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Solís Lough Eske Castle, Donegal Town, County Donegal 

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Donegal Town , County Donegal
Tel: 353 74 972 5100
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From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:

Many castles have been spoiled by bland hotel makeovers, so it is a relief to find that the new luxury brand Solís has done a stylish upgrade of this magnificent building, which dates from the fifteenth century and is surrounded by 43 woodland acres. The atmosphere is informal (you park your car, but a doorman will help with luggage) and the interiors lavish without being intimidating. A high number of friendly Irish staff are on hand to offer swift assistance. Most of the hotel's 96 rooms and suites are in a fine new addition to the rear of the hotel, enjoying views of quiet gardens. Rooms are large but cozy, done in oatmeal hues and dark wood with huge beds, thick carpets, and coffee-table books illustrating the fast-disappearing culture of the Gaeltacht; one can enjoy reading these while drinking organic Brazilian coffee. Despite a few early teething problems—room thermostats were set too high, and the food in the restaurant failed to match its sumptuous surroundings—there is still much to look forward to here: The wonderfully atmospheric Gallery Bar, with its soaring ceilings, and the comfortable reading rooms are reason enough for a visit.

—2008 Hot List

When to go: The snug interiors and spa make a delicious escape from the howling wind and rain of winter, but go in summer to take full advantage of outdoor activities.

Which room to book: One of the two rooms or the two-bedroom suite in the old castle, which are more atmospheric and enjoy grand views of the garden.

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Solis Lough Eske is not a "magnificent building, which dates from the fifteenth century" - it is just the facade of an old castle with a totally new... more