IT’S the little issues that may imply essentially the most, depart the longest-lasting impression and make us yearn for extra.
When these little issues come as commonplace, it’s straightforward to agree with the Culloden Property and Spa’s declare that it’s match for a king. ‘Constructed for a Bishop — Match for a King’ is the tagline of the Belfast lodge; the jewel within the Hastings Lodge Group’s crown.
The five-star luxurious property comes into sight from excessive within the Holywood Hills, and with its breathtaking views of Belfast Lough, romance will most undoubtedly be within the air.
Initially constructed as an official palace for the bishops of Down, the Culloden boasts acres of gorgeous, secluded and completely manicured gardens and woodland, good for somewhat lovers’ stroll.
Palatial environment, beautiful decor, wonderful antiques and distinctive service mix to present the Culloden Property and Spa a novel air of magnificence.
With luxurious delicacies, luxurious spa and, for good measure, roaring open fires, the property supplies every thing wanted to actually impress that somebody particular — make them really feel like royalty amongst regal settings.
There isn’t any shock that the Culloden was chosen by the England soccer workforce as their base for a global sport in opposition to Northern Eire, or that visiting world leaders corresponding to Invoice Clinton and Tony Blair have chosen the property as their northern base.
From lengthy earlier than our arrival, no request was too massive, small or ridiculous as I appeared to plan a particular breakaway for my pregnant accomplice Nicola — a ‘child moon’ (no, I hadn’t heard of it both).
Sure, it was indulgent and, almost definitely, one thing concocted by pregnant ladies all over the world in current occasions as an excuse to be spoilt. But spoilt they need to be, and when the Culloden was beneficial, plans started to take form.
The keep concerned an in a single day within the Blackwood Suite, with dinner in Vespers and what was described by a buddy because the “greatest breakfast in Eire”.
An especially daring declare, however extra of that later, and after checking in and touring our spectacular suite overlooking the lough, we made our option to the spa for a dip within the pool, a spell within the steam room for me, and a pair of massages.
The discomfort that comes with seven months of being pregnant quickly disappeared as we relaxed within the pool. Throughout our go to, the Jacuzzi was sadly out of service, however our remedies — a mum-to-be therapeutic massage and a full physique — offered any stress aid we would have wanted… and recent fruit and a peppermint tea had been additionally loved within the peaceable spa.
What added to the tranquility was the truth that the climate was not taking part in ball, with winds howling throughout the lough and rain battering the outsized sash home windows in our Blackwood Suite.
However that relentless arduous rain, allied with the gale blowing in, solely added to our ranges of leisure as workers waited on us hand, toes and the remainder of our our bodies.
Trying again now, it’s with such fondness that we bear in mind our keep as, with simply days to go earlier than Christmas, it really felt that magic was within the air.
From the fires to the beautiful garlands and wreaths all through the property, not solely had been we relaxed and really a lot loved-up, however made to really feel as if we had been essentially the most particular visitors, with that theme persevering with by means of to dinner.
We had one thing to rejoice because the ‘child moon’ continued to Vespers restaurant — with the workforce on obligation solely wanting becoming a member of us as they appeared to bask within the joyous glow.
Restaurant supervisor Sam Denning and workers member Bailey Quinn had been good from the second we arrived. Awaiting us had been cocktails, mocktails and chocolate-dipped berries — which must wait because the pair took us by means of our eating choices.
Nicola saved it seasonal, following the goat’s cheese starter with a turkey and ham Christmas dinner and sticky toffee pudding dessert, whereas I plumped for the parfait and succulent beef dish.
All the pieces was completely ready, cooked and offered, whereas there was no emphasis on time with the workers as we continued to spend the night in our personal little bubble.
Tasked with recommending a crimson wine that will accompany each the meat and the cheeseboard I might order, Sam delivered in spades.
Completely arrange for dessert, he gave us the choice of having fun with our fondue berries within the magnificent drawing room in entrance of the fireplace earlier than the arrival of my cheeseboard.
An beautiful collection of flavours, it actually didn’t disappoint and introduced an finish to our unforgettable night as we retired again to the Blackwood.
With best-laid plans having been scuppered the night earlier than, the climate gods fortunately obliged the subsequent morning and we took somewhat stroll across the magnificent grounds of the property.
It’s all it’s cracked as much as be and made for some glorious snaps, with the stretching of our legs working up the appetites for this “greatest breakfast in Eire”.
Because it turned out, a four-course breakfast was completely loved, with Bushmills-infused porridge adopted by bacon and maple syrup pancakes and an ideal full-Irish.
Though we arrived comparatively late for breakfast, once more there was no hurry and Sam took us by means of the components that made up our meal.
All the pieces is traced again to the best native sources, all the way down to the milking of the cows and the bees who present the honey, making the meals that bit tastier.
It is going to be some time earlier than the award-winning breakfast can be topped. From minute one, the Culloden was good and made for a particular setting on a special occasion.
The climate could have tried it’s greatest to throw a spanner into the works of my marriage proposal to Nicola, however fortunately our hosts went above and past to make sure I had essentially the most unbelievable stick with my new fiancee.
And for that, we’ll at all times bear in mind our magical journey to the Culloden.