The Shandon Hotel And Spa: Yes, The View Is Out-Of-This-World, But Is It Worth The Drive?

An honest review

shandon hotel and spa review

As I pulled into the carpark at the Shandon in Donegal I took a quick glance over at the clock on my dashboard. 18:30. I’d left Dublin at 9 that morning. And spent the guts of 7 hours driving.

My eyes were stinging, my left calf was cramped and my arse was sore from sitting in the same spot for so long.

Quick info

  • The Shandon Hotel & Spa is located at Marble Hill Strand, Dundrudian, Dunfanaghy, Co. Donegal
  • It opened to the public as a resort at Easter 2016.
  • 90% of the rooms face the sea
  • Yes, this is the place with the Canadian hot tub that has a serious view

On a whim, I decided to take a ‘little detour’ through Leitrim and Sligo on my way to Donegal. Little my hole.

But it was worth it. Even if Sligo was covered in a thick plume of fog.

Gleniff Horseshoe Drive in Sligo
The Gleniff Horseshoe Drive in Sligo

After whipping my bag out of the boot, I made my way up to the hotel, checked in and took the stairs two at a time to my room on the 5th floor.

A quick note before we dive into the review

Transparency: The folks at Shandon Hotel and Spa gave me a complimentary 2 nights bed and breakfast along with an evening meal.

Our integrity: if the Shandon 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 shite 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.

The rooms at the Shandon

shandon room
All kinds of comfy

The first thing that hit me when I opened the door to my room was the heat. It was roasting.

After firing open the windows and flinging my hoodie into a corner, I stood back and took it all in.

The room was big, homely and comfy. Really damn comfy.

The bathroom was nearly the size of the main room and it came equipped with a bath that made the most out of the spectacular view out over Sheephaven Bay.

bathroom at the shandon
Sunrise from the bathroom the following morning

As did the little seating area to the side of the bed.

the shandon view from room
A grand little French press for a morning coffee with a view

After a long day on the road I hopped into the nest, lashed on the latest episode of Derry Girls and chilled for the evening.

derry girls at the shandon
Flaked out watching Derry Girls

The room that I was put up in was a master suite. If you fancy spending the night in one of these, the price starts at €205.

Visit their website for more info on the other rooms at the Shandon along with the different packages they offer.

The thing about the Shandon…

Yes, the hotel is lovely. The people are warm and friendly, the place is comfy, homely and spotless.

Yet it’s what lies just outside its door that steals the show.

I set the alarm for 06:00 the following morning and took the short (literally 3-minute) stroll to the beach.

road into the shandon
The road that leads to the hotel

As you turn the corner out of the carpark and hit the little stretch of road that you can see in the picture above, the music of the waves crashing meets your ears.

shandon beach
The beach at the end of the road

I took a right at the end of the road and walked for around 5 minutes until I reached Marble Hill Beach.

It was roughly 06:25 and I had the whole place to myself. Talk about kick-starting a day in style.

marble hill beach donegal
Marble Hill Beach

Fooooooood: Breakfast and Dinner at the Shandon

After arriving back from the beach and grabbing a shower, I made my way down to breakfast, which was a buffet style help-yourself kind of job.

Happy days.

I piled on the eggs and rashers and lobbed a thick slice of homemade bread onto the side of my plate along with a lone sausage which I washed down with a strong cup of coffee.


eating breakfast at the shandon
I was tempted to grab another 5 sausages…

I had a reservation for dinner at 19:30 that evening.

Stupidly, I met a friend for coffee earlier in the evening and my rumbling stomach got the better of me. So, this would be dinner number 2…

I decided to pass on the starter and head straight for the steak.

Which was cooked to perfection and served with 4 (yes, four) chips, a generous helping of garlic potatoes and some seasonal veg.

And a pint.

dinner at the shandon

This was the best piece of steak that I’ve eaten in a long time.

restaurant in the shandon

Now, although I don’t have a picture of it (my phone KO’d), I also had a big fat piece of dark chocolate fondant which was served with white chocolate ice cream.

This was also pretty damn amazing.

As was the finely poured pint of Guinness.

bar in the shandon

The one negative of the restaurant was the heat.

I banged open the window beside me which let in a decent breeze, but I could only do this without worrying about disrupting anyone else as my section of the restaurant was empty.

The spa at the Shandon

I’ve never been to a spa.


But I saw a photo of the hot tub and the view that you get when you’re chilling in it, so I decided to head up on the morning before I drove back to Dublin.

hot tub at the shandon spa
The Canadian hot tub

If you visit the spa you’ll be treated to;

  • A stunning view of Sheephaven Bay from the pool
  • A luxurious range of heat and cooling experiences
  • A Vitality Pool with carefully positioned water jets to massage different areas of your neck and body (I spent about 20 minutes messing around with these)
  • Individual foot spas covered in tiny glass mosaic (I didn’t really get the appeal of these)
  • A big aul sauna
  • A Salt Grotto which shot out mist that was infused with Sea Salt and Eucalyptus (first time in one of these)

For me, it was all about the hot tub.

It’s was pretty special being able to sit in piping hot, bubbly water while watching waves crash on the beach at Marble Hill and admiring the surrounding countryside.

The perfect end to very relaxing couple of days.

The review in a nutshell

reception at the shandon
The view from the front door

The Shandon is class.

If you’re like me and you generally opt for staying somewhere that offers a tonne of adventure opportunities close by, then you should consider staying here.

It’s a solid base for exploring Donegal.

While the hotel itself is fabulously furnished and spotless throughout, it’s the view of the surrounding area that steals the show time and time again.

Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!) You'll find everything from things to do in Ireland to where to stay in Ireland (unique and unusual places) if you have a nosey around!


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