The welcome couldn't have been any more impressive if I had been asked 'How do you like to arrive at a hotel?'
The reception was warm, friendly and informative, a porter rushed to the bags with a smile, and the offer of Irish Whiskey from a crystal decanter was a pleasure indeed.
Through the beautiful hall to the elevator and I arrived at room 411. From the window onto a beautiful balcony I could see the shore and ocean just beneath me, the sun setting over the cliffs of the distance as West Cork melted into the Atlantic. Gentle lighting, modern, classic furniture and the most comfortable bed so far- Finally somewhere in Europe understands Australians like a sheet under the quilt!
The room was spacious and clean, the decorating beachy and appealing. I had booked for one night and rather thought I might move in for good!
A few photos on the balcony and I noticed my welcome- a personal note, handwritten from the hotel operations manager plus a stunning (and tasty) chocolate platter welcoming me (and even using my twitter name! Fantastic!)- the chocolates are handmade and can also be purchased at the hotel- I hope my Brother in law and sister will enjoy the ones I have bought them- I sure enjoyed the ones in the room! I admit my purchases weren't only for selfless reasons- I did get myself some of the delicious, melt-in-the-mouth local shortbread. A personal weakness.
Dinner in the Gulfstream Resturaunt, overlooking the ocean. Sensational, perhaps the best meal I've had in Ireland. Gourmet starters, little tasters (the prawn was amazing- something to be said, as someone I know claims, for eating good seafood when you can literally see its home) then onto the freshest scallops I remember having. The main was chicken, beautifully cooked and swimming in a light, pesto cream sauce. I wish I could have fitted dessert in- Maybe tonight- I'll let you know!
Which of course, brings me to how nice it was, when weary from travel I returned to the room to find an offer, slipped under the door, to stay another night for a very discounted and generous price. I took the hotel up on this and enquired about a third night (more than happy to forsake the hotel I had reserved in Cork- thank goodness not to late to cancel!) and the price was matched by the charming and friendly reception team. There had also been a voucher for spa use- Sadly those in the area for historical research don't have time- but next time I would, the treatments sounded amazing.
Each night the turn down service arrived with handmade chocolates and the offer of extra water, towels and anything I needed. Of course, the chocolates were never refused, and served on a beautiful scallop shell. Today, after freezing on an amazing tour of places relevant to Michael Collins with a local expert (you can see my information on this on the resources tab of the website!), I came in from the icy roads to lunch at the bar and bistro- a nice coffee, and the delicious tapas plate that included fresh Atlantic smoked salmon and local produce. Excellent and fresh!
The room was warm, but not overheated and I felt the extra two nights were the perfect choice towards the end of a long research trip. The only question is... how soon can I return?
For images from the beautiful Inchydoney Island Lodge, please see below.