Belfast Telegraph

Portrush's Shola Coach House is named second best B&B in the world

By Lesley Houston

A converted coach house in Co Antrim has been rated the second best bed and breakfast in the world by travellers who have luxuriated within its idyllic and historic stone walls.

Shola Coach House in Portrush was singled out among the elite hostelries in the Travellers' Choice Awards, which honour the most outstanding places to stay.

The awards take into account the quality and quantity of traveller reviews and opinions and traveller ratings specific to each award category.

Packing a coach-load of wow factor, the property at Gateshead Road drips with character and boasts four individually-styled bedrooms, an enclosed stone secret garden and sumptuous interiors in every nook.

It is owned by Sharon and David Schindler.

The Schindler's Shola haven came second only to Millgate B&B in Masham, North Yorkshire.

The pair opened the business in 2012 after returning to Northern Ireland from New Zealand, and last year scooped the top award for their B&B in the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards.

When they found Shola it had already been transformed into its present-day idyll by the previous owners.

Dating to between 1840 to 1860, it is not your typical accommodation of its type. "I think when people think B&Bs in Portrush they think of the more traditional townhouse type, but ours is much more unique," Sharon said.

Seasoned travellers themselves, the couple are for the time being taking a break from their globetrotting and enjoying their new lives as B&B hosts.

"It's a lifestyle choice for David and I," Sharon said.

"We love travelling and meeting people but this way people come to us and we hear all their stories of their travels, which we love to hear as well."

Sharon said about 30% of their clientele hailed from the US and Canada and about the same came from the rest of the UK. Northern Ireland visitors account for about 20% of their patrons, while the remainder come from Europe.

Prices in peak season start from £45 per person per night while at other times, including at the moment, two nights can be snapped up by a couple for £144.

Visitors have been effusive in their praise of Shola on travel website Tripadvisor, which formed part of the award's voting process.

Shola caters for couples and families with children over 16 - but "nightclub revellers" are advised to go elsewhere.

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