Head to a city for a stylish, buzzing bar staffed by expert mixologists or take in the Victorian splendour of Belfast’s gilded age. In the countryside, curl up in a four-poster bed, stroll the grounds of a former palace or practice your swing at a lavish golf resort – whatever you’re looking for in Northern Ireland, we’ve got a 5-star hotel for you.
From urban style to rural bliss: 5-star hotels in Northern Ireland
City centre grandeur at a 5-star hotel in Northern Ireland
Converted from an 1850s bank, the opulent decor of the Merchant Hotel spans the ages, from Victorian grandeur to Art Deco elegance with touches of modern flair.
Choose a room with original details, velvet throws and antique furnishings that evoke the 19th century, or go for a chic 1920s look with sleek reflective details, design classics like the Corbusier chair and Carrara marble bathrooms featuring Hollywood-style mirrors. Take a soak in your freestanding bathtub, wrap up in a fluffy robe and slippers and lie on the king-sized bed: blackout blinds will help you get a deep, restful sleep.
The bars and restaurants at the hotel are equally refined. The Great Room Restaurant resembles a majestic ballroom thanks to its original interior with glass cupola, lavish gilding and imposing chandelier. The nine-course tasting menu ensures the food isn’t overshadowed, with stylish dishes such as trout with avocado puree and beef fillet with truffle and mushroom tart.
There’s a choice of four bars for a nightcap, from the warm, friendly pub the Cloth Ear to the elegant champagne lounge. Catch some cool tunes at Berts Jazz Bar or settle into velvet seats under antique chandeliers in the cocktail bar. Try a cocktail like the Finn McCool, with vodka, bitters, passionfruit cordial, lemon and tonic water.
Recovering from late nights is easy with the on-site spa, a peaceful haven in the centre of lively Belfast. Gentle lighting and calming sounds lull you into tranquillity as Balinese stones bathed in Frangipani Monoi body oil soothe your muscles in an Aroma Hot Stone Massage. Bask in the invigorating heat of the traditional wood-lined sauna, clear your mind in the scented steam of the Aroma Room or relax in the hydro-pool as jets of water massage your body.
The Merchant Hotel
Modern boutique style at a 5-star hotel in Northern Ireland
In the beating heart of the city, the refined Fitzwilliam Hotel is all about style. You notice it from the moment you step into one of the sleek, ultra-modern rooms, with its soft carpets in geometric designs, feature mirrors and mosaic-tiled bathrooms.
Upgrade to a signature room and soak your cares away in the rainfall shower before wrapping up in your complimentary robe and slippers and sinking into the super king-sized bed. Or choose a suite where you can linger over the newspapers in your plush private sitting area or soak in the freestanding bath.
Make your next stop the restaurant, which combines creative fine dining with vibrant contemporary design. Settle into an intimate, red leather booth surrounded by blond wood and warm lighting. Dishes use local produce to create bold flavours with delicate presentation: expect creations such as potted crab from Kilkeel with local scampi, confit tomato and compressed fennel or a deconstructed lemon meringue cheesecake.
Round off the evening with a nightcap at the hotel bar. Luxurious dark wood, intimate booths and hip copper accents create a lively and elegant environment. Expert mixologists can craft you an innovative cocktail in real crystal glasses: try a Bluebell, with vodka, blueberry Juice, cinnamon syrup and lemon juice, or a warming Honey Mackinnon, combining Drambuie, lemon juice, honey and ginger, topped with smoky Laphroaig whiskey.
If you’ve got an appetite for more nightlife, Belfast city centre is on your doorstep. Pop to the Grand Opera House next door for musicals, comedy and dance, stroll to the Harp Bar for some live music or head to Apartment where you can sip prosecco while floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of the grand Belfast City Hall.
The Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast
Sport and spa treatments at a 5-star hotel in Northern Ireland
It may be next to two 18-hole championship courses, but Lough Erne Resort isn’t just for golf lovers. After practising your swing on a course designed by Sir Nick Faldo and overlooking the waters of Lough Erne, head to the spa. Taking inspiration from Thailand, it’s decorated with peaceful buddhas, billowing drapes and touches of red and gold. Views over the sparkling Castle Hume Lough add to the serene feel.
Start your day of relaxation by diving into the infinity pool or head to the softly lit treatment room. There you can try a radiance renewing facial with Elemis Biotec products or a personalised aromatherapy massage designed to de-stress or energise you.
Whether you’ve been in the pool or on the fairways, you’ll be ready for the local, seasonal food in the hotel’s three restaurants. At the Loughside Bar & Grill, you can savour Irish meats seared to perfection on a terrace overlooking the greens and lakes. For an eclectic mix of pub classics and international dishes, stop by the Blaney Bar.
The jewel in the crown is the 3 AA rosette-winning Catalina Restaurant, where tall french windows look out onto the lake, crisp white linen covers the tables and seasonal ingredients are transformed into elegant and indulgent dishes. Expect creations such as duck with artichoke puree, blackberries, hazelnuts and thyme jus.
Rooms are decorated in Irish country-estate style with a soothing autumnal palette, a rainfall shower and a freestanding clawfoot bathtub. Upgrade to a Faldo suite and wake up in a king-sized four-poster bed. For a restful morning, soak in your own Jacuzzi bathtub and gaze on views of Castle Hume Lough from your private balcony. The hotel even provides you with binoculars for birdwatching.
Lough Erne Resort
Palatial splendour at a 5-star hotel in Northern Ireland
Perched on the top of the rolling Holywood Hills, you’ll find the stately Culloden Estate and Spa, which was once a palace for the bishops of Down. It’s nestled within 12 acres of secluded gardens and woodland, providing the ideal opportunity for quiet and reflective country walks.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to the Cultra Inn for pub classics like Irish scampi by the fireside, or take a table at the Mitre restaurant. The gothic dining room, decked out in tones of gold and green, serves elegant gourmet dishes alongside views of Belfast Lough. Expect flavour combinations such as king scallops with mango and crispy cod skin, or halloumi tempura with sweet potato.
There’s more indulgence on offer in the spa, which combines the latest ESPA treatments with time-honoured holistic therapies to revitalise your body and spirit. The spa is a haven of dark wood, soft lamplight and restful, earthy tones.
Start by taking a dip in the pool or relaxing your muscles in the sauna. Then try a Total Body Bliss therapy, which begins by exfoliating your skin to reveal a healthy, glowing layer beneath before nourishing it with a marine mud wrap. The treatment is complete after a stress-relieving scalp rub and an aromatherapy massage.
Fully relaxed, retire to your room, which looks out across the manicured gardens or over Belfast Lough. Plush carpets, dark wood and a palette of neutral tones with accents of gold and blue create an elegant ambience. After a sound night’s sleep in your king-sized bed, start your day with a soak in the freestanding tub in your marble bathroom. Complimentary ESPA products add a luxurious touch.