Glenlo Abbey Hotel review – luxury accommodation with a unique dining experience in Galway.
For more on Glenlo Abbey Hotel and The Pullman Restaurant, check out my highlights over on Instagram.
Disclaimer: this was a press stay. I did not have to pay for accommodation or food. However, this account my experience is honest and opinions are my own.
Looking for a luxury escape to a country estate but within easy reach of the city? Somewhere steeped in history and surrounded by nature with unique experiences and dining options? Then the 5-star Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Galway is the place for you.
Glenlo Abbey Hotel Location
Glenlo Abbey Hotel is located in Galway along the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s famous coastal route. The hotel is a mere 4km from Galway city centre yet feels a world away thanks to its idyllic position on the banks of Lough Corrib, Ireland’s largest lake. With its extensive grounds of manicured lawns, gardens, 9-hole golf course and driving range, the 5-star Glenlo Abbey Hotel feels more like a country estate despite being so close to the city. It is a great way to combine a relaxing country escape with a city break. As you can imagine, with such beautiful grounds and sitting elegantly beside Lough Corrib, the views from the hotel are stunning.
Glenlo Abbey Hotel Atmosphere
Warm and welcoming is the best way to describe the atmosphere of the Glenlo Abbey Hotel. From the moment you are greeted by the top-hat wearing doorman, you are made to feel right at home. I mean, if your home is an 18th-century mansion. Well, this hotel once was home to the Ffrenche family, one of Galway’s famous ‘tribes’. See, I told you the hotel had plenty of history.
Walking up the flight of steps to the grand entrance and into the reception room, comfortable armchairs beckon you to rest awhile by the roaring fire. This restful, relaxing vibe sets the tone for the duration of your stay.
As you wander around, you’ll notice that the hotel retains many original features with high ceilings and sash windows and the furniture and antique furnishings complement these beautifully. Far from being stuffy, the hotel exudes old-world charm and elegance.
Glenlo Abbey Hotel Reception Rooms
The hotel has three reception rooms which are sumptuous and spacious with plenty of places to relax with the papers, curl up with a book, sip tea or just stare out the large windows at the ever-changing landscape.
In the Tapestry Bar and the Palmer Bar you can enjoy a quiet drink and canapés with views over the 18th-century walled garden. There is a wonderful cocktail menu and champagne and whiskey selection.
The glamourous Ffrenche Room is the perfect place to live out your Lord and Lady of the manor fantasies. In the evening you can lounge around listening to the talented pianist tickle the ivories on the grand piano.
However, I have to say, my favourite of all the rooms in the Glenlo Abbey Hotel is the Abbey. Build in the 1790s, the Abbey is a breathtaking space with vaulted ceilings and gothic windows that overlook the rose garden. It is light, bright, elegant and ridiculously pretty.
You could spend hours in here just enjoying the architecture, the flickering fire and views. Lying back on the velvet sofa with sunbeams dancing on your face is pure bliss and the perfect place to escape to for some serenity.
Glenlo Abbey Hotel Vibe
Although, you’ll find peace in most areas of the hotel, and this is why I love it so. The hotel is blissfully hushed. Thanks to the sumptuous soft-touch fabrics and furnishings there is plenty of sound damping so you rarely hear any harsh noises. The guests are remarkable considerate of others too when it comes to noise levels and personal space, something that is often lacking in Irish hotels. No slammed doors or loud conversations in the corridors. It is wonderfully civilised. Classical music is piped throughout the hotel, adding to the relaxing, pleasant vibe.
That’s not to say that the hotel is in any way dull or boring, far from it, all the guests seemed to be having a terrific time but there were just no loud phone conversations or running up and down the corridors or shouting across the dinner tables. It was very chilled out.
You might think from that description that there were no children in the hotel, but you’d be wrong. There were plenty of families here with children of all ages. Glenlo Abbey is a very family-friendly 5-star hotel. To see just how welcoming and fun the hotel is for children, have a read of Steph’s review. She stayed at Glenlo Abbey Hotel about a week before I did, but she had a toddler and teenager with her. They all had a blast.
My Stay in a Grand Suite
I was here with my mam. I took her with me as a treat because the last six years were very tough on her. She needed a place where she could unwind and feel well looked after. Somewhere luxurious and lovely that would soothe her weary body and mind.
