Presidential seal of approval at the Westport Plaza hotel

The impressive Restaurant Merlot at the Westport Plaza.
The impressive Restaurant Merlot at the Westport Plaza.
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The Westport Plaza is one very special hotel in a very special part of Ireland.

Westport is one of Ireland’s most popular visitor destinations and one visit is never enough!

The sunning Presidential Suite also has a sitting room and luxurty bathroom with a balcony view of the courtyard.

The sunning Presidential Suite also has a sitting room and luxurty bathroom with a balcony view of the courtyard.

The Westport Plaza’s reputation for excellent accommodation, food and spa facilities is unrivalled.

It has become the hotel of choice for domestic visitors seeking a relaxing weekend break, while tourists flock to the area to explore the many beauty spots and landmarks in the west of Ireland.

Highly recommended by friends who are regular patrons, the Plaza lived up to high expectations - and more.

Plans to arrive in Westport by 9pm on Friday after a very busy working week were delayed and after a 2.5 hour journey we arrived closer to midnight, tired and a bit peckish.

The outdoor jacuzzi at Spa Sula.

The outdoor jacuzzi at Spa Sula.

It was a relief that The Westport Plaza is easy to find, located on Castlebar Street on the main route into the town. It’s part of a 4-star double hotel resort fronting onto the street, and at the rear, in an attractive courtyard setting with a cosmopolitan atmosphere.

The free on-site underground car park is a major bonus with lifts and stair access to both hotels.

When we arrived a wedding reception was underway in the Plaza’s sister hotel, The Castlecourt, with some guests outside enjoying the balmy evening.

The Castlecourt is a luxurious hotel and its decor will appeal to guests who appreciate traditional grandeur - some of the guestrooms have four poster beds and it’s immaculately kitted out throughout.

The Westport Plaza is equally sumptuous in a more modern designer style with stunning fixtures and fittings ensuring that luxury abounds.

Desite arriving so late at the reception desk we were warmly greeted by staff member Dimitri who made us feel very welcome and ensured that refreshments were organised for us in our room.

When we were handed the keys for Room 500 little did we know that we were being given the best room in the house. West Wing eat your heart out!

The plaque on the door stating Presidential Suite, indicated that we were in for a very special experience at the Westport Plaza, as the ultimate indulgence was unveiled.

Presidential suite extras include:-

•King Size Bed

•Italian marble bathroom with separate shower and jacuzzi bath

•Balcony overlooking the beautifully landscaped rooftop garden/ courtyard

•Spacious sitting room with leather furniture and a writing desk

•Complimentary decanter of Port

•¼ Bottle of Wine per person per day

•¼ Bottle of Water per person per day

•Hand-made chocolates on arrival

•Home-made delights from the kitchen

•Luxury Spa Products

•Bathrobe & Slippers

•Plasma televisions in sitting room and bedroom

•Air Conditioning

•Interactive TV Service including Movies (first movie complimentary), Music & Internet Access

•Mini Bar

The Presidential Suite carries a supplement of €100.00 per room per night and is really worth splashing out on to make your stay truly memorable.

You will simply want to kick off your shoes and forget about the hum-drum to live like a President and First Lady for the duration of your stay.

With it being my first time at the Westport Plaza, the management had clearly pulled out all the stops. As well as the treats which come part and parcel of the Presidential Suite, I was left some lovely mementoes of this very special part of the west of Ireland.

These included items celebrating the best of local arts and crafts, in particular the Foxford Woollen Mills, a piece of locally crafted jewellery and trinkets from the local Bridge Street market, as well as a beautiful picture of the world famous Croagh Patrick which is climbed by thousands of pilgrims every year.

But I’m afraid this was no pilgrimage of self-sacrifice and instead of blistering my feet on the hill of Croagh Patrick, it was time to check out the Westport Plaza’s amazing Spa Sula - and what an oasis of tranquility it is! The spa staff exude a sense of calm and relaxation which is totally in keeping with the ethos of the experience - it must be part of the special training involved to create just the right ambience for that all encompassing chilled out experience.

I was treated to a fabulously relaxing facial treatment and massage which left me feeling radiant for the rest of the day.

In between times we made full use of the Thermal Suite facilities which include steam room and rock sauna, tropical rain showers, foot spas, ice fountain, salt grotto and the ultimate outdoor heated rock pool with massage jets where you can ease tired and aching muscles while gazing out at the Zen garden; we were blessed with brilliant sunshine on the Saturday which made the outdoor pool a complete pleasure. There are also chill-out areas in the garden conservatory with loungers, fresh fruit and juices to add to the overall sense of well-being in this desination spa resort.

But there is always retail therapy to be had so we wasted no time in getting around the small independent shops in Westport which really make this Co Mayo town so special. It’s totally refreshing not to be confronted with the same old High Street department stores that you find in all the big cities around the world these day; their corporate branding means that they all look and feel exactly the same should you be in Derry, Belfast, Dublin or London.

I didn’t see any of these old familiar names in Westport but streets full of quirky little boutiques brimming with individuality, selling an assortment of locally sourced items and trinkets you would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.

The main department store in Westport is Carraig Donn and it was absolutely buzzing on the Saturday afternoon with bargain hunters snapping up items in their big discount sale.

The beauty of Westport is that the local shops and bars are literally just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Westport Plaza, so there’s no driving involved once you get there, no buses to catch and no taxis to call - and you won’t even need a designated driver.

In fact if you want the ultimate chill-out weekend, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your room/suite, let alone the resort.

The food as you would expect, is also excellent. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the beautifully appointed Merlot Restaurant. The service is impeccable and the highly organised staff really appear to be enjoying their work which isn’t something you always see in the hospitality industry.

John Clesham, General Manager, was visible thoughout the weekend to ensure guests were well catered for. In fact he is so hands-on, he even replies personally to guests on Trip Advisor should any issues arise.

There were smiling faces all around, guests and staff included, at the Westport Plaza and on the Sunday afternoon. I was just starting to get used to living the life of a First Lady when, like all good things, it came to an end.

Ah well, there is always next time; let’s hope that a second term in office - or should I say Room 500 - isn’t too far away!

For further information, reservations or to check for special offers contact the Westport Plaza & Castlecourt Hotel Resort, Castlebar Street, Westport, County Mayo.

Tel: 00353 98 55088;email: info@westporthotelsresort.ie; website www.westporthotelsresort.ie