Categories: accommodation

Escape to a 5* star luxury retreat in Northern Ireland 

Nestled here or discreetly hidden away there, Northern Ireland has some of the most stunning 5* escapes on the planet. From glorious country manors and captivating coastal estates, to fairytale castle demesnes and chic city retreats, a weekend escape here in any of the best hotels or guesthouses in Northern Ireland is everything you could wish for.  

5* shining lights in County Antrim & Belfast 

If you prefer your retreat with a more urban piquancy, the Merchant Hotel Belfast (5*) could be just the taste you seek. While this former Ulster Bank HQ may leave memorable imprints on your bank balance, its unforgettable blend of Art Deco chic and Victorian pomp will leave more indelible marks in your memory banks. 

A stunning luxury spa, fine dining, glorious afternoon teas and exclusive fashion boutique await your arrival. High above the city, a rooftop gymnasium affords panoramic city views. And with the Cathedral Quarter on your doorstep, another quick look to the heavens in thanks may also be in order. 

Standing discreetly but proudly beside the Grand Opera House is five-star superstar, the Fitzwilliam Hotel (5*), one of the top hotels in Northern Ireland. 

This design masterpiece on Great Victoria Street remains the blueprint for boutique hotel chic. It oozes elegance and effortless cool from every corner. As for the walk to your room – not to mention the room itself – well, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Five-star fabulousness surrounded by state-of-the-art splendidness all wrapped up in the most tactfully attentive service you’ll ever experience. 

5* splendour in County Armagh 

From the moment you walk in the doors of Newforge House (5*), an Ireland Blue Book member, you feel to the manor born. 

A cosy drawing room, a pot of artisan leaf tea or fresh coffee and homemade biscuits – now that feels like a welcome home. This exemplar of Georgian gorgeousness really does take warm hospitality to another level. Their passion for seasonal produce is reflected in their breakfast and dinner menus. A small orchard provides fruits for desserts, chutneys and preserves. The owners raise friendly chickens that lay eggs for their legendary breakfast. 

Picture yourself cradled in lush green surroundings and stunning gardens where tranquillity emanates from your breath. Keep it all to yourself for an unforgettable romantic break or share its wonderfulness with family for an intimate gathering or magical small wedding. Whatever you choose, you’ll feel at home. 

5* stars of the County Down 

Standing on the sylvan slopes overlooking Belfast Lough stands the Culloden Estate and Spa (5*). When they originally chose this site back in 1876 as an official palace for the Bishop of Down, divine inspiration surely played a part. 

Outside your bedroom window are acres of heavenly mature gardens. Inside, it’s cathedral calm with quiet nooks to reflect. The luxurious spa is a sanctuary for body and soul, a tranquil antidote to the hustle and bustle of everyday life. And all backed up with the type of service that can only be described as your eternal reward here on earth. 

Another celestial jewel lies a little further away near Banbridge. Blackwell House (5*) is a magnificent country house nestled in the rolling countryside of Scarva. 

Even though you may be only 30 minutes from Belfast, the peaceful country haven feel of this family-run home makes it a place where you can truly relax and unwind. Its sumptuous mix of contemporary interior styling and family antiques casually dotted around makes you feel like you’re one of the family.

With only the best local ingredients on its menus and the most comfortable night’s sleep on its list of promises, your weekend escape plan is complete. All you have to do is decide the best time to go. 

Coast into 5* luxury on the Causeway Coastal Route 

If you want to truly get away from it all, make At The Beach (5*) in Portstewart your personal sea of tranquillity. This luxurious B&B has the perfect mix of calm interior style overlooking stunning sea views and the magnificent golden sands of Portstewart Strand outside. 

From your ‘Sea Breeze’ or ‘Beach View’ window, watch soft morning mists give way to reveal a school of porpoises or diving gannets, or sail boats slowly drifting by in the bay. Marvel at brave surfers or simply watch breath-taking sunsets fall on unobstructed panoramic views to Donegal and beyond. For a luxurious weekend away, splendid isolation by the sea is waiting. 

If you’d rather be nestled away in quiet countryside, set your satnav for Crowfield House (5*) on the banks of the River Rhee. This hidden gem some four-and-bit miles from Coleraine has just what you’d hope for in an intimate luxury B&B. But then it delivers more. 

A short drive brings you to the Giant's Causeway’s epic scenery. A simple walk along the quiet country lanes surrounding Crowfield House brings you peace and tranquillity. A taste of the imaginative home cooking from your award-winning chef-owner bring you epicurean joy. That’s 5* and more. 

5* lakeland luxury in County Fermanagh  

Lough Erne Resort (5*) in Enniskillen could win awards just for its spectacular views alone. Well, from the 600-acre peninsula between Castle Hume Lough and Lower Lough Erne, you certainly have enough of Fermanagh’s Lakelands all to yourself to marvel at. 

But it’s everything else that it does that merits the well-deserved garlands. Home to two Championship golf courses, unique Thai-inspired luxury spa treatments and culinary wizardry from the acclaimed kitchen, it goes beyond the definition of 5* luxury. Indeed, anyone who has sampled the famous Afternoon Tea would need a thesaurus handy just to describe the pastries.  

Perhaps you’d prefer your own castle wing to impress your other half or family. In that case, decree it so at Belle Isle Estate’s Abercorn Wing (5*). 

This stunningly restored 5* piece of castellated elegance offers views across Lough Erne like no other. Choose from the opulent Bridal Suite with a grand four-poster bed or sumptuous elegance of the Tower Room. Or for lavish indulgence, fill up the Sweet Pea Room's deluxe roll-top bath with bubbles and relax. Guests also have full use of a private kitchen, library and drawing room.

So, if you’re now ready to trade balance sheets for the Egyptian cotton kind, working breakfasts for more leisurely ones in bed or Q&As for more intimate pop-the-question moments, we hope this has been a handy guide to just some of the best 5* hotels and guesthouses in Northern Ireland.