Over Christmas we made the decision to spend a night at the Aghadoe Heights, an excellent five-star base in a spectacular setting amid the lakes of Killarney. We had another hotel booked but the price was €450 for a night! We paid €161 for the Aghadoe which was amazing value and we left feeling satisfied and refreshed. We were on our way to Dingle for Christmas and my wife and I decided to treat ourselves with a night away. We were very much relaxing so I only took a few pictures on my phone so excuse the stock photos included also!
Read on to learn more about this hidden gem just outside of Killarney.
Affordable 5 Star Luxury Ireland Getaway
As the name suggests, Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa is perched on a hilltop site and has stunning views of Lough Leane, Killarney National Park, nearby Killarney town and the peaks of the Macgillycuddys Reeks, the latter of which form Ireland’s highest mountain range. The view from our room was absolutely breathtaking. Killarney may be far-flung from Dublin, but it’s also very networked: avail of the hotel’s free shuttle into town (10 minutes’ drive), or use one of the hop-on, hop-off tourist buses that pass at intervals by the front door. The weather was standard Irish Winter – Mild, Damp & Grey but not even that could dampen the view from our room on waking up the morning after staying – imagine what this view would be like with the sun out!
There’s a vast range of tours and excursions available locally (the hotel can advise), so you won’t even need your own wheels to explore this glorious area. Be warned though, December is a very quiet month in the west of Ireland, many restaurants in Dingle are closed at this time of year but Killarney still had plenty of life in it. The hotel was around a 4 hour drive from Dublin, taking it pretty easy and it’s a very manageable drive with the motorway. It’s also a handy drive from Cork. The suite which we got allocated was absolutely stunning, and massive! There was a seperate living room, dining room & Kitchen with a balcony the full size of the suite. The bedroom was very impressive and the staff had left some nice treats for our Anniversary – much appreciated and a lovely touch.
The Aghadoe Suite
The bathroom had a Jacuzzi bath, rain shower and Voya products which exude luxury. Again the bathroom in the suite was very impressive and what I particularly like was the careful lighting through the Suite, it really added to the air of luxury of the room and although a small touch, added a lot to really feeling like we were staying in a 5 star Hotel.
Airy, smart, tasteful. Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa is pleasant and sleek: think earthy, tweedy colours, an assemblage of striking modern art, great banks of windows, and a flood of light and views. It’s all very agreeable without being too bland and the hotel knows how to keep its look quiet in order not to distract from the wonderful surrounding landscapes. The hotel is a little tired in places and the rooms are being renovated on a rolling basis. We got an upgrade to the Aghadoe Suite and I have to say, it blew us away! It was the perfect way to start the festive season and the suite was absolutely fantastic.
The Food at The Aghadoe Heights Hotel
The staff at the Aghadoe Heights Hotel were fantastic, we wanted to Restaurant menu but to sit in the bar (it was December 22nd and quite quiet) as we wanted to enjoy some atmosphere. The Guinness was also fantastic! I was really impressed with the quality of the food, we weren’t looking for heavy, stodgy bar food but wanted something 5 Star and what we got was certainly that, I got a perfectly cooked steak and my wife had some lovely Venison. There’s also a very good wine selection and we got a lovely bottle of Merlot. The desert options were very good and we got our selection sent to the room with some tea & coffee, nothing was too much for the staff and the barman was very conversational without being intrusive.
Fine Dining at the Aghadoe
County Kerry knows how to ‘do’ tourism and Aghadoe is no exception: service is professional, naturally, but also warm, welcoming, informal – very pleasant indeed. Plenty of local information and tips are available, just ask. Excellent facilities include nicely landscaped grounds, ample parking, golf, tennis, and a full leisure suite including pool, whirlpool, sauna and gym. In particular, don’t miss the exceptional spa, which is beautifully finished and comes with a full range of treatments.
Turndown service, air-conditioning, room service, fluffy bathrobes and slippers, and smart modern bathrooms with power showers come as standard. Upgrade for such extras as mineral water and extra-spacious marble bathrooms. Standard rooms look across the Kerry countryside but you’ll need to upgrade for lake and mountain views.
Sample the Lake Room for fine dining with a view. It’s a beautiful, comfortable space and the cooking is smart too: try the locally landed mackerel, with luxurious turbot to follow and do request a window table. Breakfast is served here and comprises a fine à la carte selection, with gluten-free and fresh options available (try the porridge laced with a drop of Dingle whiskey cream). The relaxed and comfortable Heights lounge and bar lies a floor below, and here you’ll find snacks and more substantial dishes plus a gracious Afternoon Tea at a keenly priced €29.50 (£26). The cheery Terrace bar, meanwhile, is good for Guinness and some sports on the big screen.
The facilities at the hotel include:
The Spa at the Aghadoe Heights Hotel
The Spa was priced as you’d expect from a five star hotel, between my wife and I we got three treatments and the bill was around €300. The Spa itself is probably the most recently renovated aspect of the hotel and is absolutely perfect. The treatments were sensational (I feel asleep..) and the facilities afterwards to relax in were very much 5 Star and what you’d expect – hydro pool, sauna, heated loungers etc.
So the night’s accommodation, dinner for two, and Spa treatments came to around €600 and it was worth every penny. As mentioned, the Hotel looks a little tired from the outside and in places around the building but if you’re visiting Kerry and want a comfortable, friendly, good value hotel as a base then we certainly recommend the Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa.
Double rooms from €189 in low season; and from €259 in high. Breakfast included. Free Wi-Fi.