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 Chairman of Hastings Hotels, Howard Hastings. TLTB 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'?
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.
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.
Original Ballygally Castle
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'ento 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!
Howard Hastings, Updated 15/05/18