10 new trends to spot on staycation – from “hotels within hotels” to nature stays with pizza delivery
Want a breakfast basket delivered to your room? How about a pizza or a yoga class during your stay in the great outdoors?
scouring the island to compile this year’s fab 50, our list of the best places to stay in Ireland 2022, has given us a unique insight into how Irish staycations are changing and reinventing their offerings as we emerge from Covid.
Here are some fun trends to watch…
1. Homes Away From Home
Many of us have upgraded our homes during lockdown, and hotels and guesthouses are showing this as they refurbish.
Good coffee, Netflix, wine coolers, quality showers and fresh milk in the rooms are all touches that add both luxury and comfort to the home.
In Co Wexford’s Thistledown Lodge, a new boutique B&B on the Hook Peninsula (above), there’s a bath in one of the bedrooms. At Rockhill House in Co Donegal, the designers have even been instructed to retain the feel of a family home.
2. Breakfast boxes and trays
Breakfast buffets have been a casualty of Covid, as hotels rushed to introduce social distancing and reduce touchpoints. Some hotels bring them back; others are finding creative ways to elevate morning meals.
At Hotel67 in Killarney or the Wild Rooms in Co Wexford, for example, breakfast baskets can be delivered to your door.
The afternoon tea-style tiered trays stacked with scones, smoothies, fruit and granolas at Dingle’s Pax House and Co Clare’s Doolin Inn are another example – adding a bit of drama while controlling the portions and allowing for day-to-day variations.
“Breakfast has become such a luxury,” says Anthony Moloney of the Doolin Inn. “It’s a real treat.”
3. Adults only!
We all love children. But sometimes parents need a night, and a small but growing number of properties (Wexford’s Wild Rooms, for example) provide that. Others, such as Pax House, Clonalis House and Haddington House, accommodate older children.
4. Hotels within hotels
The creation of smaller branded stays or exclusive floors in larger resorts has been relatively rare in Ireland. That could change, with bigger properties like Carton House and Tulfarris showcasing their former mansions as hotels within hotels, and Gleneagle’s new Hotel67 breathing new life into a previously hidden section of its resort. Its 24 rooms were once used as an office and storage space.
5. Upcycling the ante
Headboards made from church organs at the Old Inn in Crawfordsburn. The former reception of Dublin’s Berkeley Court Hotel reappears at Lawlor’s of Naas. A coffee table made from part of an aircraft engine, itself salvaged from a retail display, at Thistledown Lodge, Co Wexford.
Upcycling is kicking into high gear, and given rising costs across the board, it makes as much sense economically as it does environmentally. “It’s good not to throw things away,” as Catherine Dundon of Dunbrody House says.
6. Small seaside resorts
Tired of sprawling, impersonal resorts? Scale down with more intimate individual hideaways like Bancran School – above, with four glamping accommodations in Co Derry – Dromquinna with its tents, lodges and lodges in Co Kerry, or the refurbished mansion, lodge and mews in Liss Ard in West Liege.
These carefully appointed oases reflect the imagination and philosophy of their owners, with private and common spaces, often surrounded by nature.
7. Upper Level Lodges
Forest stays like Center Parcs and Cabu by the Lakes, combined with a growing trend of nature immersions, have taken Irish lodges to a whole new level. From hangouts with hot tubs in Killyhevlin to Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway (where many amenities are made from fallen wood), rustic living has never been so sophisticated.
8. State of the art
The use of local and Irish artists to enhance bedrooms, hallways and public spaces is on the rise. From selected contemporary artists at Press-Up hotels like The Dean to works in Dublin’s Arthaus paying homage to Mainie Jellett and Mary Swanzy, or smaller stays like Lagom commissioning local artists, it adds colour, feeling of belonging and supports our creative community.
9. Stunning terraces
Pandemic closures and the boom in outdoor living have kicked terraces into high gear, from large rooms like The Montenotte’s 1 million euro rooftop bar to smaller stays like June’s garden patio Blake. Given our newfound love for the outdoors and our reconnections with nature, let’s hope these outdoor living spaces continue to evolve.
10. Sustainability leaflets
Sustainability is at the heart of our Fab 50, but we find a surprising number of stays have dropped standards – from mini toiletries to a fundamental lack of recycling or green teams. Covid may be to blame, but with rising costs, the race for renewable energy and more sustainable staycations is more urgent than ever. Let’s get back on the road!
Read this year’s Fab 50 here.