Let us introduce you to The Brehon, a four-star, surprisingly affordable luxury hotel in Ireland, nestled in charming Killarney. Situated across from the Killarney National Forest, and next to the INEC events center, the Brehon Hotel is surrounded by nature and culture; two things Ireland is renowned for. What’s more, the resort is steeped in Irish charm and local history. This is fully acknowledged in the hotel’s philosophy:
“Exceptional surroundings complemented by exceptional service…
this is The Brehon Way.”
Ireland had long been a dream destination for us, as it is for so many. After a short stay in Dublin, we made our way across the island to Killarney, by train. En route, we struck up conversation with locals from the west. Without exception, they knew we would fall in love with Killarney. When they found out we were staying at The Brehon Hotel, though, they would sigh and say, “now that’s a dream destination. You’re sure to enjoy yourself!”
Oh, how right they were. The hotel is beautiful! The manicured lawns and stately oak trees in front are echoed in the wood paneling and rich greens inside. Tall windows in the lobby and dining room let the outside mingle with the inside, while twin fireplaces literally exude the warmth that is Irish hospitality. The arrival gives you great expectations for the rest of your stay.
An Affordable Luxury Hotel in Ireland
We love a good hotel lobby, and The Brehon did not disappoint. We spent most evenings downstairs in the plush couches, working next to the fire with an Irish Coffee from the bar. Summer afternoons feature tea in the lobby, with a pot of Bewley’s and a tray of scones, sandwiches, and sweet treats.
Upstairs, a bottle of wine and a box of Butler’s Chocolates awaited our check-in. The highlight of our Superior Deluxe room, though, was the view looking out over fields and mountains of the Irish countryside. The room was tastefully decorated, and furnishings were comfortable and contemporary. Beside the large windows sat a table and reading chairs where we lingered over tea every morning of our stay.
A dressing area separated the bedroom from the bath, with a good-sized closet stocked with robes and slippers. In this area was an ironing board and iron, laptop-sized in-room safe, and the coffee/tea setup. We appreciated that the room also had a small refrigerator, with the option of a mini-bar. (We much preferred The Brehan Bar downstairs!)
One thing we love about hotels in Europe is that you’re much more likely to have a tub, and our room at The Brehon had a large one. That deep, soaking-style tub is a welcome touch of luxury while traveling. The trade-off in our room was a rather small shower which, honestly, we used more than the tub.
The Full Irish: Dining at The Brehon
Another highlight during our stay at The Brehon Hotel was breakfast in the restaurant Danú. A large and tempting buffet is laid out daily, with American favorites, like pancakes, aside traditional Irish fare including Black and White Puddings. Of course, you can – and we did – order from the menu, featuring omelets, French Toast, and our favorite, the “Full Irish” breakfast. Truly, we ate too much every single morning!
Danú at The Brehon is better known for fine dining. Chef’s dishes highlight Irish products and seasonable vegetables, and include Vegan options. Though well rated and highly recommended, we didn’t get a chance to try dinner in the hotel restaurant, as we generally got back well after serving hours.
The Brehon Bar serves small plates and more substantial dishes. Fish and chips, burgers, and even Vegan offerings make the bar as tempting as the restaurant. Dressed G&Ts, and craft beers from across Ireland, won us over, but what set the bar apart was the service. The barmen went above and beyond for every request, going so far as bringing us Cappuccinos in the lobby after hours. You know how we are: Bring us a late coffee, and you are our hero!
Relaxing at The Brehon Hotel & Angsana Spa
What’s a luxury hotel without a spa, right? The highly-rated Angsana Spa is one of The Brehon’s top attractions. In fact, a Spa Break is one of the most popular reasons to check in! The menu of treatments includes simple massages, signature treatments, cleanses, facials, and more. 30-minute targeted treatments, such as a foot or head massage, start at €70. Looking for more? Pull out all the stops (and €195) for the 23 Carat Gold Rassoul deep cleaning, anti-aging, two-hour, full body treatment. We feel better just thinking about it!
