Ireland

Top hotels in Newcastle County Down for a blissful Northern Irish retreat

Experience the magic of Northern Ireland with our pick of hotels in Newcastle County Down.

Surrounded by the wild and rugged beauty of the Irish coast, you’ll start to relax under the serene influence of nature before you even arrive at the hotel. With local produce on the menu, cosy bars and sea-salt and aromatherapy based treatments, staying in one of these hotels is a truly indulgent experience.

We’ve rounded up six of our favourite places to stay near this popular Victorian seaside town, from quintessentially Irish bolt holes nestled between working farms to upmarket spa resorts overlooking Newcastle’s stretch of sandy shore.

Watch the waves crash upon the rocks from your seaside hotel in Newcastle, County Down

Sandwiched between the towering Mourne Mountains and the golden sands of Newcastle Bay, you’ll find the majestic Slieve Donard Hotel and Spa. It’s set in 6 acres of sweeping parkland and adjoins a world-famous golf course, tinged with colour from purple heather and golden gorse. Drop your luggage in your spacious Resort Room, decorated in ivory and warm earth tones, before exploring this turreted Scottish baronial style building with its roaring fires and elegant, glass-domed entrance hall. Afterwards, stroll to the Percy French Inn, which sits at the edge of the well-maintained grounds and offers views across the powerful swell of the Irish Sea.

Watch the firelight dance off the walls in the oak-panelled restaurant as you linger over the fine-dining menu – it features much-loved local delicacies, such as seared rumps of Binnian lamb and cannons of Mourne beef fillet. Don’t miss the opportunity for a whiskey nightcap at Chaplin’s Bar. A golden dram provides a gentle conclusion to a whirlwind day spent amid the grey granite tors and whitewashed farming cottages of one of Northern Ireland’s most awe-inspiring landscapes.

With floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a wild Irish beach, the Spa at Slieve Donard provides an enthralling escape. Cast your eye across the golden sand of the beach, from the warm waters of the hydrotherapy pool, before rebalancing mind, body and soul in one of the 16 treatment rooms. For a truly indulgent experience, book a Celtic Journey, which begins with an Irish tea ritual, designed to renew your focus on the present moment. You’ll experience a sea-salt foot bath, deeply cleansing body wrap, before receiving a relaxing scalp massage, with essential oils – a delightful way to close a morning of pampering.

Slieve Donard Resort & Spa

Top rated
Newcastle, 4.5 km to Mourne Mountains
9.0 Excellent (2199 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.6 / 10
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Stay in a room fit for a princess at this seaside hotel near Newcastle, County Down

Fall into a blissful slumber in the fairytale setting of the Kilmorey Arms Hotel, which can be found in the seaside village of Kilkeel. Behind the old stone walls and white sash windows of the 19th-century building’s exterior, you’ll discover a warm and welcoming bar, serving up local delights like Kilkeel squid and fresh haddock. For a truly indulgent supper, tuck into a dish, such as a rich and creamy seafood chowder, packed with fish from the local harbour. With local specialities, including Guinness Wheaten Bread, the menu here has a real Northern-Ireland flavour. Following a soul-warming supper, wander through the historic hotel’s interior and up to bed for a dreamy night of sleep.

Steeped in history, the rooms here date back to 1843 and they’ve played host to world leaders, including Sir Winston Churchill and President Eisenhower. You don’t need to be newly married to appreciate the little luxuries of the hotel’s well-thought out Honeymoon Suite – it comes with an elegant chaise longue, deep pile carpets and crisp cotton bed sheets worthy of royalty.

The spellbinding natural beauty surrounding the Kilmorey Arms Hotel provides the ideal backdrop for a weekend of discovery. With rolling farmland, out-of-the-way village pubs and vast swathes of forest, there are so many things to explore. Take a blustery, autumnal stroll across Newcastle’s 5km expanse of sandy shoreline, where you’ll spot colourful buildings and old wooden fishing boats. After a brisk coastal walk, nothing hits the spot better than a well-earned Sunday roast. Return to the hotel’s warm and cosy restaurant, where you can heap your plate with fresh vegetables and tender meats, topped with crispy Yorkshire puddings and rich gravy.

Kilmorey Arms

8.3 Very good (82 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.2 / 10
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Align your chakras with a soothing stay at this waterfront hotel, near Newcastle, County Down

Lose yourself in the old-world charm of the Canal Court Hotel and Spa, where you can wander hand-in-hand up a romantic spiral staircase to your own secluded Penthouse Suite. With dark mahogany furniture, elegant sofas and antique lamps, this suite has a truly historic feel. Soak away your cares in a gently bubbling whirlpool, before climbing between the sheets of your roomy Queen-size bed. Before falling asleep, take in the little details, including the soft velveteen throw and the opulent maroon drapes that surround you.

