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MY FAVOURITE ROOM... Howard Hastings
During a recent trip to beautiful Northern Ireland, over a Guinness in the Crozier Lounge of the Culloden Estate and Spa, The Luxury Travel Bible caught up with the Managing Director of Hastings Hotels, Howard Hastings. The Luxury Travel Bible had to ask the question that we love to ask ... Out of all your rooms and suites across all of your luxury hotels, which is your favourite, and why?

Luxury Northern Ireland Hotel, The BallyGally Castle

There are several previous General Managers of the hotel who will attest to her ghostly presence. In my experience, she didn't do 'room service', thankfully!

 
The Hotel: Ballygally Castle Hotel, Northern Ireland
The Room: The Glenann Room
 
'It is too easy to select the most opulent room in our hotel group. Personally, I prefer the one with the most character, and that is one of the four bedrooms in the original part of Ballygally Castle Hotel. The original castle was built in 1625, and these four rooms are in the tower, which makes them probably the oldest inhabited bedrooms in Ireland.
 
 
Luxury Hotels Northern Ireland
Original Castle
They are all compact (there were no en-suite bathrooms then, but these have since been incorporated), and the ageing roof beams and floor joists means they are no longer strictly level on floor or ceiling. Given that the original tower had openings to the outside air, and windows only came later, the character comes from the spy hole type views of Scotland and the North Antrim Coast, through small windows and extremely thick walls. All this makes for an extremely cosy room, and the superking beds are just divine.
My very favourite of the four is the Glenann room (named after one of the 7 Glens of Antrim), where a shower room has been installed in one of the Castle's turrets. It is unusual enough to shower in a circular enclosure, but to do so in such an ancient element of Norman architecture is an added thrill.
Just above this room is the Ghost Room. Isobel Shaw, a former owner of the Castle disappeared from it in fear many moons ago when she bore a daughter instead of a son, and ghost watchers descend each Hallowe'en to see if she is stirring. There are several previous General Managers of the hotel who will attest to her ghostly presence. In my experience, she didn't do 'room service', thankfully!
The Ballygally Castle is currently closed for a period to undergo a £3 million investment, with changes which will increase bedroom numbers to 54. She reopens in April, and I trust that Isobel will not be disturbed by any building works. I will look forward to returning to my favourite room when the Castle re-opens.'
Luxury Hotels Link: www.hastingshotels.com
Howard Hastings, 6/1/14
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