The Vitality Suite at Angsana is complimentary for all adult guests. That includes the beautiful Vitality Pool, along with Hot and Cold Spas, and Tropical Rain showers. Our favorite would have to be the infused Herb Sauna, but you may prefer the Steam Room. Any good steam or sauna should be followed by a cold treatment: take your pick of ice or Kubleducshe. There are also nap-inducing loungers, meaning you’re going to want to spend considerable time in the Vitality Suite.
In our book, the Vitality Suite at The Brehon Hotel & Angsana Spa
is the very definition of affordable luxury!
Getting Out and About at The Brehon
We need to get one thing out of the way here: It’s great to stay at a four-star luxury hotel in Ireland, with incredible service and a great spa. It’s a pity to have planned so much that you barely get to enjoy it. And that sums up our stay at The Brehon Hotel!
We’re only halfway kidding. We would have loved to spend all day, every day enjoying the hotel. To be sure, people do! It’s “a thing” for Irish couples and families from all over the country. But the hotel is surrounded by so much to see and do, that it would be equally shameful not to get out to actually see and do.
Historic Ross Castle is less than 4-kilometers away, with Killarney Races and the Ross Golf Club in between. In the other direction lies the stunning Muckross House and Gardens. Beyond Muckross, Killarney National Park stretches along quiet Lough Leane. McGillycuddy’s Reeks, the highest mountain range in Ireland, lies in the background. This will be your view as you leave the hotel each day. These are The Brehon’s “exceptional surroundings.”
As mentioned, the Ireland National Events Center – or INEC – is just next door to The Brehon Hotel. This is one of the largest performance venues in Ireland, so it’s worth checking to see what concerts, productions or events may be happening during your stay. If you’re lucky, you may catch a Riverdance performance, or an intimate evening with U2! (Okay, it’s not likely, but it has happened before!)
On top of all that, charming Killarney is at the ready for shopping, dining, pubs, and nightlife. Our personal favorite is the area from The Shire, down Plunkett Street, to Main Street for a variety of shops, pubs, and restaurants. (There is free parking behind The Shire, and on College Street.) The Brehon is also a good base for day trips to the Ring of Kerry, the Dingle Peninsula, and the cities of Cork and Cobh.
Pro Tips for Staying at the Brehon Hotel & Angsana Spa
- The Superior Deluxe rooms feature bay windows or balconies with stunning views. Ours was on the third floor, just to the right of the main entrance as you look at the hotel. For our next stay, we’d like one of the balcony rooms above the lobby.
- Another luxurious feature of Superior Deluxe rooms is the separate dressing area, making it so much easier for two to great ready.
- At just €15 more, booking a room with breakfast included is a great affordable luxury.
- Booking direct on the hotel’s web site sometimes gets you a complimentary bottle of wine and box of chocolates! Another great affordable luxury.
- While the Vitality Suite is for adults only, families staying at The Brehon Hotel have complimentary access to The Aquila Club Leisure Centre at the neighboring sister hotel, The Gleneagle. Facilities include a Kid Club and Teen Zone with features geared to each age group.
- Nothing going on at the INEC? There is nightly entertainment in The Brehon Bar that’s worth checking out. Especially with crafted cocktails and yummy bar food!
- For an especially romantic excursion, hop in a Jaunting Car (a horse-pulled carriage) for sightseeing through Killarney, the forest, or to Muckross House. The front desk can arrange to have one pick you up!
Are you ready for The Brehon experience?
Did a stay at a luxury hotel in Ireland spoil us? Yes! We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at The Brehon Hotel, and would gladly return. Even though it’s one of Killarney’s best luxury experiences, the price is moderate, particularly when compared with hotels in Dublin. The food is a definite highlight, as is the staff. Rates start around €160, and we call that very affordable luxury, especially in a hotel of this caliber. The Brehon Way certainly made fans out of us.
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