Monday, 14 April 2014
Good food, a comfortable bed, well designed rooms in beautiful surroundings. They are the four boxes that I want a boutique hotel to tick. I don't think there are many places that do this with as much style and elegance as Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites.
I've been fascinated by the Inis Meáin Suites for years. It's on the Aran Islands just off the coast of Galway. It's not really somewhere that gets a lot of passing trade (not that it needs to, people will come to the island just to have dinner here), but it's often booked weeks in advance.
This is the kind of place you visit when you've had enough, when your brain is running too fast and you just want everything to stop.
There are only five suites available and each one is at least 50m square. With their huge beds and fluffy cushions, they're all about relaxation. I think it would be a gorgeous place to come and write for a weekend. You couldn't fail to be inspired by the beautiful island views all around you.
If you don't fancy penning the next Booker Prize winner, you also get an island exploration kit. In every suite you'll find bicycles, binoculars, fishing rods and lots of books and maps. And you get soup and freshly baked bread delivered each lunchtime to keep you warm on your intrepid expedition (to the beach). Come on, let's go on a bit of an adventure.
Let's talk about the restaurant, because it's worth a visit even if you're not staying. They grow their own fruit and veg, they catch their shellfish around the coast of the island. They're likely to put as much importance in the sourcing of ingredients for a salad as they are for a main meat dish. Every single inch of Inis Meáin has been thought about, but it still looks relaxed and simple.
If you're still not totally sure that you want to hop on a plane to Ireland right away, watch this three minute video.
Quick! Let's book! You can only book between April and September and the rooms go quickly (although if you feel like being spontaneous one of the suites is available next weekend). Two nights for two people will set you back around €500. At roughly £125 per person per night, that's a pretty reasonable price to pay for perfection.