There have been quite a few 'pinch yourself' moments of late 'round these parts and an invitation that plopped on the mat last month is no exception. 'Two days on the private island resort of Lusty Beg', it said, 'Bring a loved one', it said, 'HOLY #@*%* MOLY' I said - before promptly packing a bag and a pal and taking RDC up on this incredible offer.
|Access to the Island is Only By Ferry - As per Chris De Burgh's solemn advice, |
we didn't pay the Ferryman. Sozzles.
From the minute we set foot on the island we were treated like royalty. Staff were chatty and helpful but never intrusive. We were given soup and sambos to warm our cockles before the days activities. That's not a welcome you often get in hotels. Once our tums were full and introductions made, we could very happily wander the trails or sit by the log fire in the bar sipping drinks. I recommend both, in that order.
|The Welcome Drink Was Very Welcome Indeed - 2 Lusty Ladies for 2....|
Even though 60 people had arrived en masse, all requests for clay pigeon shooting, archery and off-roading were dealt with, with ease. Every whim to take a spin on Lough Erne in a high powered boat, seen to without fuss. All the while the 8-strong team of beauty therapists pampered and preened guests with one spa appointment after another. I can imagine no party or group booking would be too large not to be comfortably accommodated here.
|The Island Spa Uses Only Irish Organic Fave Voya|
|A Few Lengths Or A Few More Lusty Ladies Before Dinner - First Answer Only|
Accommodations are all water-side and come in the form of chalets, lodges, cabins and en-suite rooms. All boast stunning lake views, no matter the weather, and all surrounded by 75 acres of woodland. It's an island idyll, eons apart from any I've ever experienced.
|Imagine Sharing One of These Bad Boys With a Group of Pals for New Years - IMAGINE!|
|Don't Be Fooled, Those Amorous Swans Are Actually the Softest Towels You've Ever Felt. |
I KNOW. Magic.
Lisa (my 'loved one' of choice AKA my bestie) and I were keen to sample a little of everything Lusty Beg had to offer, so after limited libations we took to the off-roading jeeps to try our hands at clay pigeon shooting. It took a minute to get used to but the lads are on hand to instruct you and, by Jove, we had a literal blast once we got the hang of it!
|#lifeprotip Use the Loo BEFORE Off Roading!|
|Add Tweed & Some Tally Hoes and We Could be Posh Peeps - WE COULD!|
Once the days activities were complete, it was back to the power shower to ready ourselves for the evening ahead. Our itinerary said 'Cocktails and nibbles in The Thatch before a gala dinner'. To The Thatch we went. Turns out it's a dinky little bar, the ideal meeting place for guests before dinner as people can arrive at different times and join the ebb and flow of conversation. Great idea.
While we mingled and chatted with the fellow guests, we also had the opportunity to get to know the owners, the Cadden family. Arthur & Liz, along with their son run this destination resort and couldn't have been more passionate in their recanting of tales of memorable nights and days spent on the island. When I queried the lack of WiFi (I'm my son's mother, I can't help it) Arthur proffered: 'No, there isn’t WiFi readily available, but that’s not what we’re here for. There is free connectivity in the bar and The Thatch but other than that this is a place for rest and relaxation' – I thought that a bold move in this hyper connected world but he has a point. Isn’t that what #latergram is for anyway? Once you learn to put down the phone, the real relaxation begins. You're in the moment and loving it. Hat tip to Arthur there.
Our gala dinner was in the restaurant with Arthur and his family and the food was on point. Every course more delicious than the last, so much so that we had to consciously slow down with each dish, afraid we'd ruin ourselves for the next. Once full to the brim, it was into the bar for a night of craic agus ceol. It's what the best nights are made of and that particular one will stay with me for a very long time.
|Pulled Piggy from the Lunch Menu - My FAVE!|
The morning after the night before was bright and beautiful. The haze from the previous day had lifted and we got to see Lough Erne in all her glory. People pay huge money to wake to a view like this one and I'd happily pay it to experience it again for a long weekend.
Our treatments were booked for the morning time so we made our way back to the Island Spa across the courtyard. Even though it's a fully functioning, constantly busy treatment centre, you feel as though you're one of a select few walking through the doors. Outside rooms and relaxation areas mean you're only ever in the company of a few others and that's pretty calming. I had a pedicure with Leah, one of the friendliest and chattiest nail techs I've met and left much lighter on my feet than I went in.
|Our Morning View on the Way For Some Pampering|
When I visit a hotel, a salon or clinic with my press cap on, I often wonder if the incredible treatment received is simply because of that cap. It can be difficult to know if you had of rocked up as a paying guest, whether your experience would be on a par.
When I checked in on Lusty Beg using my personal Facebook, a colleague commented that she'd been married on the island, 4 years previously. It was only in hearing about her experience and, her fond memories of the place and her incomparable treatment, that I realised, everyone feels a little bit of magic on this island resort. That's pretty huge in this day and age.
While it's predominantly marketed as a wedding venue and quite rightly so, I can also see special birthday gatherings, reunions, hens, stags, team building days or New Years shenanigans finding a very happy home here. The possibilities really are endless.
Winner of Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence 2013, I'm only sorry Corrina, our travel expert (& the top 1% read on Tripadvisor dont'cha know?) couldn't travel with us as she was so close to giving birth to Bubs number 5. While experiencing the magic of childbirth, she missed the magic of this unique holiday setting. You know what that means, don't you? Return trip!
You'll find further info and be tempted by the latest offers for Lusty Beg on their site HERE. What are you waiting for?
*Huge thanks to both RDC and
Lusty Beg for this unique and
thoroughly appreciated trip.