Sheen Falls Lodge in Kenmare, County Kerry, Ireland, once the summer residence of the Marquis of Lansdowne and a fishing lodge, is a luxury hotel with the largest public wine cellar in Ireland.
Situated on 300-acres overlooking Sheen waterfalls and Kenmare Bay, the ambience at the 66-room and suite Sheen Falls Lodge, which opened in 1991, is soothing from the moment you enter the reception with the roaring fireplace burning brightly year round, to the sound of the water rustling over the rocks of the waterfalls as you sit on the terrace and admire the scenery.
Edward F. Nesta and I stayed at Sheen Falls Lodge in September 2007, in a large room overlooking Kenmare Bay. Our guestroom featured a king bed with a pickled wood and upholstered headboard in yellow and teal fabric with a small pink rose bud design that was dressed with a matching yellow and teal striped bedspread, a bench placed at the foot of the bed, and nightstands with cream ginger jar lamps with cream shades placed on either side of the bed.
Two comfortable chairs in cream faux suede flanked a wood and glass round table with a selection of books and magazines from their Library, crisp green apples, and decadent chocolates. Placed in front of the windows framed by floor to ceiling teal draperies, it was lovely to sit there and simply gaze out at the lovely view.
There was a desk chair and desk that discretely hid the mini-bar. Attention to guest comfort included a Philips HD flat screen television, Mitsubishi DVD player, SONY CD and tape player, and three CDs for our pleasure. In addition, there were complimentary CDs and DVDs available for our use from reception.
The closet held soft robes, slippers, an umbrella, safe, iron and ironing board, and trouser press, and the white and green Italian marble bath featured a long vanity with a large mirror over the double sinks, a combination tub and shower, Moulton Brown amenities, vanity mirror, hairdryer, and toilet and bidet.
We enjoyed strolling through the hotel and discovering the Library, an intimate room lined with books and magazines for the guests to use, and also a computer with Internet access where we checked our email, as well as making ourselves at home in the Study with a large conference table and another computer with Internet access.
The hotel offered wonderful surprises as we walked around and discovered their 1936 Buick Roadmaster, and their Gallery, which features art from local artists. The hotel also has an indoor swimming pool, fitness center, and Spa, which they will be enlarging in 2008. Fishermen will be interested to note that there is fishing on the grounds, 15 miles of salmon fishing on the river from March until September, and that the hotel will smoke the guest's catch on the premises.
The grounds of the hotel are quite impressive with Savannah Tennis Courts, Croquet lawn, and helicopter pad. Touring the grounds we took a hike along the "Queen's Walk" built for a royal visit from Queen Victoria, and walked in the Kenmare (Old) Burial Grounds lined with row after row of Celtic crosses.
After a relaxing tea on the terrace overlooking the Sheen waterfalls and the old stone bridge, we strolled along the hydrangea-lined banks looking for Oscar, the resident heron, named after their casual restaurant, Oscars Bistro, and also for the rare opportunity to see salmon and seals. Although we did not see Oscar on our stroll, when we returned to our room, I am happy to report that when I looked out the window, I did see two herons, which must have been Oscar and his lady.
In the early afternoon, we visited the Sun Lounge basked with streaming sunlight from the walls of windows and listened to piano music on the elegant white baby grand piano, as well as enjoyed the view from the Drawing Room, which overlooks MacGillycuddy Reeks, Ireland's highest range.
We had a wonderful dinner in their fine dining award-winning restaurant, La Cascade, which showcases the creative cuisine of Executive Chef Philip Brazil and the impressive wine cellar with over 10,000 bottles of wine, and over 1,000 different labels from 15 countries and 50 regions around the world, which is the largest public wine cellar in Ireland.
A few of the courses we sampled on Executive Chef Philip Brazil's creative menu included Sheen Falls Assiette Gourmande of Smoked Salmon and Sevruga Caviar; Fillet of Irish Beef on Garlic Creamed Potato, Caramelized Baby Onions, Baked Mushroom and Oxtail Pithivier, Sauce Béarnaise with Merlot Essence; and Chocolate Teardrop with Valhrona White and Dark Chocolate Mousse with Milk Chocolate Sauce.
Located only 1.5 km (.93 mile) from the town of Kenmare, Sheen Falls Lodge offered us the perfect base to explore Kenmare, County Kerry's first Heritage Town where we learned about the famous Kenmare lace at the Visitor Centre, visited the Ring of Stones, other historical sites, and browsed in the many quaint and charming shops.
Read about Sheen Falls Lodge in the Restaurants and Chefs' Recipes sections where Chef Philip Brazil shares a few of his recipes.
Sheen Falls Lodge
County Kerry, Ireland
Please read other articles on Ireland in the Destination, Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, Chefs' Recipes, Spas, Liquor Cabinet: Celtic Crossing Liqueur, Boru Vodka, Knappoque Irish Whiskey, Fashion, and Adventures sections.
For information on Ireland, please visit the website: Discover Ireland, www.DiscoverIreland.com or call them at 1-800-223-6470. For driving directions in Ireland, visit www.aaireland.com .
For information on Aer Lingus, please visit the website: Aer Lingus, www.AerLingus.com.
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