I recently enjoyed a two-night stay at the remarkably imposing looking Clarion Hotel in Sligo. Our small party was given a very spacious suite comprising two rooms with three beds, a bathroom and a wide entrance hall. Indeed it was more like a one bedroom apartment than a hotel room. The style and layout of the suite suited our purposes to a T.
On our first night we had dinner in the lovely Sinergie restaurant, which was full of family atmosphere. I had a vegetable strudel, which was a flaky pastry parcel of vegetables in a red spicy sauce. It was a really delicious vegetarian meal which is always the test of a talented chef. My companion had pork in a sticky gravy sauce and mash which she enjoyed thoroughly.
The two children, one 16 and the other nine, enjoyed cod on a bed of pesto mash and chicken nuggets and chips respectively. The youngest child was well taken care of and the staff engaged her in direct conversation on matters of food and drink reference which I found quite refreshing and unpatronising.
The hotel’s Kudos bar was our next stop and again, the place was full of families and the ambience was very relaxed. After the children went to bed at around 9pm, we stayed up for a while as the music took us back to the 80s and 90s with many favourites piped into the lounge all night long. The following night in the bar, there was a singer and musician to entertain the crowd.
The next morning we were offered breakfast in bed. When the trays arrived at our door, we were treated to complimentary extra portions all round as there had been an earlier mistake with our order. I thought this a nice touch
My companion and the 16-year-old then decided to check out the shopping in Sligo town while I went to the pool with the nine-year-old.
Essence Spa and pool is a lovely haven of calm ambience and gorgeous treatments to relax the hotel’s guests. The pool was small but perfect for our needs and there were very few using it. The nine-year-old, who cannot swim, even felt comfortable enough to try using one of the floats provided and under my instruction had her first swimming lesson.
Later that afternoon, we all went to visit the famous Rosses Point to see the sad bronze statue on shore of the lady reaching out to sea in a vain lament for her relatives who have been lost at sea. The statue was very moving to behold and we were all moved by the inscription on the plaque about the strength of the local people over the years in the face of tragic loss.
We then went to have hot whiskeys in the Yeats Country Hotel as the day was ferociously wild and the wind whipped us indoors to a glorious fire.
As we made our way up the long driveway back to the Clarion, we took in the beauty of that stately edifice built in 1847. The history of the building was intriguing as it started out as a great workhouse and then became a psychiatric hospital before settling into its present occupation as a luxury hotel. In its heyday in 1883, St Columba’s Lunatic Asylum held 1,100 inmates.
The hospital closed in 1992 and remained so for 10 years before the Clarion group took it over and pumped €45 million into its refurbishment.
There are currently a number of good deals on offer at the Clarion in Sligo. Pre-summer packages include a two- night bed and breakfast, with one evening meal for €109 per person, or a three night B&B with two nights’ dinners for €175 per person. Weekend rates of two-night B&B with one evening meal is available at €139 per person. There are even cocktail-making classes on offer for the exuberant lassies. Sounds like fun to me!
For more details and prices or to book, contact the Clarion Hotel in Sligo on 071 9119000 or email email@example.com.