Some hotels are destined to be remembered fondly, some hotels perfectly over extend hospitality and lend to an overall experience of complete satisfaction.
You would expect all luxury hotels to at least deliver complete satisfaction, sadly not all do. Lough Eske, however, get it so right that I would urge all other managers of high end hotels to go have a stay….
Lough Eske is situated in arguably Ireland’s most scenic county, Donegal. Donegal lies conveniently on the border between the North and South of Ireland. The hotel, formerly a castle, dates back to the 1400s and comes with all the charm and features you would expect from such a historic building.
Retaining the old but bringing in the new in terms of décor and amenities, the castle hotel with upgrades does everything a lux hotel should.
The deluxe room where we stayed was well proportioned with everything required for a comfortable stay. No issues here.
The food was of the highest quality with a great evening menu and greater wine list. We also enjoyed some down-time in the spa, again scoring high standards.
Much like other hotels trying to be the very best, Lough Eske delivers superbly – on all fronts.
But Lough Eske is more than just a good hotel, something makes it stand out from the crowd – and it is this that other hotels should pay attention to…. Service. Outstanding service.
I had a tour with Mark Langford. This was a pleasant walk through the hotel followed by a chat in the hotel bar. Mark told me that when it comes to recruitment of staff, they are not necessarily looking for experience, but more for key personality traits. A good member of the team would be someone that thrives on making other people’s lives better, someone that will go out of their way to secure an enjoyable time for others.
Experience not essential, promoting a good feeling absolutely essential.
Mark showed me a card that all staff carry, a kind of ‘book of service standards’. Here’s point 13:
“Serve from the heart. We are caring, sincere and genuine. Bring your own personality and spirit into your service interactions. Deliver service with enthusiasm and warmth”.
Right there… That’s why you should stay at Lough Eske.
All the staff, from doormen to management have this ethos firmly in place, and it is a joy for us guests. There is no stuffy atmosphere, only a seamless professional and caring service which has been designed to help guests relax.
By chance, my wife could not get on with her starter of Chicken and Herbs flourless dumplings for our evening meal. There was nothing wrong with the dish, it was just her personal preferences that made the dish a little too spicy for her. Our server (who was simply lovely) picked up on this and it was then we saw how the staff here really make the difference between good and great.
She went out of her way to ‘make good’ and had the total authority to fix the feeling as she saw fit (Cocktail & Guinness!), despite our protests that there really wasn’t any need to.
Maybe there wasn’t a need for us, but for her there was very much an issue which she had to rectify. Mark Langford told me earlier in the day that this was routine practice and to see it come into play hours later was wonderful to see.
The above might seem a little trivial, but it is just one of the many instances of a higher level of customer service that I observed and the hotel management should be applauded for the caring and thorough manner of their staff.
Like I said at the top, some hotels are special. Others like Lough Eske go through a few more gears to ensure total customer satisfaction. It truly is a special place, made even more so by the hard work and great attitudes of all the staff. It is possibly my favourite hotel in the World.
I’m not alone in rating the hotel –
Luxury Castle Hotel & Spa of the year | Luxury Travel Guide Award Winner 2016
World’s Best Luxury Country Hotel | World Luxury Hotel Awards
Lough Eske is a Solis Hotel & Spa. If you are planning a trip to Ireland, 2 or 3 days here are highly recommended. And if you are not planning a trip to Ireland, you should – and get yourself checked into this fabulous hotel.
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