Wineport Lodge: Make the blissful, tranquil trip to Athlone for your next getaway
Wineport Lodge is the nicest hotel I've stayed in - ever.
The above comment is not an exaggeration, nor is it a statement borne of panic and disillusionment from being unable to roam outside of a 2km radius for a considerable portion of this year.
It is simply a fact. Let me tell you why.
Located 10 or so minutes from Athlone town, Wineport Lodge is an exquisite hotel sitting on the side of Lough Ree.
The Lodge is tranquil, it's picturesque, and it will make you reconsider everything you thought you knew about luxury.
With its limited number of rooms overlooking the incredible lake - and a restaurant and bar that are practically in it - the hotel boasts a kind of quiet that is essentially unmatchable.
Check, in, shut your bedroom door, and launch yourself onto your terrace as soon as possible. It, like the rest of the lodge, is right on the Lough Ree, serving up incredible views that rivals (and surpasses, honestly) most spots I've stayed while travelling abroad.
Unsurprisingly, there are few things more relaxing than listening to water lap up against your bedroom terrace while sipping on a crisp glass of rosé.
Wineport's staff are welcoming, attentive, and entirely helpful. Many guests opt to dine in their rooms and staff are more than willing to suggest a tasty wine, a fancy cocktail, or a delightful dessert.
My dinner was in the Wineport restaurant overlooking the lake (just like everything else, really) as the sun set and the cocktails kept coming.
The restaurant offers an extensive menu, catering for just about everybody from the vegans to the meat-eaters among us.
Fried calamari, prime fillet steak, spinach ravioli, risotto, and delicious seafood chowder. You name it and chances are there's some variation of it on Wineport's menu - a far cry from the standard dinner options you'd tend to receive in most hotels.
The risotto and a substantial buffalo mozzarella made up my main and starter respectively. For dessert I cast aside the food menu and went straight for an after-dinner cocktail - a decadent and literally exquisite tasting chocolate orange amaretto.
And off to my room I sauntered, cocktail in hand and my stomach full, eagerly anticipating a few final sips out on the veranda as the day turned to night and I dreamed of what the sunrise would look like over the lake in the morning.
It's a four star hotel, but honestly? It should be five.
(And it was too misty to see any kind of sun the next morning, but listen, I had nothing to complain about.)
New restrictions for hotels and B&Bs have changed much about how Ireland's hospitality sector functions. But at Wineport, the only reminder of overt Covid revisions is the absence of the breakfast buffet. And a perspex screen or two.
The Lodge is adhering to all relevant guidelines, but the hotel's size, limited number of residents, and its stunning focus on the outdoors ensures a glorious, relaxed stay - that's entirely safe too.
Residents even have access to the Lodge's two lake view hot tubs. Bookings of course need to be made in advance, but that's grand.
More time to spend soaking in the tub, entirely chilled out, and extremely alone.
And if, for some reason, all of the above wasn't enough to keep you happy, you could also book yourself in for an evening on the Shannon Princess.
The hotel barge recently moored at Wineport, collaborating with the hotel and giving guests the chance to spend a night on the River Shannon (for an extra €300, that is), eventually debarking the next morning for a stellar breakfast on land.
This was not an event I indulged in myself, but spotting the barge making its way across the lake made me desperately wish that I too was cruising without a care on the water.
Until I took another sip of my cocktail and remembered that my current situation was fairly ideal, really.
One night B&B at Wineport starts at €240, with overnight supper and stay packages starting at €330. You can find out more about individual package pricing at Wineport Lodge here.
(*Wineport Lodge offered Her a complimentary stay in exchange for an honest review.)