Monday 13 November 2017

Glenlo Abbey Hotel & The Pullman Restaurant

While I don't often treat myself to a staycation, I do have a little list of fancy Irish hotels I'd love to try at some stage. Glenlo Abbey Hotel has been on this list ever since I realised that their restaurant was located in original carriages from the Orient Express.

Sometimes blogging karma sends something nice my way (thanks to you dear readers) and I was delighted to receive an invitation to stay at the Glenlo as part of a press event they were hosting over three nights. I chose the Thursday night which was great because all the other press people were booked in for the other two nights: Mr. FFID and I really got to experience it as if it was a romantic weekend.

Located about 4 km outside Galway, the Glenlo Abbey is a five star hotel which has just been added to Ireland's Blue book collection of properties. The original house was built in 1740 by an Anglo-Norman family, the Ffrenches (yes, with two Fs!). It was sold a few times to successive families over the centuries, finally being turned into a hotel by the Bourke family in the 1980s.

The hotel and its golf course overlook lough Corrib and when you arrive there you feel like you're definitely in the romantic Ireland that foreigners (including myself) imagine when thinking about Ireland. The rain and the wind that goes with the romantic image of Ireland were here too but this made us even happier to cosy up in the hotel.

The bedroom

The bedroom was spacious and well equipped with a comfortable king sized bed, a sofa in the corner, a nice desk and a big TV. The complimentary toiletry products from l'Occitane in the marbled bathroom are a nice touch. 

The Palmer Bar

We went for a drink in the Oak Cellar Bar and were happy to find some craft beers in there (we paid for our drinks) but the Palmer Bar is the place to have a drink. Its a beautiful, quiet and cosy room with a pianist playing some lovely music in the room next door. There are other rooms on the ground floor that are beautifully decorated. The hotel also has its own cinema which I haven't tried.

The Pullman Restaurant

The Pullman restaurant comprises of three carriages, one which serves as a kitchen and the other two as dining rooms. They were part of the original Orient Express and were also used in 1974 for the Murder on the Orient Express movie.

On my visit I experienced their 'Flavour of the Orient Express Menu', an interesting and imaginative tasting menu which was inspired by one of the original Orient Express routes and only available for a short period of time. While I didn't love every single dish I thought it was a brilliant idea and a bold menu for a hotel. Unlike others they didn't play it safe and this alone, combined with the setting and the French man serving our food certainly made it a memorable experience. The restaurant usually features two a three course menus priced at €50 and €65 per person respectively and is open at the weekend through the winter months and every day the rest of the year. 

The breakfast

Breakfast takes place in the stunning River Room. There was a very decent selection of hot dishes and food items available at the buffet table, including Irish produce (the Glenlo is great at listing suppliers and provenance) and it was certainly a well above average hotel breakfast. 

The Glenlo Abbey is the perfect place if you're looking for a romantic getaway and a different kind of dining experience. While I stayed there in September I could certainly imagine how cosy it would be during the festive season, it has this very Irish warmth that I just love. They have different packages available depending on the time of the year and I'm certainly delighted to have it ticked off my Irish hotel bucket list!

Disclaimer: I was a guest of the Glenlo Abbey Hotel.  I gave no undertaking to write an article and the words above are, as always, my honest opinion.

The Glenlo Abbey Hotel
Kentfield, Bushy Park 
Galway, Co. Galway