Scenically nestled on the banks of Lough Eske with the beautiful Bluestack Mountains providing an idyllic backdrop, Harvey’s Point Hotel is the ideal retereat for those looking to fully immerse themselves in the charming countryside of Donegal.
During lockdown we had plenty of time to ponder over our Irish Staycation bucket list and Harvey’s Point was our first port of call for that much anticipated break.
Having just recently been named as Ireland’s Number One Hotel in TripAdvisors Travellers’ Choice Awards for the seventh time in eight years we were eager to discover for ourselves what makes Harvey’s Point just so special.
Driving down the narrow, winding roads that surround the wistful waters of Lough Eske we soon arrive at the sweeping entrance to our highly anticipated home for the night.
The gardens are absolutely stunning and compliment the dreamy, waterside location of this hotel ever so beautifully.
Check in was incredibly swift with all Covid policies and procedures fully in place. On the approach to the entrance there was a free standing sanitisation station, all staff were wearing visors. We felt very safe as it was clear that all precautions were being taken.
We stayed in one of the stunning Executive Suites. Entering through our own little private foyer, luxury lies around every corner in Harvey’s Point. A very spacious and luxurious suite with a stunning king size bed clad in crisp white linen.
A bathroom bigger than some hotel rooms we have stayed in, not to mention the gorgeous self contained mini bar and preparation area, should you be so inclined to a little aperitif or nightcap in your room.
All of this glamour and style aside, the real treat in store here is the incredible view of the Bluestack Mountains.
Some points to note regarding Covid_19 policies and procedures that are currently in place. Sanitiser is widely available, from the front door to the lift and everywhere in between. All door handles and TV remotes have microbial film coverings. Everywhere is absolutely pristine. The Staff member that showed us to our room took a separate lift and wore a visor.
After our drive we were ready to stretch our legs and what a beautiful place to get those daily steps in. The gardens are filled with lots of wild and wonderful planting. Walking out to the waters edge and drinking in the natural beauty on offer here is really quite special.
Ready for an evening of dining in The Restaurant, this beautiful bright and airy space with the most stunning scenic views right across Lough Eske really is a joy. All staff wearing visors and smiles and offering great recommendations. The 4 Course Dinner is €59.00 which proves to be exceptional value for the quality of dishes served. Head Chef Chris McMenamin, Sous Chef Colin McKee and Chef Daniel Lambert along with their talented kitchen team have curated an award winning menu showcasing their ability and finesse in the most delicious way.
We started off with the Goats Cheese Mousse. Elegantly plated with Poached Pear, Pickled Grapes, Cashew Nuts & Cranberries.
Our second starter of Panfried Monkfish with Textures of Olive & Baby Carrot was divine. Crispy on the outside and silky within. We loved the addition of Olives, adding that salty nuance to the sweetness of the Monkfish.
Opting for a bottle of Domaine Gueguen Chablis, France, 2016, €46.00. Bright yellow in colour with a fine and very fruity nose reminiscent of white-fleshed fruits and citrus fruits. The palate is supple and surprises with its freshness. The fruit has a slight vivacity that prolongs the aromas. With distinct minerality, this Chablis is a wine of pleasure.
Portions are generous here and our first main of Pan Fried Hake was no exception. Beautifully seasoned Leek Veloute proved to be an ideal base on which to place two chunky fillets of Brown Butter Crumb topped, Pan Fried Hake. Fennel Jam injecting a subtle flash of anise-like flavor.
BBQ Rotisserie Sirloin of Hereford Beef, a fine hunk of tender Beef mingled delightfully in the mouth with its plate-mates. Succulent King Oyster Mushroom, Celeriac, Coffee, Bacon Jam. Each element of this dish playing its own unique part to provide a symphony of full on flavour.
Having never met a cake we didn’t like, this tangy Tunisian Orange Cake has certainly raised the bar. Lusciously moist and flavorous, accentuated by Kumquats and a sharply refreshing Blood Orange Sorbet
A delightfully decadent White Chocolate Mousse, the comforting creaminess lifted gloriously by the tart Lime Curd. Pistachio Crumb adding a lush layer of texture.
Taking the last of our wonderful wine outside to the fabulous balcony over looking Lough Eske, we blissfully watched the sunset before retiring to our beautiful suite for the night.
After sleeping soundly we were excited for our first Hotel breakfast in quite some time. Breakfast is currently being served in the Ballroom to accommodate all social distancing requirements.
A vast selection of breakfast pastries, cereals, fruits are packaged and ready to take to your table. Along with an omelette and pancake station where you can indulge in some tasty delights.
The hot counter is fully manned and operated on a one way system around the ballroom, this gives you the chance to still choose your breakfast but in a completely Covid friendly way. A special nod to Chef Chris McMenamin and that famous Gammon he and the team lovingly prepare for breakfast each day, the only regret you will have is if you don’t try it!
After fuelling ourselves up for the day it wasn’t long before we were back outside enjoying the incredible views. The grounds here are magnetic, constantly drawing you outside to enjoy the inevitable natural beauty that surrounds.
Harvey’s Point is a wonderful place to ground yourself in nature. You are nurtured by the wonderfully caring and attentive staff from the moment you pass through the doors. Light hearted humour and kindness is in abundance with each and every staff member that you encounter.
With the ever charismatic Noel Cunningham leading the charge, his passion and enthusiasm for the County of Donegal is infectious. Speaking to Noel at checkout he armed us with lots of information of where to visit whilst in Donegal. There is no doubt in our minds that it is the people that make the place. Sumptious food and glorious surroundings make Harvey’s Point your ideal Irish Staycation destination.
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Review By Keith Mahon & Olivia Byrne