Hotel review

Hotel Review: Embark on a Little Meath Magic at Station House Hotel

I like a hotel with a history.

he world of cookie-cutter chains and downloadable designs, stumbling upon a family getaway with feeling is a treat, and that’s exactly what you’ll find at The Station House, a 19 bed hole in the River Valley. Boyne.

As the name suggests, it was once a station on the Dublin & Meath Railway line in Kilmessan. “The rails went right past the door,” I’m told, and the navy, amber and ruby ​​velvets of the Platform Bar are anchored by photos of old buildings like the Signal Cabin and Engine Shop, which took a new life on this cute little Campus.

But it’s not all about trainspotters. Thelma and Chris Slattery bought the place in 1981 (“There was ice in the windows,” she tells me, almost shaking at the memory) and maintained it from the family home to the family home. ‘hosts, at the hotel and at the wedding venue. The final chapter sees it reopen after a € 2million renovation, with ambitious future plans.

Arrival and location

Close


The Station House hotel at night

The Station House hotel at night

It’s barely an hour from Dublin, but walking past Bective Abbey, above the River Boyne, and entering this 12-acre oasis feels completely remote. Forest trails sparkle with lights and a freshly poured pint of Guinness lands on a patio table. It’s my first check-in after confinement, and I almost forgot about simple pleasures like this.

The station closed in 1963, but heritage buildings and details like a big Milner safe in the restaurant wall leave you half-expecting a day trip from the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland to stop at outside. A cozy little lounge, with an original fireplace, tempting armchairs and a burlap rug from From Jaipur With Love by Elizabeth Morrison, was once a waiting area for passengers. I only regret arriving by car, and not in a carriage pulled by an emerald engine. 9/10

Service and style

Close

On track: the comfortable Library Room at Station House Hotel.  Photography: Ruth Maria Murphy


On track: the comfortable Library Room at Station House Hotel. Photography: Ruth Maria Murphy

On track: the comfortable Library Room at Station House Hotel. Photography: Ruth Maria Murphy

I called the morning before arrival to check on the new protocols and was reassured by the warm response: “Just bring yourself.”

Of course, cleaning is improved, distancing, plexiglass and face masks are worn inside. But that does not interfere with the hospitality. I chat with Thelma and Chris, spread her homemade berry jams on my toast for breakfast, and enjoy the guesthouse atmosphere that still seems to reign in this deceptively simple hotel.

Many will know the Station House as a wedding venue, of course. More than 100 weddings are booked for 2022, a sign of the massive backlog across Ireland, and it’s easy to see how features like the Signal Suite, or a clever transformation of the old train hub into a ceremonial space, attracting couples. But the renovated hotel also aims to entice more leisure guests – the updated rooms, menus, and plans for a second outdoor terrace all reflect this.

“We want people to come in, take off their shoes, curl up and feel right at home,” says managing director Valerie Bracken, formerly of Cliff Townhouse in Dublin – another sophisticated little stay. 8/10

The rooms

Close

Freestanding bathtub on casters in The Signal Suite.  Photography: Ruth Maria Murphy


Freestanding bathtub on casters in The Signal Suite. Photography: Ruth Maria Murphy

Freestanding soaking tub on casters in The Signal Suite. Photography: Ruth Maria Murphy

Nineteen rooms range from compact stays above the Carriage House, the former locomotive workshop, to slightly larger ‘cabins’ in the Main House and the Grand and Signal suites. The feeling is one of understated country luxury – from Voya toiletries and Hanly throws, to waffle bathrobes, William Morris & Co wallpapers and the family’s collection of antiques.

We stayed in the large suite, which is located directly above the reception and restaurant. It’s a heritage gem, with pretty sash and shuttered windows, a mustard-colored Victoria & Albert roll-top tub, extra sofa bed, and tasteful green paneling, but far from ‘grand in size. “. Some noise was escaping from below and outside, and access is via steep stairs which some guests may need to be aware of.

The Signal Suite deserves a full-fledged Instagram page. Once home to 38 control levers, the old signal booth now houses a two-level suite with a downstairs living room and delightful details like a 19th-century cast iron railroad staircase and freestanding bathtub. It’s another tight fit, but I can easily see influencers swinging their hips or staying live in this lovely little nook. 7/10

Food drink

Close

Lobster tortellini at Signal restaurant.  Photography: Ruth Maria Murphy


Lobster tortellini at Signal restaurant. Photography: Ruth Maria Murphy

Lobster tortellini at Signal restaurant. Photography: Ruth Maria Murphy

“Here’s your four o’clock salad,” said the waitress, bringing a cocktail glass of lightly garnished leaves to our table at Restaurant Signal. Picked four hours earlier at Swainstown Farm, it is a testament to the thought and effort put into sourcing Boyne Valley and Irish produce.

The highlights of our dinner (starters € 9 to € 18.50; main courses € 18 to € 38) include a lobster starter in homemade tortellini, with a light crunch of garlic breadcrumbs and a creamy tarragon sauce ; a plump Hereford rib eye and thin tips of verdant asparagus from Drummond House in County Louth.

Il Borro wines are exclusively imported from Tuscany, and Andrew Cooke’s master can’t do enough to make dinner enjoyable, even offering to pick fresh mint from the garden to make a late-night cup of tea. It’s too early to judge the restaurant, but these are all good signs. 7/10

The bottom line

Weekend stays may be limited for vacationers this summer, but that will become available from September, I’m told. The cozy confidence here reminds me of Castle Leslie’s Lodge and The Bushmills Inn, and there are plenty of other ideas going on. Ireland’s Blue Book just might be on the prowl.

Insider tip

Guests of restaurants living within a 10 km radius can pre-book a courtesy drop-off service on a first-come, first-served basis. Bikes are free for residents, and picnics, Pilates and cooking demonstrations are also available.

Local 101

The hotel is a 10-minute drive from Hill of Tara. The 8 km Boyne Walls Promenade is also nearby.

Rates

B&B from € 180, with La Grande Suite from € 240 per night. Pól was a guest of the hotel. stationhousehotel.ie


Source link