We stayed in one of the Grand Suites and her jaw hit the floor when she walked through the double wooden door to the room. She had never stayed in a hotel like it. She couldn’t get over how exquisite everything was, from the carpet to the curtains, to the four-poster bed, the room oozed quality, elegance and class.
The suite was spacious and flooded with natural light thanks to the huge windows that overlooked the estate grounds, Lough Corrib and the Pullman Restaurant. There was a living area with a sofa, tv, wardrobe, dining table and chairs and a water closet with a power shower. The separate bedroom had two armchairs, a four-poster bed, desk, tv, coffee station, more closet space and a separate marble bathroom with another power shower and deep bath.
Video of our Grand Suite
The suite was decorated in calming, classical tones of muted golds and duck egg blues that complemented the Connemara landscape. There were fluffy bathrobes and soft slippers, crisp white linen and divine duvets. Your feet sank into the plush carpet and your body into the comfortable sofa and chairs.
At night, the room was so dark and quiet that sound sleep was seconds away when our heads sunk into the deep pillows. If you stay here, you’ll find it hard to get out of bed, but you won’t want to miss breakfast. Although, you could always just order breakfast in bed and make the most of the suite.
A few of the things that I liked about my room was the amount of natural light, the Irish toiletries from The Handmade Soap Company, the powerful showers with plenty of hot water, the strong wi-fi, the plethora of plugs and USB sockets and the great selection of TV channels. There was also bottles of hand sanitiser, sanitising wipes and big bottles of Ballygown water for us.
Bedrooms at the Glenlo Abbey Hotel
There are other room types in the hotel. Classic King and Twin Bedrooms overlook the charming walled garden and Abbey.
Corrib Delux rooms have king-sized beds or twin beds and have views of, you guessed it, Lough Corrib.
The Junior Suite is in the original house and has a king-sized bed and overlooks the walled garden and Abbey. I’ve stayed in this room before and it is very romantic.
Then there is the Presidental Suite at Glenlo Abbey Hotel and Estate and it is magnificent. It is in the main house and has a lobby, huge bathroom, interconnecting living room, and a terrific roof terrace. If you check out Steph’s review you’ll see the Presidental Suite as that’s where she stayed.
But, to be fair, all the rooms are fabulous and are of the same high standard with wonderful views, luxury fabrics, elegant furnishings, comfortable beds and great showers.
Afternoon Tea at Glenlo Abbey Hotel
As a welcome treat, we received a selection of cakes from the sumptuous Glenlo Abbey Afternoon Tea. From our window we could spy the Airstream Cafe outside the golf club, so we took a walk outside to get some piping hot coffees to take back to the room to have with our miniature lemon meringue pies and carrot cakes.
While we didn’t have a full afternoon tea on this occasion, I had already experienced the Glenlo Abbey Afternoon Tea on a previous visit, and it is one of the best I have ever had, and I have had a lot. Click here to read my review of the Glenlo Abbey Afternoon Tea.
Things to do at The Glenlo Abbey Hotel
Eating my way through tier after tier of soft scones, seasonal sandwiches, perfect pastries, moreish macaroons and creative cakes and drinking copious cups of tea and coffee is my favourite past time at Glenlo Abbey.
However, should you be less of a glutton, there are plenty of other things to do too. When I was last here, I tried Falconry, which was thrilling. Being up close and personal with many birds of prey within the sheltered walled garden is an experience I will never forget. You can try your hand at archery in the walled garden too.
As mentioned there is a 9-hole golf course and driving range, and being right on Lough Corrib you can also go fishing. The hotel will organise guided fishing ghillie packages and will provide fishing rods and life jackets.
There are also two bikes that guests can use and the hotel will even pack you a picnic to put in the basket.
My mam and I enjoyed a serenity walk throughout the hotel gardens and walked around the golf course towards Lough Corrib and took in the panoramic views of the rugged landscape of Connemara. We enjoyed the walk so much we did it twice.
