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Hotel review: Add Dunboyne Castle Hotel and Spa to your holiday hit-list

Hotel review: Add Dunboyne Castle Hotel and Spa to your holiday hit-list


by Shayna Sappington
22nd Jul 2024

Whether you’re planning a girls’ getaway or a family staycation, Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa is the perfect spot to unwind and recharge before exploring local sites.

Recently back in the gym and plagued by sore muscles and achy joints, I leapt at the chance to indulge in the newly renovated spa at Dunboyne Castle Hotel. And I’m happy to say, I wasn’t disappointed with my experience.

Just 30 minutes from Dublin, it’s a short drive to the Co Meath hotel. Surrounded by 21 acres of greenery, it is easy to miss off the main road, so be sure to keep an eye out for the sign. Once I arrived and drove through the gate, the hotel appeared around the corner – a charming beacon amidst the lush landscape. I parked in its large car park and strolled to the front doors, where a surprisingly spacious lobby awaits.

Centre stage with the hotel’s impressive restaurant, The Ivy, on your left and the lounge on your right, the lobby borders a long hall that brings you down to your room. When I approach the desk, I can see the outdoor patio gleaming in the rare sunshine and am eager to bask in its rays with a refreshing cocktail in hand. More on that later…

The room

I’m staying at the hotel with a friend in a twin room, and though it’s easy to get lost in the hotel’s sprawling hallways, we follow the small signs and eventually wind up in the right place. It’s a standard room, with a smart TV with all the usual streaming channels, a kettle, a coffee machine, a spacious wardrobe, an ironing board and a view of one of the hotel’s walking trails. 

The brightly lit bathroom has the perfect lighting for make-up and is stocked with stunning products from The Handmade Soap Company. While the shower is quite cramped, there is a large bathtub for a relaxing soak before bed. I did have a fantastic sleep in my heavenly hotel bed later on, with plush pillows and a lightweight duvet that suited the summer weather. However, it’s worth noting that there is no air con, so you’ll want to leave the window cracked on warmer nights.

The spa

After scoping out the room, we were straight into the hotel’s fluffy robes and slippers and shuffling our way to the spa. While the spa was easily accessible through the lobby, we wanted to take a more covert route from the room and after a lift ride, and a stroll through yet another hallway, we emerged into a gorgeous reception area. The whole spa has been recently renovated and it shows with its inviting, luxe decor, stocked with top-notch skincare like Comfort Zone and one of my favourite Irish brands GROUND Wellbeing.

I’m then treated to the Stress Relief Massage, and although it took me a while to wind down, the masseuse’s relaxing oils and deep tissue massage soon lulled me into a deep state of zen. It was just what my sore muscles needed. 

My friend treated herself to a pedicure in the hotel’s new sleek nail salon, with a view of the hydrotherapy pools next door. We both indulged in a swim afterwards, moving between the pool, the outdoor jacuzzi, and the newly added thermal suite – one of the best I’ve tried! (There’s also a gym if you’re keen for a morning workout.)

With a range of experiences, we did our own spa crawl, trying out the Infrared Sauna, Himalayan Salt Room (my favourite), Herb Sauna, Sauna and Steam Room, Cold Bucket Shower, and Shower Experience, with a handful of indulgent settings. Needless to say, we never would have left the uber-relaxing thermal suite if our growling stomachs didn’t call us up for lunch. 

Food and drink

The hotel has two restaurants – the Terrace Lounge, where you can enjoy afternoon tea, lunch and a few drinks inside or on the lovely terrace, and the Ivy Restaurant, which serves up a scrumptious Irish breakfast by day and a gourmet dinner by night. For drinks, the Sadlier Bar concocts some delicious cocktails, which my friend and I sipped on the sunny terrace, chatting the afternoon away. I highly recommend their whiskey sour.

Dinner in The Ivy was one of the best hotel meals I’ve had in a while – all their meals are made from locally sourced, fresh ingredients. I opted for the Dublin Bay mussels with a white wine cream sauce followed by the vegetable risotto with blue cheese and toasted almond flakes. It was divine!

Things to do

On the hotel grounds, you can go for a walk, enjoy a picnic (packed by the hotel staff), rent bicycles or bring the kids along as you follow the local fairy trail. Dunboyne Castle Hotel is also conveniently located 20 minutes from Emerald Park, Casey Farm and Dublin Zoo – making it the perfect spot for a family stay. 

Alongside its inclusive spa, Dunboyne town is nearby as well, making it a great destination for a girls’ trip. Plus, each guest can avail of a 10% discount at the local Avoca. There really is something for everyone here.

Pricing and packages

A double room starts from €171 per night and there are also some great packages on offer this season…

The ‘Step Into Summer’ package for two, includes an overnight stay, one 45-minute spa treatment each, 90-minute use of the Thermal Suite and a full Irish breakfast. From €320.

After our relaxing stay, I have happily added Dunboyne Castle Hotel and Spa to my staycation hit list and I’ll definitely be back to use their glorious spa – though not soon enough.