StayNI: Lough Erne Resort

Sitting on the shores of the beautiful Lough Erne, the awesome location of the luxury 5 star Lough Erne resort is beautiful, calm and peaceful. This 9 year old hotel with the turrets, towers, golf course and cute little houses sits on a 600 acre peninsula in the heart of Fermanagh. Only 90 minutes drive from Belfast, it’s easily accessible by car and once you reach Enniskillen it’s well signposted.

We arrived on a Monday afternoon for a midweek/earlyweek break with spa treatments and meals already booked for our one night stay.

Stepping into the hotel was entirely different than our expectation. We imagined, with a 9 year old hotel, something contemporary and modern, but our eyes met dark wood panelling, chandeliers and generally a mock country house hotel. It was charming, if unexpected.

Our room wasn’t quite ready, but we didn’t really have time to go to a room anyway, as pre booked spa treatments awaited.

The Thai Spa in Lough Erne Resort enjoys beautiful views, from their relaxation areas, over Castle Hume Lough. Once you are in the treatment area of the Spa, you can make use of the sauna, steam room and rain shower before and after a treatment. I was due to have a traditional Thai Massage but opted out at the last minute. After a brief chat with the therapist we agreed that due to a musculoskeletal condition that maybe a Thai Massage wasn’t the right treatment for me. So a regular deep tissue massage it was then. My treatment room was huge and very luxurious. As always, feeling those knots being massaged out was painful, but the end result was a chilled out customer! Bliss!

Elsewhere in the Spa complex, hotel guests can use the infinity pool, sauna, steam room and Whirlpool. And with Espa products used throughout the Spa area you leave smelling great and feeling relaxed.

Back at reception, we collected our room keys and were taken up to our room, where our luggage had already been delivered and coats hung up. We had been upgraded to a huge circular suite at the top of a turret directly above the spa area. What a room, it was huge, and what a view from the huge expanse of windows around the turret.

Later that evening, before dinner, we checked out the bar for a quick drink. It’s a five star hotel, so expect (almost) 5 star prices, my cocktail was £9.95.

Dinner in the Catalina Restaurant was the biggest surprise. The waiting staff were exceptional and knew the menu well. I took on board the recommendation for the Thornhill Duck main course and enjoyed probably the best main course I’ve ever eaten, EVER!

Everything else about the meal was perfect, and flawless, but that Roast Duck Breast with roasted artichoke & purée, black garlic, blackberry and buckthorn gel, fermented blackberry, toasted hazelnut and thyme jus was an experience I’d certainly be happy to make the journey to enjoy again… even just for that one main course. 

Interestingly and with perfect timing, I received this email the following week,
‘The title of ‘Hotel Restaurant of the Year 2016’, which was sponsored by Stephens Catering, went to Lough Erne Resort, where the dining experience was described as “a faultless evening with local ingredients taking centre stage”. Lough Erne also secured the Best Main Course category and the Best Service awards on the night with Chef Andrew McKee and Lee Brunt worthy winners.’

Worthy winners indeed!

The following morning after our made to order breakfast, we headed out for a walk around the grounds. Standing on the boardwalk which snakes over the Lough, we looked back at the sprawling resort and talked about that evening meal. And here I am a few weeks later, still telling people about it, even when I met Lough Erne resort chef, Noel McMeel at another event. I fear I may have looked like a crazed fanboy when telling him.. oopsy!

If you need ideas for a Christmas gift. Maybe consider Lough Erne Resort and someone could be enjoying a relaxing stay in a beautiful setting with great food. Or maybe just treat yourself to a staycation.

Hotel Restaurant of the Year 2016, sponsored by Stephens Catering, is Lough Erne Resort & Spa. Compere Pamela Ballantine congratulates the team – Andrew McKee (left), winner of the ‘Best Main Course’ category and Lee Brunt (right), winner of the ‘Best Service’ category.

Post Author: Belfast Times

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