If you’re in search of the best hotels in Donegal, you’ve landed in the right place.
County Donegal is a stunning place to escape to for a weekend of exploring or for a chilled break away, regardless of budget or time of year.
In the guide below, we’re going to take you through the best hotels Donegal has to offer, from hotels perched right on the beach to luxury resorts and more.
What we think are the best hotels in Donegal
The first section of this guide is packed with what we think are the best hotels in Donegal – these are places that one or more of our team have stayed in and loved.
Below, you’ll find everywhere from the Sandhouse and Mill Park to some often overlooked places to stay in Donegal.
1. Rathmullan House Hotel
The stunning Rathmullan House is a Georgian, family-run country house beautifully placed next to Lough Swilly and a stone’s throw (literally) for the beach.
You’ll find it set amongst 7 acres of gorgeous gardens with a finely decorated interior and bright, spacious rooms.
There’s a swimming pool and several dining options, like the Cook & Gardener, the Pavillion (pizzas on the lawn) and Batt’s Bar.
This is widely regarded as one of the best hotels in Donegal for couples for good reason. A beaut of a spot.
2. The Sandhouse
The Sandhouse is, in our opinion, one of the most overlooked of the many Donegal hotels. This four-star family run hotel and spa is located on the spectacular coastline at Rossnowlagh.
Their cosy rooms have a sophisticated feel to them, mainly thanks to the vintage decor (if you can, try and nab one that offers views of the ocean).
The hotel’s services are top notch with a fine dining restaurant overlooking the water and an inviting Marine Spa for an afternoon of relaxation. It’s the perfect blend of old-world elegance and modern luxury.
3. The Highlands Hotel
Next up is one of the more popular hotels in Donegal. In the main street of Glenties, you’ll find this delightful hotel that has welcomed guests for over 50 years.
The Highlands has undergone recent renovations and offers a range of boutique rooms and new facilities for functions and weddings.
You’ll find a new bistro, bar and dining room serving up the best of the local produce and a range of drinks.
The hotel is just 40 minutes from Donegal Airport and with plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy in the surrounding area from cycling to golf.
4. Beach Hotel Downings
Here you’ll find 30 modern and stylish ensuite bedrooms with double, twin and adjoining family rooms, all accessible by lifts (if you can, try and book one of the rooms that offers views of Sheephaven Bay).
The Beach Hotel has two bars, the modern lounge and the traditional Teach An tSolias, where live entertainment is available at the weekends and every night during the summer months.
5. Mill Park Hotel
This mighty four star boasts beautifully decorated rooms (doubles, family rooms, etc), as well as an enticing leisure centre with a heated pool and jacuzzi hot tub.
If you’re feeling peckish, the hotels Chapter Twenty Restaurant offers a tasteful choice of dishes along with gorgeous garden views.
The best luxury and 5 star hotels in Donegal
Arguably some of the best places to stay in Donegal are the many luxury escapes (see our guide to the finest 5 star hotels in Donegal for a full breakdown).
Below, you’ll find everything from the fabulous Lough Eske and Harvey’s Point to one of the best places to stay in Donegal for couples.
1. Lough Eske Castle Hotel
You’ll see Lough Eske Castle top many guides to the best hotels in Donegal online, and there’s not mystery why – it’s a castle AND it’s 5 star.
This is an award-winning resort, spa and wedding venue on the historic lakeside grounds of Lough Eske, just six kilometers away from Donegal Town.
The castle accommodation offers a range of contemporary rooms from their Garden Suites to the more elegant Castle Suites, all of which have comfortable boutique amenities.
There’s an on-site spa, some sublime dining options and a cosy, old-school-style bar to relax in. If you’re after an exquisite getaway, Lough Eske Castle is one of the most impressive hotels in Donegal.
2. Harvey’s Point
Next is one of the best hotels Donegal has to offer if you’re looking for old-worlde charm and breath-taking scenery. Harvey’s Point is one a a couple of Donegal hotels that is well on its way to 5 star status.
As was the case with our previous hotel, you’ll find Harvey’s set along the glistening shores of Lough Eske.
The idyllic setting of this stunning hotel is one of the real highlights of a stay here, with the lake and backdrop of the Bluestack Mountains to admire.
The property has over 60 rooms designed with both comfort and luxury in mind and an award-winning dining experience onsite in the restaurant and bar.
3. St Columbs House
St Columbs is a fully renovated period property with just 6 beautifully decorated bedrooms. However, what this place lacks in size it more than makes up in charm and character.
The rooms are bright and spacious and, although wonderfully kept, they maintain an olde-worde feel, and I mean that in the best way possible.
