Pulling our rental car into the street side parking in Ballina, I was struck at the marked contrast of this modern boutique hotel from our prior castle and manor house stays. The Ice House Hotel & Chill Spa is another one of Ireland’s Blue Book properties, but it is unique in that it seamlessly blends old Ireland with the new.
Four heritage rooms keep the Ice House Hotel hooked to its salmon fishing lines, when the historic property served as an Ice House for storing salmon in the basement, as well as housing the manager of the Moy Fishery Company upstairs. As it did in the 19th century, the house still sits in a strategic location on the Quay, perched on the edge of the River Moy. Featuring 32 bedrooms and suites, the newer rooms reflect the four star hotel’s chic focus on modern luxury.
We stayed in the Nugget Suite, one of eight spa suites on the River Moy. With floor to ceiling picture windows looking out to the River Moy, the view is sweet! All rooms feature goose down duvets and pillows, king beds and most rooms include separate bath and shower. The ample sized suites offer balconies and same level access to the decadent Chill Spa. What I liked best about this stylish property is that all hotel guests have complimentary access to Chill Spa’s garden and thermal area.
Guests may lounge in the relaxation room, looking out to the river. Enjoy the outdoor barrel sauna, two outdoor cedar clad hot tubs by the spa garden and River Moy and then retreat to the steam room and rain shower.
All these pleasures without the expense of a spa appointment. However, if this is a splurge trip, romantic weekend, or girlfriend getaway, you’ll want to book a massage or facial in advance. I tried the deep tissue massage for 60 minutes of pampering. Ninety Euro well spent for a luxurious treatment with Voya Spa products. An added bonus, the shampoo, conditioner & organic seaweed body lotion, made in nearby Sligo, Ireland, are complimentary in all hotel rooms!
The hotel utilized local vendors whenever possible, from the blankets on the beds and in the spa, manufactured by next door neighbor Foxford Woolen Mills (worth a visit) to local produce, meats, fish and poultry on the menu.
Make a dinner reservation at on-site Pier Restaurant with Chef Anthony Holland at the helm. Try the Irish beef fillet with baked field mushrooms, Cachel blue (cheese) glaze with a peppercorn sauce, the local salmon or seared lamb.
There’s plenty to do along the Wild Atlantic Way. Kayak River Moy, head to the 7 mile beach, 10 minutes drive from the hotel, golf at two local championship courses, go fishing, horseback riding, or take an easy walk to town and experience Irish trad music in The Auld Shebeen or catch Sheila Moffatt School of Irish Dancers at The Broken Jug as we did on St. Patrick’s Day. No matter where you wander, you’ll be met with genuine Irish hospitality.
Need to know:
7:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Saturday & Sunday
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily
6:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. daily
Early Bird Dinner from 6:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. Sunday – Friday three course meal for $28
Rates range from $159 to $318. Seasonal rates fluctuate throughout the year. Check the website for current pricing. The Ice House is a member of Ireland’s Blue Book.
To experience the Wild Atlantic Way, head to nearby Sligo and visit Voya Day Spa – where the world famous skincare products are made. If you don’t have the time, spa guests are able to purchase Voya products at a discount. I broke my carryon only rule to bring home their moisturizer. If I’d had room in my luggage, I would have picked up several of the gorgeous blankets from Foxford Woolen Mills. Visit the website for more details. For additional insider tips follow luxury travel writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter or Instagram @Nancydbrown and @IceHouseMayo on Twitter and Ice House Mayo on Instagram.
If You Go:
The Ice House
Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland
The Ice House Hotel review, YouTube video and all photography by travel writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of The Ice House while visiting County Mayo in Ireland, however, all opinions are my own.