I‘ve heard people banging on about how amazing the five star Lough Eske Castle Hotel in Donegal is for a few years now.
A couple of weeks back, I had the chance to visit and see whether the hype was real, or whether it was all unjustified buzz (spoiler: it’s easily one of the best castle hotels in Ireland!).
So, here we are. An honest, no bullsh*t review. I’ve also chucked in some other Lough Eske Castle reviews at the end, so you can see what others thing of it.
Note: This Lough Eske review was originally published way back in 2019. It was updated in early 2021 to make the formatting a bit easier on the eye.
An Honest Lough Eske Castle Review: Some Transparency
Before we get into the review, it’s time for some transparency – the folks at Lough Eske Castle Hotel gave me a complimentary nights bed and breakfast along with an evening meal.
If Lough Eske was crap, I’d tell you. I’d never do anything in exchange for a positive review. If I like something, I’ll say so. If I love it, I’ll do the same.
If I think something’s muck and not worth you spending your hard earned cash on it, I’ll shout it from the rooftop. Read more about our review policy here.
Note: if you book a hotel through one of the links below we’ll make a tiny commission that helps us keep this site going. You won’t pay extra, but we really do appreciate it.
The Rooms At Lough Eske Castle
When we entered our room, the first thing to catch my eye wasn’t the massive bed, or the view out towards the castle, or the mini bar.
It was the fat chocolate covered strawberries that were resting on a little bit of slate, waiting for us to arrive (when you’re booking your room you can choose these as an add-on).
A Fine Big Bed And Lots Of Natural Light
I’m fairly sure that the room we stayed in was called a ‘Courtyard room’. It was HUGE, cosy and spotless throughout.
And yes, the bed was as ridiculously comfy as it looks in the photo above. In fact, after scrolling through a heap of other Lough Eske Castle reviews, the beds come up time and time again.
A Chonker Of A Bathroom
Our bathroom at Lough Eske Castle came equipped with twin sinks, a decent sized bath and one of those rainforest style showers.
You know the ones – they make you curse your own crappy shower for months after. A fine little spot for a pre-pint spruce up.
The Grounds At Lough Eske Hotel
Lough Eske is located smack bang in the middle of an area that’s bursting with intense natural beauty and it’s a stone-throw from many of the main Donegal attractions.
A glorious rugged landscape consisting of rolling mountains, icy lakes and lush woodland offer ample opportunities to get out and explore.
A Fine Spot For A Ramble
We arrived at Lough Eske hotel around 17:00 on a Saturday evening so, after we’d lobbed our bags down and eaten our way through a load of chocolate covered strawberries, we headed out for a little ramble.
There’s a finely placed narrow boardwalk that takes you on a short journey through lush woodland along the side of the lake.
Inside Lough Eske castle
Lough Eske hotel was clearly meticulously restored to recreate the style and elegance that it had when the current building was constructed during the 1860s.
This restoration has resulted in Lough Eske ranking highly as one of the best hotels in Donegal and, in turn, one of the best hotels Ireland has to offer.
There are numerous different places throughout the ground floor of the castle where you can kick-back and chill with a book.
On the Saturday night that we visited, the bar at Lough Eske Castle area was nice and quiet, with only a handful of seats taken.
The log book for my lumbar spine is more weathered than a fishermans boot, so I was more than satisfied with the sturdy seats throughout.
The Restaurant At Lough Eske
The food in Lough Eske was stunning. We were booked in for a meal in their Cedars restaurant for 19:30 that evening.
When we arrived, we were greeted by the restaurants front of house who took us to our seats and assigned us a waiter for the evening.
The Guinness was 10/10. It was like getting desert before the starter. A perfectly poured pint of velvety cream.
For mains, we went for a shared steak dish – a 900g / 2lb Chateaubriand, which is the thickest part of the tenderloin fillet.
When we ordered, the very friendly waiter told us that we would be waiting around 40 minutes for this to cook, but that was well worth the wait.
It’s nearly two years since we had this steak, but it has probably come up in conversation 20 times since.
As always, I went for the ice cream for dessert. And it was class. Thick, creamy dollops of ice cream, fresh strawberries and some chocolaty yoke. U.N.R.E.A.L.
The breakfast was also unreal. I generally associate breakfast buffets with dry rashers, soggy eggs and hard pudding, but this was fresh and tasty.
There was also pancakes that were made to order… with Nutella. The only thing that I had against the breakfast area was that it was busy and there was kids milling around everywhere.
The Only Negative: The Thermal Suite
If the overall stay at Lough Eske wasn’t as hugely enjoyable as it was, I would have docked a full point for this, but everything else was so outrageously flawless that it’s only fair to dock half.
When we were checking in to Lough Eske hotel, the gentleman that welcomed us mentioned that there was a large number of kids in the hotel due to a wedding.
We didn’t really think much of it at the time. Then we arrived to the thermal suite the following morning and they were all there hopping about the place (the picture above wasn’t taken during our visit).
Think Trabolgan style mayhem, but in a very small space. You’d normally associate thermal suites in 5 star hotels with relaxed vibes, but this definitely wasn’t the case.
The Spa At Lough Eske
I’ve heard a lot of people refer to Lough Eske as one of the best spa hotel in Donegal and, going off the Lough Eske Castle reviews on Booking.com, it’s pretty damn good.
The spa at Lough Eske Castle offers all of the usual stuff, like treatments and pampering rooms and all of that craic. Here’s how they describe it:
‘The pool and Spa building sits in the footprint of the original Victorian Glass House. An aqua green and gold mosaic colour theme flows through the pool and Spa areas which comprises of seven treatment rooms, including two couples treatments rooms with jet bath and steam room; a fully equipped thermal suite consisting of an ice fountain, sauna, steam room, sanarium, tropical experience showers, heated bench and an infinity pool ensuring your wellness and indulgent relaxation needs are catered for.’
A Roundup Of Other Lough Eske Castle Reviews
There are heaps of different Lough Eske Castle reviews online. Below, I’ve popped in the review scores from Booking.com and Google to give you a sense of what others think:
- Booking.com: 9.2/10 (based on 822 reviews)
- Google Reviews: 4.7/5 (based on 1,175 reviews)
FAQs About Staying At This Castle Hotel In Donegal
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from Lough Eske Castle reviews to things to do nearby.
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.
How much does a night at Lough Eske Castle cost?
Although prices vary depending on 1, time of the year, 2, time of the week and 3, type of package (e.g. dinner included) you can expect to pay €275+ for a night here.
Is it worth staying here?
Although our stay was complimentary, I’ll definitely be returning at some stage. The hotel is gorgeous, the service is outstanding and the food is out of this world.