Enhance your wellbeing with a Crystal Elixir therapy. This captivating treatment uses a combination of facial and body massage to align your chakras and restore that all-important sense of balance to your life. Following your treatment, absorb the serene atmosphere of the spa, as you sit in the intense heat of the steam room and cool off in the pool. You can continue your thermal circuit, with a few well-spent moments in the dry heat of the sauna, before taking a spot in the spa’s relaxation room. Round off your sensory experience with a deeply nourishing aromatherapy massage, with sensuous patchouli, sandalwood and ylang-ylang oils.

Overlooking Northern Ireland’s largest man-made waterway, the Newry Canal, hotel’s restaurant the Old Mill, is as well-known for its magnificent views, as its delectable food. Savour some of Northern Ireland’s finest cuisine, including freshly caught seafood, before venturing across to the Craft Beer Bar. Let the skilled bartender pour you a gently foaming glass of real Irish ale from the Mourne Mountains Brewery. This traditional craft beer is brewed using spring water from the Spelga Dam, which can be found within the heart of the mountains.

Canal Court Hotel & Spa

Top rated
8.9 Excellent (669 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.2 / 10
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Watch the sun set over the rural landscape in this homely hotel in Newcastle, County Down

Nestled amid the rugged and inspiring County Down landscape, Blackwell House, an intimate rural idyll is home to three quintessentially Irish bedrooms. Rocky hillsides, along with heather and bracken covered plains await beyond the country house, ready to be explored. However, this haven of tranquillity also lets you admire Mother Nature at your leisure, sipping tea from the garden room, as you catch glimpses of the free-range chickens pottering outside. Unwind amid the antiques and family heirlooms, before uncovering the magical scenery that’s provided inspiration to many an artist and writer.

Escape to the sumptuous Blue Room, with its super king-sized bed, richly-coloured wallpaper and far-reaching views across the flower-covered pergola to the green fields beyond. Situated on the western side of the house, you’ll have front-row seats for every mesmerising County Down sunset. After dark, luxuriate in the hot water of the 6ft roll-top bath, before wrapping up warm in a soft bathrobe and slippers. Spend a peaceful night in your warm and cosy room, with DVDs and books from the hotel’s well-stocked collection, so you’re ready to explore tomorrow.

With family recipes handed down through the generations and Irish cuisine cooked on a good, old-fashioned Aga stove, this place provides a welcome burst of nostalgia. In summer, partake in a picnic lunch on the lawn and bask in the sunshine. For a warm winter treat, indulge in a candlelit three-course meal in the garden room, with tasty produce from the award-winning local butcher and neighbouring farms. It’s the extra special touches, including the cream tea served upon arrival, that make this B&B one to remember.

Blackwell House

Top rated
9.1 Excellent (90 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.4 / 10
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Sample a traditional Ulster breakfast at this rural hotel in Newcastle, County Down

Awaken to dramatic views of Northern Ireland’s highest mountain range, before ambling downstairs for a hearty Irish breakfast at the 18th-century Briers Country House. Fill up on local produce, like free-range eggs and grilled Ulster bacon, accompanied by freshly made soda bread and steaming mugs of tea. After all, you’ll need the energy for your morning of adventure among the granite covered peaks and windswept moorland sitting on your doorstep.

Dotted with brightly coloured cushions and trinkets, the stone-walled guest lounge provides a warm and welcoming retreat from the great outdoors. Help yourself to the abundance of coffee and biscuits that sit on the sideboard awaiting the hungry explorer’s return, before sinking into an overstuffed purple sofa. For a taste of real Irish life, tuck into a home-cooked meal, carefully prepared by the B&B’s owner and served in the light-filled dining room, amid the polished wooden floors and elegant glass chandeliers.

Wander amid the tranquil gardens, where you’ll come across wizened apple trees, topiary hedges and fragrant rose bushes that lend a real sense of natural serenity. The gently sloping lawns adjoin the Tollymore Forest Park and provide a glorious place for a summer picnic, perhaps egg and cress sandwiches and ginger beer? They stand at the foot of the wild and craggy Mourne Mountains, so they’re ideally positioned for a sojourn in County Down. Later on, you can let the fresh country air lull you into a peaceful sleep, as you unwind in the cosy surrounds of a Deluxe Guest Room – individually decorated with glossy wallpaper, oak dressers and locally inspired artwork.

Briers Country House

Top rated
Newcastle, 5.3 km to Mourne Mountains
8.5 Excellent (237 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.1 / 10
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