I recently travelled for a 2 day, 2 night stay at the beautiful Trump Doonbeg, a distinguished 5-star destination, located on the Irish West Coast and with serenity like no other hotel I have visited. The Fam Trip was hosted by the lovely Kate Moss of GP Associates, and focused on the luxury and culture that this magnificent hotel and the surrounding area offers.
The hotel is 5* luxury set in the heart of coastal natural beauty and luscious landscape.
One is never short of activities on site and with 1.5 miles of coastline overlooked by the hotel, a gentle jog, dog walk and horseback ride (which I was fortunate enough to partake in) are the simplest of activities, that in contrast, take one’s breath away. With water at every turn, activities seem limitless from fishing to sailing, surfing to diving, and on land travelling by bicycle and hill-climbing has views quite extraordinary.
At 11am on Friday, a group of ten ladies embarked from Heathrow Airport for the short one-and-a-half-hour journey to Shannon Airport. After a luxury coach journey through countryside and admiring the stunning village houses (which I would compare to quaint dolls houses) we came to this beautiful resort in a quiet, peaceful corner of County Clare. At approximately 1.45pm we arrived and checked in at Doonbeg, only to find out that there was a problem with accommodating us and so some of us would have to lodge in the village…April Fools! The receptionist fooled us (and Kate!) for a moment and then we excitedly dispersed to our suites.
Our suites consisted of two floors and either two or three of us shared each suite. The lady that I shared with who slept downstairs had access to outside space and likewise, I had a large balcony, partitioned with my neighbours. On arrival the roaring fire was blazing and a representative gave my suitemate and I a tour of our rooms. It had such a rustic feel, comparable to a lodge and whilst all amenities were modern the suite had a timeless feel with comfortable soft furnishings and wooden beams.
At 2.30pm we reconvened for lunch in Trumps Bar & Restaurant and were met with champagne on arrival. Lunch consisted of an elaborate afternoon tea, including Salmon from the area, crab and cucumber sandwiches, a variety of cakes, sandwiches and desserts served by the friendliest of staff who I then saw at every turn in an array of roles, from waitress, to barmaid to sommelier the following night!
At 4.30pm I was first on the list for spa treatments at White Horses Spa as unfortunately, due to weather, our Golf Clinic with Doonbeg’s head pro, Brian Shaw had to be cancelled. Disappointing as that was on a prestigious golf resort, it was an issue that was out of everyone’s control, and with a group of 10 ladies, a spa visit was sufficiently welcomed! With the choice of treatments, I opted for a facial and felt completely rejuvenated after. I took the opportunity, being in the vicinity, to check out the spa facilities, and though small, less was definitely more. With two one-person Jacuzzis and a sauna and steam room within a few steps of each other it was the perfect proxemics to feel in an enclosed capsule of tranquillity (and great to chat to fellow agents, already friends). It was here, that I first realised how this resort had a setting that bonded strangers effortlessly and would work well for many a corporate enquiry. Though there was structure and organisation to our whereabouts, no plan ever felt formally forced and that would be a positive attribute that would transfer easily into a corporate group.
Whilst the spa time was being savoured, a drinks tasting was also taking place from whiskey to wine, with challenges and games incorporated. Our pre-dinner drinks reception took place in the Private Members Area also. We then departed to dine at Morrissey’s Restaurant offsite, the restaurant is well known in the area and with many courses of culinary delights and would be an ideal casual cultural stop for a small corporate dinner. Following Morrisey’s, post dinner entertainment followed in the Shebeen with Irish music and traditional storytelling with the Shanachie. On arrival we were greeted by the Shanachie who hosted the evening and orchestrated the relaxed and sometimes hilariously spontaneous organisation of the dancer, singer and three musicians. Our time in the Shebeen felt truly precious as it was visibly apparent how old the building was. To find a use, and a traditionally entertaining one at that, was refreshing along with the diversity of entertainers. The Shenachie was elderly but the other entertainers were teenagers and adults in their twenties in contrast. Songs came in many forms, from comedy to more traditional tales and legends of County Clare and the love and pride for their home County really shone through. Our evening ended at midnight, and we retired to bed, excited for day two’s activities.
Our day two breakfast was served in Ocean View Restaurant and near on each lady in the group had a different meal. The food was just as exquisite for breakfast as it was for afternoon tea, and after a hearty breakfast we were ready for our chosen activities: fishing, horse riding and kayaking. Surfing was on the cards, but alas due to weather, kayaking became the substitute. I couldn’t have been more excited for horse riding and was part of a group of 3 other ladies. Horse riding took place on the sandy beach, the stretch in which the resort overlooks, and whilst I am not well-acquainted with horse riding, the walk gave such a sense of freedom and peacefulness that, in my opinion, is incomparable. There was a range of skill levels within our group of riders that didn’t matter at all. The leader gave us all guidelines to stick by, and again, this struck me as a simple activity that would be ideal for a small corporate group. Not a complex, energetic exercise but unique enough to be memorable for life.
Once all groups had reconvened from their activities we lunched in Ballyvaughan at a well-known fish and chip shop and stopped off for a 45 minute stop at the famous Cliffs of Moher which were undoubtedly the most prominent views of the trip. The cliffs are among the top-visited tourist attractions in Ireland and it’s easy to see why. A visit to the Cliffs of Moher is an absolute must for a visit to Trump Doonbeg.
On arrival back at base, we had a tour of the facilities to see the variety of accommodation and meeting space the resort has to offer and made our way to dinner at Trumps Bar & Restaurant. To complete the Fam Trip with a hotel dinner may seem somewhat of an anti-climax, but not in this hotel. We had yet to have dined here of an evening (which, again was phenomenal) but the sunset that we looked upon behind the hotel, was enough to make us clamber to the door and gaze at the beauty over the sea. The cameras came out and we were fortunate to capture us all together, with the most beautiful setting thus far, at this poignant moment when we were reminiscing over the visit. The evening continued to an Irish Coffee making challenge which was most enjoyable and the group retired to the bar and bed for an early leave the next morning.
To conclude, this resort would be ideal for a corporate group and a justified location wildcard at only a short flight from London. Whilst the hotel adapted activities and dining to our small numbers, this resort could certainly accommodate much more. It’s a location that would most definitely entice city-escapees and golfers alike, but a corporate group would feel the most at home, in my opinion. I am ever so grateful to be part of group that experienced this unlikely destination, because this quaint, quiet and quintessential destination is an absolute gem.
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