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Review: Breathtaking views are jewel in the crown of five-star Lough Erne Resort

By Jackie Bell

There are many reasons to stay at the Lough Erne Resort in Co Fermanagh - you can play a round of golf, sample the delicious food, or relax in the luxurious Thai Spa - but the picturesque scenes surrounding the venue are what makes a visit unforgettable.

Lough Erne Resort is currently offering a range of new summer packages to cater for all tastes and interests, each designed to enhance you experience of the Fermanagh Lakelands.

I opted for the Walk Into Summer package which offers the a mid-week two night stay with a complimentary lunch picnic while you explore the surrounding Fermanagh Lakelands - and what a sight they are.

While driving into the grounds of the Resort one could be forgiven for being distracted by the scenes around them.

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The sun sets over the grounds of Lough Erne Resort, Co Fermanagh.

After experiencing a week of overcast grey skies that the Northern Ireland weather has become stubbornly known for, the clouds seemingly parted as soon as my guest and I entered the site with the sun shining for the remainder of the evening.

It is easy to get awestruck by the dramatically looming building that is the Lough Erne's main area, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the interiors held an intimate and cosy atmosphere among the plush decor of mahogany furniture, fireplace and luxurious carpets.

With a few guests relaxing in the main room off the reception area and the bustle of the on-site bar and restaurant providing a low hum of activity, the hotel itself felt welcoming and not as stifling as a five-star resort might suggest.

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The Lough Erne Resort, Co Fermanagh.

We were greeted at reception with a friendly smile as we checked in before our concierge Frank arrived to show us to our room.

A room with a view

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Luxurious beds at the Lough Erne Resort, Co Fermanagh.
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A room with a view at the Lough Erne Resort, Co Fermanagh.

While Frank helpfully explained all the functions and features of our beautifully decorated room, I fear he may have realised my guest and I were not completely paying attention as we were left stunned by the picturesque lake view from the window - our sincere apologies to Frank.

A sunny summer's evening set the scene as golfers finished off their last round of the day while other guests walked around the vast grounds, and we were more than happy to take it all in with awe.

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The sun sets over the grounds of Lough Erne Resort, Co Fermanagh.

Decadent dining

While we could have watched the world go by from the window for the remainder of our stay, we had a dinner reservation at the hotel's Catalina Restaurant - which has been awarded 3 AA Rosettes.

Chef Noel McMeel and his team are renowned in Northern Ireland for their exceptional dining experience overlooking Castle Hume Lough, and with the sun beginning to set as we took our seats in the vast restaurant space, this was an experience like no other.

I opted for the Fivemiletown Goat's Cheese starter with Armagh Apple Butter and Glazed Pecan, followed by the Chef's special of Pan Fried Irish Salmon with roasted Shallots and Potato Fondants and the Chocolate Delice for dessert.

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Chef's special Pan Fried Irish Salmon.
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Kettle Beef from the Catalina Restaurant.

My guest Sarah was having trouble deciding on what to order but thankfully our server Agathe was well informed on the menu and was able to explain dishes in more detail to allow Sarah to choose the Kilkeel Crab for her starter, followed by the Kettle Beef and the delicious Rhubarb Souffle for dessert.

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Coffee and treats at the Catalina Restaurant.

I confess I am not suitably adventurous when it comes to dining out and I especially would not order a rare fillet of beef as Sarah had - but after being coaxed to try a bite of her dish, I am now thankfully converted and also secretly pleased that I have managed to broaden my culinary tastes.

Our amazing dining experience was no surprise having done our research into the Catalina Restaurant before our visit, however we were nonetheless left in awe, and again the beautiful views from the restaurant window also played a part.

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Dessert: Rhubarb Souffle.
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Dessert: Chocolate Delice.

Cocktails and conversation

We followed dinner with cocktails in The Blaney Bar where our Cosmopolitans and Old Fashioneds were enjoyed amid the easy sounds of a live blues guitarist and relaxed atmosphere of buzzing conversations among the other guests.

However The Blaney Bar is not renowned for its cocktails as much as it is for its extensive whiskey menu - a pleasant surprise for Sarah who would consider herself a whiskey aficionado and once again delighted with the offerings of the Lough Erne Resort.

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Cocktails at The Blaney Bar.
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The sun sets over the grounds of Lough Erne Resort, Co Fermanagh.

A walk to remember

The main purpose of our stay was to experience the scenic walks around the Fermangh Lakelands and this was undertaken the following day, which began with a delicious cooked Irish breakfast at the Catalina Restaurant.

That afternoon we were given our packed picnic and a map of the grounds to aid us in our exploring endeavours.

Unfortunately the weather seemingly felt it had done enough during our first night at the Resort so we were met with a light drizzle of rain, but I doubt that would be enough to put anyone off exploring the area - this is an unforgettable experience.

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Our packed lunch during our walk around the Fermanagh Lakelands.

Beautiful, breathtaking, and mesmerising are all suitable words to describe the scene, but in truth it has to be seen to be believed.

The Lough Erne Resort is one of Northern Ireland's most luxurious hotels, where five-star hospitality is provided from friendly and well informed staff - as would be expected of anywhere with such prestigious accolades.

For whatever reason a guest chooses to stay at the location they will receive the very best, but what elevates the Lough Erne Resort even further is its location.

We are lucky to have many areas of natural beauty in Northern Ireland, and sights surrounding the Lough Erne Resort are among the best.

So whether you choose to take in the view on foot, by boat, or while playing a round of golf, it will be the perfect way to soak up the stunning summer views in what is an unforgettable experience.

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Lough Erne Resort, Co Fermanagh.

How to book:

For more information about the Lough Erne Resort visit www.lougherneresort.com

Summer packages:

Cruise into Summer – Guests can enjoy two nights bed and breakfast and a complimentary one hour cruise on the water ways. (From £148 pps)

Walk into Summer - Guests can enjoy two nights bed and breakfast and a complimentary lunch pack along with a map of the local walks. (From £148 pps)

Swing into Summer - Guests can enjoy two nights bed and breakfast and a complimentary round of golf on the Castle Hume golf course and the Top 100 Faldo course. (From £208pps)

Dinner at the hotel is not included in these offers, however use of the venue's Thai Spa , breakfast, and access to games and activities for children are complimentary.

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