A fine food and fine wine weekend with the beautiful backdrop of County Mayo? Sounds like a fine time to me!
Knockranny House Hotel and Spa overlooks the vibrant yet picturesque town of Westport as well as the calm blue waters of Clew Bay on the Atlantic Ocean.
From the award-winning La Fougère restaurant you have an unrivalled view of Croagh Patrick, which dominates the skyline and is a sight you could not tire of looking at.
Knockranny House Hotel opened in May 1997 as the first
four-star luxury hotel in Westport, owned by husband and wife Adrian and Geraldine Noonan, with the aim of providing excellent service and fine dining from the outset.
The hotel is situated on the outskirts of the town and offers the relaxing Spa Salveo and 40 luxury bedrooms, including a range of sumptuous suites from the Presidential and Penthouse suites to a number of excellent Master and Courtyard suites.
The culinary excellence of award-winning head chef Seamus Commons is one of the major selling points for a stay here.
Arriving on the Friday night, myself and my fiancée Jennifer were treated to a lovely relaxing meal in the Brehon Bar before jumping in a taxi to see what the town of Westport had to offer.
Our friendly taxi driver bought us to Matt Molloy’s, named after its famous Irish musician owner and band member of The Chieftans, where we were lucky enough to see the man himself play a traditional session.
Then it was back to the hotel for another great piece of musical entertainment in the bar, where we were served by the wonderful and friendly bar staff.
Following a delightful breakfast in the hotel we headed into the town for a spot of shopping and sightseeing around Clew Bay before heading back to a wine-tasting event in the hotel.
We were treated to some of the best wines from around Europe, which were introduced to us by the vineyard owners themselves. During the wine masterclass we were informed as to what foods the wines best accompany and the flavours within the body of the wine to look out for, as well as being given some advice on storing the wines.
After quite a busy morning it was time to make use of Spa Salveo, the Irish Tatler Readers Choice 2011 award-winning spa that offers a therapeutic vitality pool, herbal sauna, scented steam room and salt brine inhalation room, the perfect place to wind down before indulging in the nine-course Wine Weekend tasting menu.
Nine sumptuous and wonderfully-cooked courses arrived, each course was probably the best plate of food I had ever tasted... until the next course came to the table! Smoked salmon crumbs, crab roll, smoked eel with lobster, rab
bit loin, truffle, black pudding and rabbit leg croquette. After that came smoked and cured wild Irish venison with pickled pear and then came the daube of beef, pomme purée, seared foie gras and horseradish chantilly with braised roots.
The nicest piece of beef I have ever tasted, it just fell apart in my mouth, from here on in ruining any beef dish I ever eat because I just do not think I will get beef as tasty as that again.
Then came the dessert, which made me want to break etiquette for any fine dinning restaurant and lick the plate (thankfully for myself and what would have been a very embarrassed fiancée, I had enough restraint).
For each of the meat courses on the menu there was an alternative vegetarian option cooked to the same standard and with the same care as the meat dishes, which kept my vegetarian partner very pleased indeed.
Leaving that Sunday, Jennifer and I were left in no doubt as to why the Knockranny House Hotel and Spa is recognised as one of Ireland’s finest luxury four-star deluxe hotels and spa establishments and was awarded the AA Hotel of the Year for 2012-2013.
It’s a chance for you to enjoy a little piece of heaven, only a short drive from Northern Ireland.
Knockranny House Hotel & Spa, Westport, Co Mayo. Tel: 003539828600. Web: www.knockrannyhousehotel.ie
MIDWEEK PACKAGE Two nights’ bed and full Irish breakfast. This package also includes a full table d’hôte dinner menu on one evening in the award-winning La Fougère restaurant. Prices in may May from €139 per person sharing and July/August €175 per person sharing.
WEEKEND PACKAGE Same twonight package as above. May from €179 per person sharing. July / August from €205 per person sharing.
GIRLY ESCAPE PACKAGE Two nights B&B with one Table D' Hôte dinner in La Fougère restaurant, together with two hours of luxurious spa treatments:
Back of body massage (back, neck, shoulder and back of legs massage)
Rejuvenating ageless facial including hand and arm massage and pressure point scalp massage
Hydrating aromatherapy cocoon
Enjoy complimentary access to Spa Salveo's Vitality Pool and Thermal Suites. Prices in May from €239 per person sharing. July / August from €259 per person sharing