We took ourselves off to the beautiful Clandeboye Lodge in County Down.Upon entering the grounds to Clandeboye Lodge, we instantly felt a million miles away from the hustle bustle of everyday life. Nestled just outside Bangor, next to the Clandeboye Estate, the tranquil surroundings make the perfect backdrop for a relaxing retreat.
Having never stayed at the Clandeboye Lodge, we didn’t know what to expect. Already taken in by the location, we made our way from the car to the hotel reception and couldn’t help but be wowed by stylish interiors in the foyer. We were greeted in such a welcoming manner, and we would soon learn that this is a common theme with the staff here. We were made to feel most welcome, and before being shown to our suite, Angela at reception made arrangements to have our morning coffee be served in-room before breakfast the next day.
The suite was exceptional; decorated in the same modern classic style as we experienced throughout the rest of the hotel, and very spacious yet remaining cosy. The bathroom was stunning, finished to the highest of standards, and as with the rest of the room it felt luxurious and modern. The large walk-in shower sits along a curved back wall with a strip of frosted glass facing into the room. The suite truly was the epitome of style and we couldn’t help but wonder how we could recreate it in our own home! We opened the windows to enjoy the sound of birds chirping in the nearby trees, helped ourselves to a coffee from the Nespresso machine and sat back and relaxed in the lounge area of our room, which had a lovely corner sofa and coffee table.
Later that evening we made our way down to the Coq & Bull Brasserie, again given a warm welcome before being quickly shown to our table. There was lots of choice on the menu, and staff were more than happy to answer our questions and give recommendations. We opted for the sharing mezze platter with hummus, tapenade, antipasti and flat bread to start, which was delicious, followed by fillet of beef served with roasted vine tomatoes and beef dripping chips, and the pan roasted duck, caramelised chicory, dauphinoise potatoes and red wine sauce. Everything was absolutely divine, and both the duck and the steak were cooked to absolute perfection and both cut like butter. We can honestly say though, that the steak was the nicest we have had in a long time. We had barely finished and we were already planning our next excuse to visit. To finish off, we decided on the deconstructed white chocolate and ginger cheesecake, and the chocolate fondant, which again were exceptional. Every single dish had such attention to detail, and the fresh ingredients and quality meats were allowed to speak for themselves. We decided to end the evening with an espresso martini in the lovely lounge area next to the bar.
After a lovely night’s sleep in the king size bed, our coffees arrived right on time in the morning. We returned to the Coq & Bull shortly after for our breakfast, which did not disappoint.
Our stay at Clandeboye Lodge was truly lovely, and we enjoyed every aspect of it; from the exceptional style and quality food, to the friendly staff and the relaxed atmosphere. We can’t wait to return.
The modern-retro alternative hotel
The Clandeboye Lodge is renowned as a stunning wedding venue space, but the hotel itself is a hidden gem of interior style amidst the trees of its forest setting, which manages to strike the perfect balance of warm and inviting with moody and modern.
It is clear that thought has been put into every single detail throughout by owners Pim and Mandy Dalm. When undertaking recent renovations to transform the Clandeboye Lodge into the stylish haven it is today, they travelled widely to develop a modern, contemporary vision for the property. The changes made were not small and required the entirety of the hotel’s ground floor to be completely gutted and extended before its transformation, supported by John Henry Boyle, principal of Dublin-based interior architects, 21 Spaces.
The couple’s support for bespoke, local providers is also reflected in the public areas with an eclectic mix of beautifully complimentary upholsteries, outstanding pieces of art and quality craftmanship in rugs, wood and brass detailing. The natural light that flows through the space enhances the carefully selected rich hues throughout, complementing the wood and tiled floors that change in style from one area to the next, creating subtle divides.
The mix of textures, patterns and finishes keep the style fresh and modern but remaining classic, with contemporary architectural touches like the sleek open fire. Taking part of its DNA from the original schoolhouse building, the open truss ceilings in the Coq & Bull brasserie, along with large, gothic-style windows, holds the Clandeboye Lodge true to its origins that really make it special.
The top-to-bottom makeover included the hotel’s super-comfortable guestrooms which have a luxurious feel with dark walls complemented by coloured accents in the soft furnishings and broken up by the geometric pattern of the wallpaper. Bespoke carpets were manufactured in the key theme colours of teals and rust. Throws and lounge chairs were custom-made as well as headboards which are a stunning feature in the rooms. There is nothing ‘standard’ at all about any of the rooms either, with the same high quality finishes and luxurious new bathrooms throughout.
A short walk away through picture-perfect gardens, is the original 19th century schoolhouse which sits at the heart of the hotel’s events suites. The entrance hall is distinctive with Versailles pattern wood flooring, high-arched leaded windows, wall panelling, a roaring fireplace and original paintings by Irish artists plus that eclectic mix of upholsteries here again. Upstairs, the stunning Blackwood Suite really has the ‘wow’ factor, with authentic exposed wooden beams and large gothic style windows allowing enough light to flood the room with the naturalness of the surrounding woodland and enhancing the romantic atmosphere. The Viceroy Suite with its own balcony overlooking the trees and gardens below, features a beautiful stripped-stone wall which flows around to the Diplomat bar and club-style lounge.
The main Clandeboye Suite on the ground floor features a stunning floor-to-ceiling glass wall facing onto the trees and gardens. The cool, calming minks and creams throughout are further enhanced by the addition of elegant lime-washed, ‘Louis-style’ rattan backed chairs.
You may visit Clandeboye Lodge for a relaxing retreat, but you will find yourself inspired by the interiors. With a clear vision, and an eye for design, the Clandeboye Lodge has been transformed into an experience not to be missed. And with plans for an uber-relaxing wellness spa, guests can be assured of continued investment within an already stunning venue.
Phone Bangor 028 9185 2500. clandeboyelodge.com