Most guests gasp as they come down the sweeping drive through ancient woodland and arrive at this magnificent Tudor-style baronial castle—complete with Sleeping Beauty tower and crenellations and a suitably regal backdrop of Lough Eske lake and the Blue Stack Mountains. Built in 1621, the estate was tastefully converted into a hotel at the turn of the 21st century. The main salons have impressive oak paneling, crewel-work armchairs, and colorful artwork. Upstairs, guest rooms are designed in neutral beige, brown, and tan tones and have traditional furniture that is superbly crafted. With its crystal light fixtures and towering button-back upholstered banquettes, the Cedars Grill dining room strikes just the right note between hip and elegant, and offers a menu of Irish produce, including fresh catches from nearby Killybegs and vegetables grown in the onsite greenhouse. Enjoy afternoon tea and cakes served in the lounge: €22, or €29 with champagne. For even more indugence, head to the spa. Check for midweek and sports deals (including golf, horse riding, pony trekking, or whale watching). All in all, this is quite the Irish paradise.
3 km (2 miles) north of Donegal town, Lough Eske, Co. Donegal, Ireland