Relaxation can be further had in the hotel’s spa. This outstanding relaxation space has a warmer than warm round pool, hot tub, marble steam room, large gym and treatment rooms offering head to toe pampering via massages or beauty treatments.
My mother and I willed away a good few hours in the pool, only coming out to have a refreshing healthy drink from the Zest Juice Bar. The aforementioned gym was impressive too. It had all the equipment needed to function as a gym as opposed to a health centre which can be small and lack decent sized weights. I was quite in my element during my morning workouts as prescribed by my trainer.
Fine dining can be found in the Mitre restaurant with its equally fine views overlooking the gardens and the Lough. The hotel is passionate about food and it was this that helped the restaurant scoop a Good Food Ireland award in 2011. With the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink, the restaurant, under the watchful eye of Chef Paul McKnight, continued preparing nourishing and mouth watering dishes including duck, Aberdeen Angus beef, venison and salmon. It also offers intensive vegetarian options for all courses.
One thing of note was the service. It was attentive and polite without being overbearing, and the discreet staff ensured our glasses were never empty.
Those wishing to dine informally can take a little trip to the Cultra Inn which is situated within the grounds. Ironically, once a church, this cosy little place offers more informal brasserie-style dining. You can also pop in for a drink during the day as I did both before and after venturing into the city from the train station at the bottom of the gardens.
Breakfast really hits the spot here with its array of buffet offerings including homemade apple and cinnamon muffins which my mum assured me were one of the best she ever had. I personally can vouch for the full Irish vegetarian breakfast. It was so filling it helped fuel me until early evening. Although I must admit directly afterwards, I had to lay semi-horizontally in front of the marble fireplace for having overdone it.
If it’s a restful spa you are after in the bosom of a classical old world charm of a hotel in an unbeatable setting, then this really is it. There’s nowhere better to feel pampered and refreshed.
Culloden Estate and Spa – Where and How?
Culloden Estate and Spa is located at 142 Bangor Rd, Holywood BT18 0EX (Northern Ireland). For more information, or to make a reservation, call 028 9042 1066 or visit www.hastingshotels.com
Double rooms are available from £120 in low season, rising to £280 during high season including breakfast.
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