Indoor Activities at The Glenlo Abbey Hotel
Even in the rain, the grounds are beautiful, and you shouldn’t let getting wet put you off enjoying everything the hotel has to offer. However, there are indoor activities too. You can play a game or two in the Billiards Room or sit back and relax in the red velvet lounger seats of the hotel’s private cinema.
Yup, that’s right, the Glenlo Abbey Hotel has a private cinema and it is very glam. Book the cinema and lose yourself in a good movie whilst munching fresh popcorn. We checked out the cinema, and you could easily fall asleep in those chairs.
Unfortunately, we were too tired to watch a movie in the cinema. Instead, we got into our pyjamas, curled up on the large sofa in our suite and watched Love Actually on the big tv screen. I love that film. It is such a feel-good movie, well, apart from the Emma Thompson storyline.
Restaurants at The Glenlo Abbey Hotel
You won’t go hungry here, that’s for sure. Whatever you fancy, whatever your food mood there is a dining option for you. As mentioned, if you are feeling fancy you can indulge in the fabulous afternoon tea. For some seriously good bar food served in classic rustic surroundings head down to the Oak Cellar Bar. Firm favourites on the menu include seafood chowder, beef burgers, club sandwiches, steaks and salads, and comforting desserts. You can also slurp oysters and wash them down with a pint of Guinness. A classic Irish combo. When the sun shines, take a table outside on the terrace and enjoy a side order of scenery with your sandwich.
For a memorable meal and one of the most unique dining experiences in Ireland, book a table at the Pullman Restaurant on the grounds of the Glenlo Abbey Hotel. The Pullman Restaurant is inside two original and beautifully restored carriages from the Orient Express train. This 2 AA rosette award-winning restaurant is one of the best restaurants I’ve been to in Ireland. It deserves its own page, so please click here to read all about my dinner at the Pullman Restaurant.
Breakfast at The Glenlo Abbey Hotel
After a deep and uninterrupted night’s sleep, my mam and I took a bathroom each and had long lingering showers – wonderful water pressure and piping hot water – before heading to the beautiful River Room for a long lingering breakfast.
Due to COVID restrictions, social distancing and general health and safety, you have to prebook a time for breakfast.
Natural light floods the breakfast room. White linen drapes elegantly over the table and silver cutlery glistens in the sunlight. It is a spectacular setting for breakfast and an incredibly relaxing way to start the day. There are great options on the menu whether you are were starving, trying to stave off a hangover, still full from dinner the night before (as we were), have any sort of dietary requirements or want something sweet. It is one of the best breakfasts I’ve had since hotels have changed operating procedures since the COVID restrictions.
The breakfast menu is extensive. To start, there is a selection of juices, teas and coffee. On there you’ll find fresh pastries (flaky and buttery), cereals, yoghurts, fruits, and meats, cheeses and fish too. There are also gluten-free options.
Then follows the cooked-to-order hot dishes. All the usual favourites are here including the full Irish fry, eggs, pancakes and a vegan breakfast too. My mam opted for the light and fluffy omelette. I indulged in the sweet French toast loaded with strawberries and swimming in a sea of maple syrup. Can you tell I have a sweet tooth? The service was swift but not rushed and always friendly. Food was fresh, perfectly cooked and seasoned.
Coffee Lovers Rejoice
For me, I love to start my morning with a creamy cappuccino. However, some hotels only serve filter coffee with breakfast. So, when presented with a frothy cappuccino in a very delicate cup I was delighted. I followed this up with a filter coffee chaser. I need a lot of coffee in the morning.
After breakfast, we went back to the room and lay on the bed to let all that lovely food digest. We were slow to pack our bags as we didn’t want to leave. Both of us felt so relaxed as the staff took such good care of us.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay. I highly recommend coming to this hotel and experience all its charms and everything it has to offer for yourself. You won’t regret it.
Thanks for reading my Glenlo Abbey Hotel Review.
So, what did you think of my Glenlo Abbey Hotel review? Have you stayed there? Is there anything I left out? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.
If you liked this Glenlo Abbey Hotel review, you might also like my review of the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel in Galway.
You might like my review of The Coach House Boutique B&B in Dromore, County Down.
If you are looking for another great dining experience, have a read of my Longueville House Restaurant review.
Looking for more dining indulgences? Here is my list of Dublin hotels with posh afternoon tea.