More about Castle Leslie Estate
Equine Heaven at Castle Leslie
My husband treated me for my birthday to a Saturday night stay at the Hunting Lodge Castle Leslie, the "Equine Reward" package - bed, breakfast, dinner & ride (various options available eg cross country, hack, or lesson).
The rooms are all individually named, we were staying in "Saphire" and it was really nicely decorated with a huge comfy bed, flat screen tv, claw foot bath and separate big shower in the ensuite. The only addition that could have improved it would have been an in-room fridge (we were very thirsty after our horse rides).
The common areas of the hotel are also tastefully decorated and furnished, the bar has a lovely open fire, and the restaurant is charming with a tasty menu that should satisfy everyone in the family (they even do pizzas!).
One word of warning to anybody riding - do not overestimate or exaggerate your riding abilities. Castle Leslie does not have typical riding school or trekking centre mounts, they have good quality horses that will give you a challenging ride. The 2 hour cross country ride is fantastic but not for the faint hearted - you will be jumping in and out of the lake, over table top jumps and galloping up hillsides, and whilst there is always a non-jump option you do have to keep up, and there is no turning back! Some of the people out on the ride with me, who all claimed to be experienced riders, had problems - one even fell off into the lake and spent the last hour of the ride soaking wet!
The Castle Leslie Hunting Lodge is expensive but I believe it is worth every penny - great location, fab rooms, tasty food, lovely staff, and quality horses. And if that isn't your thing I hear the spa is great too.
what a birthday!
A group of 18 family and friends went to Castle Leslie for my 40th birthday. We booked 2 self catering cottages, well cottages were not the correct description, they were mansions! The self catering accomodation is located in the village 3-4 minutes walk from the hotel complex which is in the castle grounds.
Our cottages well extremely well stocked with toiletries, bedlinen and cleaning supplies.
We ate in the hotel bar the first night and in the restaurant the next. Both served delicious food but the bar would have been my favourite for both value for money and atmosphere.
I had booked a full day at the health spa and had a ball. Therapists were very professional and welcoming and I truly enjoyed all treatments.
The grounds are gorgeous for a lovely walk.
A fantastic place to go to get away from it all.
Bliss in 1000 acres
Having had a previously disappointing stay in Castle Leslie, I decided that it deserved a second chance and my partner and I stayed there on Sunday Night , May 11th.
We stayed in the Club at the Castle itself and on arrival were met at the door and escorted to our room. It was enormous with amazing views over the lake. the bathroom had a freestanding bath tub which also over looked the lake.
I went horse riding for 2 hours which was amazing. However, do not overestimate your riding ability! if you say you are advanced you better be as the course will tremble even the steadiest of knees!!!
After the trek, a welcome massage and a soak in the bath was very welcome indeed.
Dressed for dinner, my partner and I were the only guests in the castle (apart from Uncle Jack) and it certainly gave me notions about being Lady of the Manor!
The food was exquisite and was fresh and simple using in season vegetables and fresh fish.
After dinner, we had coffees in the drawing room and then wandered around the castle before settling on a game of snooker in the billiards room.
Breakfast on Monday morning was a selection of pretty much anything you wanted!
Overall, the experience was just that! An experience which I will be repeating as soon as I can.
I am delighted to have gone back to Castle Leslie and to find that the first experience was just a blip in an otherwise fantastic estate.
While the castle rates are a little more than the Hunting Lodge, it is well well worth it!
We visited Castle Leslie recently with a view to possibly booking the place for our wedding. We were made to feel unwelcome from the moment we arrived. The staff were unhelpful and not very friendly. The lady who showed us around spent most of the time telling us all the things we could not do if we reserved the castle as a wedding venue. No music, no dancing. You also had to become a member before you booked anything.
The best part, for anything over 40 guests, they can put up a marquee at the back of the castle. However, guests at the wedding are not allowed set foot inside the castle. They are confined to the marquee! Please spell these things out at the beginning. It certainly would have saved us a trip up to monaghan. They quoted €24,000 to book the place for the day for 40 guests, or €600/pp. These guys are living in a dreamworld.
The castle/country house itself is very well kept and very ornately decorated. We just felt unwelcome in the place. On the tour of the rooms, the manager told us one of the rooms was haunted and was much colder than all the others. We checked it out. All the radiators in the room were turned off.
Disappointing and no feedback to complaints
The quality of the Spa treatment was superb but the music played in the main waiting area was far from soothing and in fact was better suited to a bar – when I raised this on the Sunday with one of thestaff in the Victorian Spa I was told that the therapists liked this music, full stop.
