A New Year’s trip to the blustery seaside.

January 3, 2013

After an absolutely brilliant Christmas, Mr G-S and I took ourselves away to the Slieve Donard Hotel and Spa for our present to each other. We decided back in November that instead of buying actual presents, we would take advantage of a Travelzoo offer which was a deal for bed,breakfast and a 3 course meal at the Slieve Donard in the seaside town of Newcastle, Co.Down for £120.


A lion guards the entrance.

R was despatched around the corner to his grandparents and we headed down the road for our first night away somewhere together since way before he was born. It took about an hour driving from Belfast so it really did feel like a proper wee holiday!

I’ve been to the Slieve Donard before, with some girlie friends, and the room we had then was very swanky, with sea views, and fluffy robes and slippers to use to go to the spa.  So, I was a little disappointed when we arrived at our room this time as it was very different – slightly old-fashioned, with a great view of the…er… car park!  But it was clean, a reasonable size and the bed was very comfortable. For the price we paid though I couldn’t really complain.


The imposing Mourne Mountains dominate the main street.

We decided to go for a pint somewhere and had a walk along the lovely promenade, which was opened about 7 years ago, but it was very blustery so we just went for a lovely coffee (and chocolate cake) in the nearby Savoy Cafe. The town was buzzing was families and lots of places were open, despite it being New Years Day.

After this we went to use the spa facilities at the hotel. These facilities are top class. We used the pool, hot tub and sauna and had a great time. It had been a long time since either of us had been swimming and we really enjoyed it.

After a quick shower we went down to the restaurant for dinner. As our meal was part of a special package, we were given a special menu with 3 choices for starter, main and dessert. The restaurant is quite pricey usually so this menu was an excellent bargain. I started off with fish cakes of salmon and crab, served with mayo and rocket. They were a little dry but nice.

Mr. G-S opted for a melon started which came with coconut sorbet and raspberry coulis. It was a little dessert-ish but refreshing and simple.

We both chose the pork dish for a main. I’ve only started eating pork in the last few months and really like it. The dish was a pork chop, pork belly, potato croquette and braised red cabbage. It was nice but again, the pork was a little dry and over cooked. The dinner came with a bowl of seasonal vegetables which was lovely.

The entrance to the hotel.

The entrance to the hotel.

Dessert was banana and chocolate cheesecake which, while not mind-blowingly good, was pleasant enough and a nice end to the meal. We washed it all down with a lovely Pinto Grigio and coffee afterwards. The service was great and we had a lovely table by the window. After a few beers in the bar we retired to bed for some blissful sleep without a noisy toddler waking us. There was a wedding on in the hotel and it was very busy so there was a bit of noise with kids running up and down and people being drunk and loud but it wasn’t too bad.

We had a leisurely breakfast the next morning and there was a massive selection of things to eat, from cereals and yogurts to a full fry or Danish pastries. All ingredients (where possible) are sourced locally, which is a nice touch.

We drove up the road home happy after our time away but looking forward to seeing our wee son as we had missed him a lot! He had slept through the night (for once) and had a great time so we were all relaxed and refreshed, ready to face the new year. Myself and Mr.G-S. will hopefully get another wee night away soon, while we have the chance and willing babysitters!

2013 has got off to a great start, I’m feeling very positive about lots of things and ready to get on with my New Year’s resolutions (the usual eat less, exercise more kind of stuff). Long may it continue!

2 Responses to “A New Year’s trip to the blustery seaside.”

  1. Are crabs not shellfish? Just wondering about your suspected allergy…did you have a RED reaction? 🙂

    • Haha! Well, I got tested at the Drs for all sorts of allergies and everything came back negative so I just thought that the fish cakes sounded too delicious to turn down. Thankfully I didn’t get a reaction, that would not have been too romantic 🙂

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