The exciting mini break destination you’ve probably not considered.
The Culloden is the grand dame of Belfast hotels. Tell the taxi driver your destination and they nod in quiet approval and list of all the famous people that they’ve taken there in the past.
The hotel is situated on the outskirts of the city centre, high on the slopes of the Hollywood Hills. and feels connected to both the city’s beating heart and the tranquil countryside outside it. An imposing building, it was built in the late 1800’s and has impressive grounds dotted with quirky sculptures. The welcome is warm and the service old school courteous. It’s decor is unashamedly formal with a starched-linen-table-cloth, high-backed-chair vibe.
The Culloden Estate & Spa review
Room and facilities
Prestige ‘Cloud’ beds ensure every guest gets a good night sleep and the rooms are well appointed with coffee machines and ensuite bathrooms. They follow the same aesthetic as the communal areas, with decor that is comfortable and traditional. The most luxurious and expensive are in the main house, with more purse friendly rooms in a newer extension. All have views of the garden or Belfast Lough.
The stand alone spa really is a haven for relaxation and and rejuvenation. It has a large circular pool to lounge beside, plus a steam, sauna, vitality pool and a decent gym. There are plenty of treatment rooms and whilst the decor isn’t super slick, its welcoming and comforting. The therapists were excellent and accommodating.
Food and drink
The Lough Bar, so named for its views across the water, is the perfect place for pre dinner drinks. We had dinner in the Cultra Inn – a gastro pub style restaurant on the grounds. It’s relaxed and friendly with wholesome, locally sourced food. If you want fine dining then the Vespers restaurant offers a beautifully prepared menu with prestige wines in gothic decor.
Breakfast is in a sunny, formal room and is served buffet style. Food comes from local farms and there are many options – from a full Irish breakfast (aka the Ulster fry) to porridge laced with local whisky.
A drink in The Lough Bar, with its wide selection of gins and cocktails, feels like an event. The Lisdergen steak in the Cultra Inn deserves a shout out too. A short stroll to Belfast Lough is perfect for walking up an appetite.
What to do nearby?
Mooch around nearby Hollywood, with its great shops and restaurants. Enjoy a meal and find some art at The Yard Gallery on the High Street. The Titanic exhibition is a must see and W5 is a great for children. The Cathedral quarter is the place to go for bars and restaurants.
Culloden Estate & Spa (hastingshotels.com / 028 9042 1066) offers rooms from £140 per room to include breakfast.