It's a life of luxury on the green.. JILLY BEATTIE Scores a hole in one on a relaxing weekend at Lough Erne Golf Resort.
IT was to be a weekend to remember. The sun was shining and we were taking our friends and soon-to-be-parents for a pre-baby boost at Lough Erne Golf Resort.
With one month before the big day, Lorraine and Niall had read all the howto chapters to month eight.
But a perilous peek at the pages covering month nine-plus led them to snap up their last pre-baby break in the absolute luxury of the new Co Fermanagh resort.
When we explained our plans to the nice folks at Lough Erne, they upgraded us unprompted to a two-bedroom loughside lodge, complete with spacious lounge and kitchen area.
By the time we zipped out of Co Down and reached the golf resort, the skies had clouded a little and a few spits of rain were threatening a downpour, but it remained warm.
It proved to be an interesting sweep through the resort gates outside Enniskillen for someone who has an allergy to golf yet managed to marry a golf addict.
Eagle-eyed Beloved spotted the original pro shop, then new pro shop, then a golfer and caddie.
The excitement proved too much and with his steering matching with his darting eyes, I felt a little car sick.
I do have a fool-proof cure for golf addiction but he won't hear of it. His clubs cost a fortune and apparently they cannot be accommodated where I suggest.
Anyhow we were not at one of the world's finest golf resorts to play golf, we were here to relax!
And as we landed into our lodge, he stared with awe out of the window and let out a long and contented sigh.
I felt just the same. There I was with my lovely husband and the view outdoors was incredible too.
Our living room looked directly over the lake complete with swans and a beautiful backdrop of ancient trees.
And with true love in his eyes, Beloved turned to me, held me a little closer and said: "Sweetheart, just look at that hole."
Number 18 apparently. Nicest hole he'd ever seen. I suggested the golf club trick again.
Lough Erne Golf Resort and Spa is a revelation in Northern Ireland. In fact there is simply nothing else like it on the island.
And it's not just the beauty of the amazing building, the incredible setting or the plush interior design developed by the locals Jim and Eileen Treacy.
In truth the glory of this resort is also a simple reflection of its staff because they are second to none.
From the moment we arrived we were treated like old friends with a level of respect and care that I found hugely endearing.
Overseen by Jonathan Stapleton, Master Innholder no less, the staff make-up at Lough Erne Golf Resort has gathered roughly 70 per cent experienced souls from local areas and 30 per cent from overseas.
The charm of Irish hospitality meshes beautifully with the slick approach of the other nationalities to give guests a magical combination.
And the mix of accents is lovely, Italian, French, English, South African... and even good old Coleraine. On our arrival we chilled out with some non-alcoholic wine for the girls, interspersed with gin for me, and the boys had some very excellent Guinness in our lodge.
And while they were weeping over the beauty of the rolling greens, Lorraine and I investigated the bathroom goodies. Let's just say they were very goodie indeed.
Lunch was a treat in the Blaney Bar, with great food from the cleverly named grazing menu. Comfortable seating with enough space for private conversation and was cosy enough to create a good atmosphere.
We were then offered a tour of the hotel and as Beloved and Niall worked out how to break the news they were joining the club, they took us on a soothing stroll around the grounds. Then with mum-tobe a little pink around the gills, we hoofed back to our terribly posh lodge and chilled out until it was time to splurge on those lovely bath salts and foams in our en suite bathrooms.
And just when we were beginning to believe we actually lived in our lodge fulltime, two lovely ladies arrived to offer a turn-down service in the bedrooms.
How could be say no? Cool water, dainty chocolates and an aromatic fruit basket added to the fun before we took the short walk to the elegant Catalina Restaurant headed by executive chef Noel McMeel.
We felt terribly special sitting at our fantastic table being so well looked after. But a swift glance around the beautiful restaurant revealed every table was in a prime spot and every diner was feeling just a little thrilled.
Mr McMeel delicately asked to make our menu choices for us and even this fanatical non-fish eater was won over by a little tian of crab. It was fantastic. All of it.
We finished our evening relaxing in the very comfortable lounge as dad-to-be launched into the whisky list like a child in a sweetie shop.
The following morning we treated ourselves to amazing treatments at the Thai spa which has eight treatments rooms.
Everything in the spa is genuine. The specialist Thai massage therapists and even the luxury Lau Erbe products, have all travelled from Thailand for our pleasure.
There is a traditional soak bath room, Monrea light and deep relaxation rooms, the infinity pool, crystal aroma steam area and an amazing room called a Rasul where guests have mud treatments applied.
Plus of course, there's a therapy sauna and an exotic rain shower. And we enjoyed an other relaxed lunch in the Blaney Bar before we headed home, chilled, very well fed, happy and ready for an other week ahead.
Our pennies had been well spent at Lough Erne on this perfect little holiday because the luxury, surroundings, setting and genuine hospitality combined to give us a perfect break.
And even with the threat of a return trip with the golf clubs on the books, Lough Erne has been put at the top of our list of things to.
As Niall and Lorraine set off for their 90-minute drive home, they felt truly prepared for a month of cot-building, nappy-buying and nursery-decorating.
Of course three days later Andrew William arrived, three-and-a-half weeks early weighting a whopping 9lbs 2oz and boasting a crop of gleaming blond hair.
We were tempted to call him Ernie after his pre-natal holiday at Lough Erne... but Mother knows best and you don't argue with a woman who can raise a single eyebrow with such finesse.
Facts for a fabulous break..
1 LOUGH Erne Golf Resort is the first AA 5-star and NITB 5-star resort in the north of Ireland
2 It was 120 bedrooms and suits including 25 luxury lodges and an authentic Thai Spa
3 It is situated on a 600-acre estate and is built on the shores of Castle Hume Lough, near Lough Erne
4 Two 18-hole golf courses are now open, one designed by champion golfer Nick Faldo to open on July
5 Dining on the resort is based on fresh ingredients from local suppliers whenever possible led by executive chef Noel McMeel who starred in the Great British menu TV show
6 The Gordon Wilson Library is great to relax in with a good book in front of the fire.
7 The Garden Hall with views over the glistening lough in an elegant area to enjoy traditional or chocolate afternoon tea
8 The Cygnets programme is a big experience for three to 11 year olds
9 The Blaney Bar to sit back and enjoy the local craic and the chef's exquisite grazing menu and exclusive Irish whiskey collection, and
10 Other activities include fly fishing and coaching, sailing, historical and cultural tours and walks within the 600-acre peninsula.
SUMMER Madness offer: Dinner, Bed and Breakfast at any time until the end of June 2009.
Minimum two night stay applicable and subject to availability.
Two Night Stay in a Lakeview Room.
Welcome Fruit Basket on arrival in your room.
Full Irish Breakfast each Morning.
Dinner on each evening of your stay in The Catalina Restaurant.
Use of the Thermal Suite and Infinity Pool.
The Collop Walk, located within the grounds of the Resort.
Rates from pounds 115 per person, per night.
Call 028 6632 3230 or check out www.loughernegolfresort.com
TEE-RIFIC: Lough Erne Golf Resort IMPRESSIVE: Picturesque surroundings of Lakeview Lodge SPA-CTACULAR: Infinity Pool DISHY DINNING: The Catalina Restaurant TIPPLE: The Blaney Bar EARLY: Baby Andrew almost arrived on trip
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Jun 13, 2009|
|Previous Article:||Orlandoooooooo; Life's a roller-coaster for ALAN JOHNSON...until he tries to sing.|
|Next Article:||SPORT ON TV.|