This review was first published on Essential Hotel's Online Travel Magazine Back in 2013 so it may contain some out of date information. The review is from the days prior to Wedding Photography becoming my main photography work.
Quite often a hotel leaves a certain memory as a lasting impressions, it might be the history of Adare Manor, or the old world sophistication of the Shelbourne,; now when I think back on the Farnham Estate Hotel I instantly think of the light! Not an electrical fitting mind you, but the way the hotel has been designed to fully incorporate the wonderful views and unique 1,300 acres estate affords the hotel. From panoramic windows in the bedrooms, floor to ceilings in at the end of the corridors to spacious and airy reception area the Farnham Estate fully embraces does everything it can to bring the outside in (as they Kevin McCloud would put it!)
Farnham Estate is a wonderful mixture of old and new, with the original estate house and modern hotel happily complimenting each other from the moment you walk through the front doors; the reception desks face directly onto what would have been the back wall of the old house.
Even before entering the hotel the staff get a chance to set a standard of friendliness and service that was maintained by everyone we meant during our stay. There is very limited parking at the hotels front door – which to look at as a positive really adds to the rural, off the beaten track relaxing feel, the main carpark being a short downhill walk away; and with no need to worry about it being uphill in reverse as a concierge was on hand to back up the hotel itself.
So off we set to find our room – or rather adjoining rooms – watching the outside landscape change from the rolling countryside to woodlands where hotel guests can enjoy country walks, or mountain biking paths which lead to the hotels lake. The rooms were more than expected, with a high class level of fixtures and fittings throughout.
After a quick change we headed down to the hotels Wine Goose Cellar Bar for an evening meal – murals on the wall explain the Wine Goose part of the name – the fact the restaurant is in a restored cellar the second! The use of individual alcoves really allows for a private dining experience – and again we were blown away by the friendliness of the hotel staff. Our waitress made a great fuss of the kids, and the promise of special Despicable Me chicken goujons and Disney Princess rice resulted in two dinners being devoured in record time. The latest made desert untimely; our request for hot chocolate and cookies instead was no problem at all and so off we set to our room with a supper to look forward to.
The no-kids policy at the hotel spa saw my better half head off in the morning to sample the delights of the hotel's spa, before enjoying a child free swim in the hotel's infinity pool which runs from inside to out (as opposed to the windows that bring the outside in!!)
All in all the hotel really offers a true getaway but yet is within reasonable driving distance of Derry, Belfast or Dublin. We visited towards the end of our Irish Road Trip, and as a family were made to feel more than welcome from everyone we meant; but undeniably as a couple’s getaway to recharge the batteries it’s well worth considering.
Prior to weddings being my main photography work I was, luckily, asked to write, and photograph, for hotel reviews & travel features.