They’re on to something here.
say it when I see a whole block of the golf resort painted black; when we enter a hall entirely clad in wood; see shiny Airstream food trailers where the 18th hole was located; and when we pick up the vinyl from a shelf in the hall to listen to it in our bedroom.
Yep, they’re definitely on to something.
Once a farm, the Glasson Lakehouse in Co Westmeath began its hotel adventure in the 1990s when the old house was converted with a golf course designed by Christy O’Connor Jr. I remember it as a place fairly generic resort and wedding; the scenery was tiring when the press up dublin group acquired it for € 9million, and i doubt it and the word “hip” never appeared in the same sentence.
Well, now they can. The redesign is actually quite exciting.
Arrival & location
Could you put Glasson on a map?
The village is off the grid, but it is above its weight – it is home to Blue Book’s Wineport Lodge, gave us The Fatted Calf (now moved to Athlone) and is just a stone’s throw from the inland lakes of Lough Ree. The perch of the Lakehouse, just 1.5 hours from Dublin and 10 minutes from the M4, is magnificent and surprising.
As you walk in, you would halfway expect to see skiers removing snow from their boots. The open lobby looks like a daring alpine resort, wrapped in wood, with huge fireplaces, a retail nook displaying McNutt blankets and La Bougie candles, and a couple eating at a rustic table with a dog at their feet . Its centerpiece is a round leather conversation chair where I immediately want to sit with a handcrafted gin.
The biggest transformation is at the back, where several holes of the golf course have been redeveloped and views of the lake extend over food trucks (Wowburger and Elephant and Castle), a huge slide plunging into a new playground. games, a year-round heated outdoor pool at a lounge-tastic 32C, and three steaming hot tubs next to a sunken terrace. I’m already smiling. Where are we going to start? 9/10
Service & style
It is clearly a Press Up hotel. If you’ve seen The Devlin or Mayson in Dublin, or The Dean in Cork, Dublin (and soon Galway), you’ll spot the hallmarks: quick cocktails, restaurant booths perfect for socializing and people-watching, daring splashes of art. Irish, a retro pub outfitted and hip young employees in jeans, sneakers and oversized blazers.
During our visit, General Manager Dave O’Keefe stops for dinner wearing a pair of shiny gold Air Force 1 sneakers. “They give me joy,” my wife says.
The interiors are eclectic and exciting. A herringbone floor can turn your head here, a neon sign there; and it’s impossible to resist the Marshall mini-amps and “Munchie Trays” filled with Tayto, Fruit Pastilles (and Rennie) in the bedrooms. Glasson offers a much larger canvas to play with, and the designers kept the Press Up stamp while clearly having fun. Why not tear up the 18th hole? Why not paint this bedroom wing black or add a boutique cinema? The Stella will begin showing films over the next year.
Activities are central. You can book pool pitches, boat trips (from 40 €) and kayaks (20 € / 10 € per person) on the lake, and golf lessons for children can be organized with the resort pro, Lynn McCool. There are a lot of families having fun when we visit. 8/10
King, Deluxe, Family, and Suites are the room types available – I would recommend requesting one that has been updated and paying extra for a lake view option. Ours pair comfy king-size beds with teal panels, funky animal and botanical prints, and neat touches like a cocktail shaker in the minibar, Smeg fridge, record player, and bathrobes (oddly enough, the one bore the crest of a non-Press Up hotel in Dublin). However, the bathroom had not yet been redone to the same degree. Other than a few brightened up shower floor tiles and product dispensers, we could have reverted to the Lakehouse 1.0. Upgrades are coming, I’m told. 7/10
Dee Adamson, formerly of The Fatted Calf, is an inspired choice as Executive Chef. Its casual bistro-style menu for Bonnie’s, the hotel’s food and cocktail hub, is a tasty first stab, and I would like its passionate, local philosophy to be central to the evolution of the Lakehouse. .
A cider-brined pork belly (€ 13.50) and shrimp tempura (€ 13.50) are tangy starters, with a braised shoulder of lamb (€ 25) and peas, mint and basil arancini ( € 18.50) of your choice. It’s great to see Young Buck and Mossfield on the cheese board; I would like more of this kind of provenance on the menu.
The second evening we ate on the terrace (pictured above), but were disappointed to find that its grill was intended for weddings and groups. Service had been pleasant inside at Bonnie’s, but felt under pressure here and there was confusion over orders.
Recruitment is a global problem for the hospitality industry, and by no means unique to Glasson Lakehouse – inconsistencies in experience and training have been a hallmark of my summer trips. Customers should be patient and kind, but also pay generously. How long can this last?
Breakfast was a la carte, with no buffet for holidaymakers, but the menu featured excellent granola, delicious avo and toast, and ‘Full Irish’ options, and the kids praised the French toast and buttermilk pancakes. vanilla. 7/10
The bottom line
We’ll have to see how the outdoor spaces work in the winter, and wedding and leisure guests passed each other a lot during our visit. But the mix of families, adult groups, golfers and pet owners has mostly gelled, a spa offer is on the way and there is talk of more rooms and cabins. All in all, it’s a great setup for gatherings, mixed groups, and young parents away on weekends. They’re on to something here.
For a quieter stay, ask for a room farther from the terrace. Dog friendly stays are available; animals can accompany the owners on the terrace and in the hall while they eat.
Bring the bikes. The Midlands are becoming a hub for cycling, with the Old Rail Trail and the Royal Canal Greenway nearby.
A ‘Stay and Dine’ offer includes B&B and dinner at Bonnie’s from € 240 midweek.
NB: Pól was a guest of the complex.