet) and the en-suite bathroom is a thing of dreams - two sinks, a standalone bath, rainfall shower and views overlooking the grounds. If my bathroom at home looked like this one, you’d find me having an awful lot of baths.
FOOD & DRINK
First thing’s first: you will not go hungry - or thirsty - at Adare Manor.
In fact, you might not want to eat ever again after you leave because you will have eaten anything in your way during your stay. Where to begin?
Breakfast. Held in The Gallery in the manor house - apparently also the second longest room in Ireland. The buffet is one of the finest you’ll ever encounter with hot dishes made to order, in a room so grand and magical, you’d think you were at Hogwarts.
For a light tasty lunch, something sweet or just a cup of tea, there’s The Drawing Room. An ideal spot for a brief pause to soak up everything. The Drawing Room bathes in natural light thanks to it’s vast windows and the ceiling itself is adorned with gold leaf and original details of clustered shamrocks, which have been lovingly restored. Food is un-pretentious but polished (something which I would say describes Adare Manor quite well), I loved the chicken and kale salad so much, I ordered it twice during our stay. We also pigged out on the finest patisseries and fancies here. You have to. I’d be rude to The Drawing Room not to.
For a truly special evening meal, it has to be The Oak Room. I was a little nervous about our booking here before we went - the menu was fine dining fancy food, what if it was one of those restaurants that ended up going for pretentious food over real taste (something I find happens an awful lot - I like my food to taste good full stop)? But I needn’t have worried. The Oak Room was all kinds of splendid and special. Staff too were wonderfully warm yet impeccable. The food too - the creation of Head Chef Michael Tweedie and team - was sublime. We even went for one of our many courses in the kitchen with Michael talking us through tales of the kitchen. It truly was such a magical evening, we rolled back upstairs full to the brim and snoozy for a very good selection of grape juice…
Speaking of libations, for a pre or post dinner drink, head to The Tack Room. Once the servant’s hall - a common room of sorts where staff would eat and socialise - The Tack Room is now a place of snugness; a place to unwind. Rich leather, velvet furnishings, mood lighting and a kick-ass cocktail menu (I was told they too have a rather extensive collection of whiskey) make it a perfect space to stay until the wee hours of the morn’. Cocktails have been specially created by the hotel’s expert mixologist and if there’s not something on the menu that takes your fancy - don’t panic, just ask them to mix something up for you based on your likes. It’ll be as good as their ginormous olives that they serve up (and continue to bring if you ever get close to finishing) at the table.
Finally, if you fancy stretching your legs and - dare you think it - leave the Manor house, you can go a short distance to the art-deco inspired The Carriage House for lunch and/or dinner. We went here for both meals and at both times had a delicious meal (though I think the evening dinner was slightly better). As ever, staff are wonderful. The menu features locally farmed produce - and if you’re a meat eater, their Irish dry-aged beef is next level amazing! Paired with a beautiful glass of red and a side of naughty chips, you can’t go wrong. For lunch, go for something light - chances are you’ll still be feeling stuffed from the night before.
Of course, they don’t have just any spa at Adare Manor. Naturally, it’s a La Mer spa - the only one in the whole of the UK and Ireland.
A tranquil oasis of pampering and polishing goes on here and it’s every bit as luxurious as you imagine.
Being a huge lover of La Mer, I was in my element.
90 minutes of The La Mer Miracle Broth Facial lay ahead me as I arrived. Adorning a fluffy robe, I was led into the treatment room and had the crème de la crème of facials. Skin was massaged, soothed, hydrated and regenerated - thanks to a pure infusion of La Mer’s best kept secret: the Miracle Broth - leaving my face glowing and deeply hydrated.
Please please can this be my life every week?
THE lady caroline SUITE
Of course I had to have a nosey into one of the hotel’s Signature Suites. Behold the Lady Caroline Suite. Incase you wanted to know how the other other half live (the other half visit Adare Manor regularly and have a very good life, I imagine) then here’s a few cheeky snaps I took.
The Signature Suites come with plenty of space - every inch and corner impeccably thought out - and your own private butler. Imagine that.
I appreciate that you may want to stretch your legs a little during your stay. You do, of course, have the extensive grounds to wander but if you’re wanting to leave the boundaries of Adare Manor (a crazy thought, but you might just want to see what’s out there) then you can visit Adare village. Just a short walk from the manor.
The village is small but charming. There’s a spattering of shops and pubs that will do to have a peruse in. There’s even a boutique that clearly caters for the American clientele of Adare Manor as it looks like something out of the 80’s on Rodeo Drive, selling Oscar de la Renta and Erdem!
You don’t need much time here unless you’re planning a visit to the pub - as our driver said, “the good one is the pub in the middle”.
I was a guest of Adare Manor and was incredibly grateful to be invited to stay at such a magical hotel. Would I return?