4. Rockhill House Estate
Another of the more overlooked Donegal hotels, the magnificent Rockhill House, set within a gorgeous estate that looks out over Letterkenny.
This property is a country manor house that screams elegance with rooms boasting mahogany four poster beds and an attention to detail that you generally only see in 5 stars.
There’s several places to retreat to in the evening, including the Stewart Dining Room (for breakfast) and The Church for lunch. There’s also 2 on-site bar areas.
5. Arnolds Hotel
You’ll find the popular Arnolds Hotel tucked away in the picturesque village of Dunfanaghy where it overlooks the stunning Sheephaven Bay.
Widely regarded as one of the best hotels in Donegal for families, it’s a short walk from several beaches along with plenty of walks and hikes.
Food wise, you’re spoiled for choice at Arnolds – there’s the more formal Arnolds Restaurant for your evening meals and there’s a popular burger bar on-site, too!
Gorgeous spa hotels in Donegal
The last section of our Donegal hotels guide is all about spas. Now, some of the previously mentioned hotels have spas, but there’s plenty more, hence the dedicated section.
Below, you’ll find everywhere from the Shandon and Redcastle to one of the newest spa hotels in Donegal.
1. The Shandon Hotel
First up is one of the more unique hotels Donegal has to offer (a quick glance at the photos above should reveal why!). The Shandon Hotel and Spa is one of our favourite hotels in Ireland.
This four-star hotel overlooks the beautiful Sheephaven Bay and can be found a short walk from Marble Hill Strand and the town of Dunfanaghy.
There’s a reason this is one of the best spa hotels in Donegal. They have a variety of rooms from family suites to standard doubles, almost all of which offer incredible sea views.
It’s the perfect place to relax by the sea with a thermal spa, relaxation room and outdoor hot tub, which has incredible views over the surrounding area.
2. Redcastle Spa Hotel
This oceanfront property is one of the most popular hotels in Donegal for couples. The Redcastle is a luxurious four-star resort on the shores of Lough Foyle on the Inishowen Peninsula.
It has nearly 100 rooms and a popular restaurant and bar. However, it’s the lavish spa that will complete your relaxing stay here.
With full pamper packages lasting from one hour up to all day, along with a pool, sauna and steam room, you’ll feel rejuvenated after your time at Redcastle.
3. Ballyliffin Townhouse
Ballyliffin Townhouse is, unsurprisingly enough, located in the seaside town of Ballyliffin on Inishowen, a short spin from beaches, mountain passes and waterfalls.
This 4 star hotel has a recently launched Tess Rose Ocean Spa that’s home to a sunken jacuzzi, Amazon Themed Showers and infrared saunas.
There are several room options on offer and the Townhouse Deluxe Room is arguably the most luxurious.
4. Inishowen Gateway
Located on the Inishowen peninsula, the Gateway Hotel is hugely popular with both families and couples.
Some of the rooms here command views over Lough Swilly while onsite activities include a golf club, a leisure club and the Seagrass Spa.
5. Silver Tassie Hotel
Silver Tassie is a hugely popular (current review score on Google, at the time of typing, is 4.6/5 from 1,087 reviews) 4 star in Letterkenny that’s been run by the Blaney family for 2 generations.
The hotel has 36 rooms, a popular bar and restaurant and The Seascape Spa (it has his-and-her treatments, seaweed baths and more).
It’s a little bit out from the hustle and bustle of the town centre but close enough that you can nip in to its pubs and restaurants, if you like.
Where to stay in Donegal: What have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant Donegal hotels from the guide above.
If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out! If you’d like to see some more Donegal accommodation guides, check these out:
- 17 quirky places to go glamping in Donegal
- The fanciest luxury accommodation and 5 star hotels in Donegal
- 13 scenic places to go camping in Donegal
- 11 of the finest spa hotels in Donegal
FAQs about the best places to stay in Donegal
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What are the best hotels in Donegal for couples?’ to ‘Where’s good, but cheap?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What are the best hotels in Donegal?
In our opinion, it’s hard to beat Rathmullan House Hotel, The Sandhouse, The Highlands Hotel and The Beach Hotel Downings.
What are unique places to stay in Donegal?
Hotel wise, Lough Eske is arguably the most unique. However, thanks to the views it offers, The Shandon is pretty unique, too.
I was born in a quiet corner of a Gaeltacht on the Dingle Peninsula. Over the years, I’ve explored Ireland far and wide, from the wilds of West Clare to the shores of Sherkin. Particularly fond of heritage, history and hikes (and words beginning with ‘H’, apparently…).