The meal and service in the restaurant was okay with a limited menu but when we returned to our room in the Hunting Lodge aptly named Frosty, it was absolutely freezing all night.
When I was checking out, the receptionist was far from helpful in fact when I raised the matter of the cold room she made me feel as if I had done something wrong as she said I should have rang the night porter and inferred as I hadn’t done this it was tough. I didn’t expect a freezing room and didn’t realise that the night porter was an expert on heating systems? After this brusque treatment she then overcharged me for a supplement and grudgingly took it off the bill when I queried it.
My girlfriend suffers from chronic migraines and unfortunately did not have any painkillers on Sunday when we were leaving – I asked the reception both in the Spa and the Hunting Lodge for some paracetamol and was told no for the bizarre reason that paracetamol is not handed out in case the guests have a reaction to it!! Quite frankly this is ridiculous as if someone asks for a painkiller by name and voluntarily takes it, I fail to see the risk or perceived risk to the hotel. Do the staff in the restaurant or bar ask each diner or customer whether they are allergic to the food or drinks they order?
What could have been memorable stay for my girlfriends birthday was marred by these events. I emailed Castle Leslie twice to raise these points and have been ignored - perhaps this will get their attention.
Cookery School is Great Fun
My partner and I booked into the Casle Leslie cookery school for the Guilt Free cookery one day course and really enjoyed it. The day was taken by the head chef Gerry, as there are some changes as the Castle is in between executive chefs. Gerry was very informal and helpful. He had a nice attitude to cooking - improvise and innovate. There were five of us on the course that day, and he gave us all a lot of individual attention. The day began at 9.30am with coffee and croissants and an overview.
We started with making bread, which was so much easier than I imagined, while the Kitchen Aid was used for the kneading, everything else was by hand. We had great fun making breads with a variety of fillings and toppings and it gave me a lot of ideas for handy guest starters or fillers. We also covered ceasar salad, french onion soup, pan fried halibut with risotto and tomato salsa, followed by a dessert with chocolate and double cream and ending with refreshing smoothies. I can say that I did learn lots of new techniques and ideas on the day, though my baseline was fairly low - pasta and pesto (jar) being my signature dish. We were joined for lunch by the infamous Jack, who at 91, obviously felt he had little to lose and chanced our french onion soup, though didn't stay for main course! We finished around 4.15pm.
Castle Leslie is now a private members club, with a new heating system, refurbished rooms and its dramatic drawing and banqueting rooms. As that evening's guests had not yet arrived, Gerry gave us a grand tour of the Castle. It was very decent of him, as after spending his whole day with us, and he had to do the preparations for the forthcoming guests. It is an impressive place, but at 3000euro membership plus a nightly rate, it's clearly for people who can afford to pay for their privacy.
We were staying in the hunting lodge on the cookery school, dinner, b&b rate. The lodge is very comfortable, great big bed, good size room, great walk in shower and overlooked the stables. After eating so much all day, we couldn't do the dinner justice, which was a great pity, because it was delicious, though the wine list was very limited. If I was to do it again, I would stay the night before the cookery school, so I could enjoy my dinner, have a decent breakfast and then enjoy my day at the school.
Stayed here for a girly weekend and availed of horse riding and spa. The Hunting Lodge is gorgeous, and the staff can't do enough for you. I have never experienced better service in Ireland.
A wonderful experience - spa staff excellent and surroundings beautiful, staff very friendly especially the night porter, he couldn't do enough to make our stay one of the best we've had in Ireland. A very enjoyable stay - no complaints.
Self Catering at the Castle
Stayed in the new village homes just released. Operated by the Castle Hotel (Hunting Lodge) there are 4 & 5 bed homes available. Top Class fit out and everything supplied.
Situated at one end of village with hotel at the other.
The hotel provides excellent bar/restaurant/spa facilities.
Enjoyed the village pubs, walks and people. Village shop is well stocked. A good place to eat, drink and do it all in comfort. Close by is the larger village of Emyvale and the town of Monaghan. We were 4 adults and 4 young teenagers. all enjoyed the stay very well. Great value.
My husband and I stayed here for two nights after our wedding.
The positives were:
the fabulous grounds
the impressive room (we were in the red room)
the dinners - the best I've ever had.
The negatives were:
the breakfast - woeful
very uncomfortable mattress
price (considering how uncomfortable the bed was).
I would return for dinner but not to stay.