Nature Beckons – a memorable stay at Killeavy Castle Estate Hotel and Spa

Seeking a trip where nature and luxury is available in abundance? Mars Webb visits Killeavy Castle Estate Hotel and Spa – a haven of a stay  

Seeking a weekend getaway to celebrate my friend’s birthday, I wanted somewhere close to Belfast that offered a spa, served high-quality food and  really had something special in terms of nature with great walks.

Killeavy Castle Estate Hotel was the perfect choice. Nestled in the eastern foothills of Slieve Gullion in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, the setting is serene and beautiful, with a magical forest and excellent walking trails. For those craving a more vigorous activity, there’s a fantastic hiking route up Slieve Gullion. 

Nestled in the eastern foothills of Slieve Gullion in County Armagh, Northern Ireland

The scenic drive up to the hotel and the warm welcome upon entering Killeavy Castle set the tone for a relaxing weekend. Sarah, from the front desk, took pride in sharing the history of the building and gave us a tour before settling us in the bar for a meal. 

Sleive Gullion Killeavy Castle Estate Hotel and Spa 9540
Slieve Gullion

Wellbeing in Abundance 

In addition to walking and hiking trails, the hotel offers various wellbeing activities, from forest bathing and yoga retreats to cycling, guided walks, and cookery experiences. There are also seasonal activities provided by the hotel. 

Exceptional Comfort and Charm 

At Killeavy Castle, attention to detail, comfort, and charm are abundant from the moment you arrive until you leave, making you feel genuinely welcomed and valued as a guest.

The hotel is steeped in history and has been cleverly and considerately restored. The main hotel, with 45 bedrooms, was originally a Mill and Coach House. The building has been lovingly transformed, enticing guests to take in the sweeping views of the Estate. 

Historical Elegance 

Perched above the hotel is Killeavy Castle, a stunning Grade A listed building with gothic glamour and exquisite interiors, including a beautiful dining room available for private hire.

The Castle is self-contained with four bedrooms, bathrooms, and a charming old-fashioned bath in one of the turrets. Stone walls, hanging tapestries, rich fabrics, and plush four-poster beds add to the allure.

Weddings take place in the Castle, separate from the main hotel building, making it ideal for both the wedding party and other hotel guests who prefer not to be disturbed. 

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Killeavy Castale estate hotel double room

Rooms to Relax In 

There are numerous lovely spaces to sit and relax throughout the hotel. The décor is modern yet warm, thoughtfully blending the old mill building’s walls painted in soft greys, burnt oranges, and sage greens, complementing the surrounding landscape.

The main hotel has 45 bedrooms; ours was spacious and contemporary, fully equipped with a well-stocked bathroom featuring Rituals beauty products, a coffee machine, and a mini-bar.

magnificent large windows with views over the countryside

Celebrating a special birthday, the hotel kindly upgraded our room. Room 305 was beautiful, spacious, and offered magnificent large windows with views over the countryside. 

As well as the main hotel and the castle there are other rooms within the grounds including a Gatelodge, a Woodside Residence and a Cottage and which are dog friendly – but do check before you book.  

Food to Feast On 

The hotel boasts a bistro and the main restaurant. On the first night, we dined at Gullion At Killeavy, the main restaurant. Head Chef Darragh Dooley’s food was simply incredible.

We enjoyed the four-course tasting menu, although a seven-course tasting menu with wine pairings is also available. The Taste of The Estate menu was innovative, exquisite, and a truly special experience.

The staff were knowledgeable, passionate, and took pride in ensuring we enjoyed our dining experience. 

The bistro offers a more relaxed atmosphere and menu, with wonderful food made from estate and local ingredients. Killeavy Castle Estate provides an exceptional farm-to-fork dining experience, worth the trip just for the food. 

One really does judge a hotel on its breakfasts and Killeavy did not disappoint.  They were wonderful with lots to choice.  A continental buffet offering a variety of fruits, juices, and pastries, along with estate meats. Alternatively, you can order freshly cooked items from the menu, like pancakes or Eggs Benedict. 

READ MORE: St Michaels Resort – the ultimate staycation for spa lovers & adventure seekers

Killeavy Castle estate hotel spa

The Spa at Killeavy 

The spa, though not large, has everything you need. Beautifully designed, and like everything at Killeavy there is attention to detail, coupled with accommodating and amazing staff.

My friend and I enjoyed one of the best massages we’ve had in a long time. Using Elemis products at the Spa which I love, we both had the  ‘Hot Mineral Boost Body Massage’ which was heavenly and incredibly relaxing. The treatments rooms are beautiful, again carefully designed, with heated beds and small details that make all the difference.  

The spa includes a hydro pool, Tylarium (sauna), outdoor hot tub, aroma showers, a cold bucket shower, and a relaxation suite stocked with teas, fresh fruit, and water. We loved it and Emma who was my therapist was amazing.   

My friend and I enjoyed one of the best massages we’ve had in a long time

Although the spa is compact at Killeavy you book a slot before you go in so so it doesn’t get too busy which is lovely and both times we were there we actually ended up having the whole spa to ourselves as we went in at 5.30pm.  

Commitment to Sustainability 

Killeavy Castle Estate is committed to sustainability, with ongoing efforts to plant over 35,000 American Pine and Spruce trees and a vision to be carbon neutral. The hotel embraces eco-conscious practices, sourcing produce on-site or locally where possible and it is constantly striving to improve  energy efficiency, and working to eliminate single-use plastics.

The farm shop is lovely with lots of local goodies, ice creams as well as local meats from the estate’s 365 acres.   reinforcing their dedication to preserving the area’s beauty and sustainability. 

A Memorable Stay 

Killeavy Castle is truly special. We met several guests who return year after year, drawn by the tranquillity, comfort, and nurturing atmosphere. I plan to return and would even travel just to dine at Gullion At Killeavy. 

Killeavy Castle Estate, located in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, is accessible from both Dublin and Belfast airports, each about an hour away.

Rates vary, with package deals for spa packages, B&B, and dining experiences.

The Killeavy Spa prices are reasonable.

Full website: Killeavy Castle

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