Friday, 20 February 2015

Wineport Lodge

If, like us, you’ve been quietly plotting an escape to chill out, unwind, and while time away doing absolutely nothing - I know just the place!

It’s called Wineport Lodge. We payed a visit last week, and loved it - again.

This is our second visit.

Instagram account here

Everything about this unique lakeside lodge won us over so much last year that we were practically compelled to come back for a second year in a row.

There’s just something in that water that immediately relaxes the mind!

The first time we visited I must admit my ‘first impression’ - just as we walked through the door - was that it was a little on the small side. I had heard so much about ‘the delightful hotel on the lake’, that I expected it to be somewhat bigger, more elaborate, on a grander scale, but in hindsight that’s what makes Wineport Lodge so charming, the clue is in the name I suppose! It’s not so much a hotel, but a luxury lodge that has such a warm appeal it feels more like a graceful guest house, and I have to say, for me, a place like this has a great deal more charisma than any extravagant five star hotel. 

The obviously stunning grounds incorporating Lough Ree play a big part in making Wineport Lodge what it is. However, the demeanour of every staff member we met over our last two visits added just as much to our experience as the mesmerising lake the lodge overlooks.

Before we arrived at Wineport Lodge in Glasson, to make sure we got the most out of our time away, we stopped off in Sean’s bar in Athlone town (the oldest pub in Ireland apparently!) for a pint of the black stuff.

And a bite to eat.

The amiable bar man orders the food for you from the restaurant next door (something I’m not acustomed to!), but it works. When the food is ready he sprints out the door to the adjoining restaurant, collects the food, and places a tasty sandwich in front of you!

After we’d had our fill, and a walk around the town, it was time to make the short drive to the hotel.

We arrived at that tranquil time between lunch and dinner so ordered cocktails and scones in the Bollinger Bar to fill the food gap.

The lodge is cleverly designed so every room has a lake view. 

And each room is only metres away from the lake so the balconies feel like they are floating on water. It’s like that relaxing feeling you get from an infinity pool, but better - and you don’t even have to put your swimming togs on! 

Staying with the wine theme (my kind of hotel!), all of the rooms and suites are named after different French wine regions - our suites were called Alsace and Saint-Julien - with The Champagne Suite being the height of luxury, maybe next year..!

We had dinner that evening in The Restaurant. The same dining room where TV3’s popular series 'The Restaurant’ is filmed - just in case you were wondering.

I went for butternut squash custard with blue cheese and walnuts to start, and grilled Dover sole with beurre blanc for main. David ordered warm beetroot and fig tart with St Tola’s goats cheese, followed by venison. We shared a lemon tart for dessert, with tea and coffee.

The next morning we woke to a perfectly still lake.

I’d love to say that we pulled on our hiking boots and went for a brisk morning walk, but all we managed was breakfast in bed.

We did think about going for a cycle (Wineport Lodge provides top of the range bikes), but then decided that a hot stone massage from The Treatment Suite overlooking the lake was almost the same thing - so we agreed on that instead!

On our way home we stopped off in Glasson village for lunch in The Fatted Calf which has recently changed management. It was still just as good as last time, with super food and great service.

Glasson really is a great spot for some incredible food. 

The Fatted Calf, Glasson

With The Fatted Calf, Grogan’s, and Glasson Village Restaurant all within a stones throw from each other, and Wineport Lodge just down the road, you certainly won’t go hungry in this tiny village - and you might even be able to say you’ve had one of your best meals ever here.

Wineport Lodge is good for the mind, it’s great for the soul, and if you’re planning a break away to completely switch off 'the delightful hotel beside the lake’ is definitely the place to go.

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