Best Rated Accommodations on VBT’s Irish Tours

Gleninchaquin Park, Ireland
When our travelers inquire about our active vacations, one of the biggest questions they ask is how nice the hotels are. We know that your accommodations play a huge role in the overall satisfaction you’ll get from your travel experience. At VBT we make it a point to support small, charming and independently-owned hotels on all of our tours. We want the accommodations on your tour to be an extension of the unique cultural experience you get in each destination, not the standard-issue hotel you get from big chains whose properties all look the same. Guests on both our Ireland: Galway & Connemara Coast ​and Ireland: Walking the West Country​ tours will stay in hotels that accurately reflect the beauty and friendliness Ireland is known for. We’ve highlighted two favorites from each tour that have all received over 90% excellent ratings from our travelers in the past year.

Loch Lein Country House, Fossa, Killarney, Ireland
VBT Traveler Overall Rating: 95% Excellent
Trip Advisor Rating: 98% (Travelers Choice Winner in 2014 for “Small Hotels” and “Romance”)
Offered on Ireland: Walking the West Country​

Loch Lein Hotel, Lounge

Our portal into the Ring of Kerry is the Loch Lein Country House, a charming 4-star lodging that is located in the village of Fossa and features amazing views of the Macgillicuddy Reeks and Killarney’s Lough Leane. Hotel owners, Paul and Annette Corridan, will make you feel welcome with delectable food accentuated by the hotel’s true family atmosphere. During some downtime feel free to enjoy the beautiful gardens and nearby golf courses, fishing and horse riding.

What our travelers say: “This place was truly unbelievable. The accommodations were fantastic, beds very comfortable and the food and atmosphere were out of this world. Loved it…”

Brook Lane Hotel, Kenmare, Ireland
VBT Traveler Overall Rating: 91% Excellent
Trip Advisor Rating: 93% (Travelers Choice Winner in 2014 for “Small Hotels”)
Offered on Ireland: Walking the West Country​
Brook Lane Hotel Exterior
The Brook Lane Hotel is the only 4-star hotel in Kenmare and merges the style and comfort of a luxurious boutique hotel with a relaxed and inviting Irish atmosphere. Located just a four-minute walk from the pretty town of Kenmare, you’ll find exploration of your surroundings is very easy. Or you can simply enjoy a pint in the hotel’s delightful bar and bistro.

What our travelers say: “Very nice accommodations and friendly staff. The food was delicious, too. This hotel was in a nice location, a close walk to town. We enjoyed having drinks, listening to live music, and watching a young girl perform her Irish dance in Casey’s (the attached bar).”

Lough Inagh Lodge Hotel, Recess, Connemara,  Ireland
VBT Traveler Rating: 96% Excellent
Trip Advisor Rating: 98% (Won Certificate of Excellence 2013)
Offered on Ireland: Galway & Connemara Coast ​
Lough Inagh Hotel, Ireland
Located right on the shores of Connemara’s sparkling Lough Inagh, you’ll find an elegant lodge with marvelous views. Enjoy the warm hospitality and true Irish friendliness that is so typical of this region during your stay. After a rewarding day of cycling, relax in front of an open log fire in the library or toast the day over a pint in the oak-paneled bar. If you can’t get enough of your surroundings, take advantage of the great spots for hiking, fly-fishing and golf close by.

What our travelers say: “Everything about the Lodge was fabulous, down to the name plates on the doors. Thank you to Thomas the bartender, our Irish coffee instructor—so friendly. The meals in the dining room were outdone only by the room’s stately beauty. It was a lovely stay, and I will come back again.”

Sheedy’s Country House Hotel, Lisdoovarna, Ireland
VBT Traveler Overall Rating: 
97% Excellent
Trip Advisor Rating: 
96% (Travelers Choice Winner in 2014 for “Small Hotels” and “Romance”)
Offered on Ireland: Galway & Connemara Coast ​
Sheedy's, Hotel, Ireland
The lovable husband and wife team that own and operate Sheedy’s have made it one of Ireland’s best-loved small hotels and restaurants. Built in the 1700’s, and completely renovated in 2002 while retaining its historic charm, the house is located next to Ireland’s only natural spa and is also a two-minute walk from the pubs in the center of the village of Lisdoonvarna. Guests will love the tasty creations of John Sheedy, who is considered one of Ireland’s finest chefs and uses all locally-sourced ingredients.

What our travelers say: “This was my favorite accommodation. From the moment we arrived, Martina & Jim treated us as special guests. The food was outstanding, the bar area was warm and cozy, the rooms were very clean.”

These are just some examples of the unique accommodations you’ll stay at on our biking and walking tours in Ireland. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868 or visit www.vbt.com. They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

Meet VBT Featured Traveler: Marjorie D.

peru hiking
Marjorie D. embodies all that we love about our travelers. Her passion for meeting new people, exploring new destinations and sharing her travel experiences with those closest to her make us feel so fortunate that she is one of our most prolific travelers. She has been all over the world with VBT to amazing destinations like Italy, South Africa, Poland, Slovakia, Vietnam, France, Czech Republic, Peru and more. While Marjorie keeps vacationing with VBT because she loves the way we facilitate her travel experience, she has also recruited friends and family to join her over the years. “I had traveled with other companies by bike to places like Costa Rica, Ireland and New Zealand before VBT had similar trips but now I am sold on VBT,” she told us. “The pre- and post-trip options, and the focus on the history and the culture of destinations can’t be beat!” We asked Marjorie to tell us about some of her VBT experiences and she wrote us back a novella! As you can tell, this multi-time traveler has made a lifetime of memories while traveling the world with VBT.

My long history with VBT began in the early 1990s when my sister and I took your Swiss Lakes trip. I fell in love with that way of traveling: athletic activity (cycling and hiking), first-rate hotels, wonderful food, excellent bi-lingual leaders, planned cultural and historical events for our group, and (very importantly) mixing with the locals to learn about how they really lived. We weren’t just staring out the window of a van for hours upon end in extremely large groups; i.e. “If it’s Tuesday it must be Belgium”.

grandkids amsterdamMy late husband Alan and I then began traveling more extensively with your company ; at first a domestic trip to Virginia’s Eastern Shore, followed by a few more—still in the ’90s—in France and Italy. It was especially terrific to have the option of inclusive airfare, something I appreciate to this day. Sadly, my husband passed away in 2000 but I knew he would want me to continue active travel with family and/or friends…and so I did. Although I had an active practice of psychotherapy and the youngest of our 4 children was still in college, I carved out the time for VBT trips, some of them with my kids, and many of them with a wonderful group of friends and colleagues that we call, “Team Virginia”.

“Team Virginia” was the name our leaders on the Tuscan Coast biking tour we took in 2001 gave our group of 6 women and the name stuck. Team Virginia is now about 24 strong and consists of both men and Marjorie and JOhnwomen. Over the years we have traveled in all sizes of groups together with VBT, from as little as 2, to as many as eight.  In 2005 I met John B.—who is also widowed—in an aerobics class and we found that we had many common interests however biking was not one of them, at first. But he was motivated to take it up and I convinced him join me on VBT’s tour in Sicily. It was pretty hilly, but he persevered and we have since gone on many more biking and walking trips together, including the Machu Picchu walking vacation last year.  We also took my older two grandchildren on the Holland and Belgium Bike and Barge in 2012; and I was so happy to see that everyone in our group graciously welcomed and included them. Not only are they great kids but superb cyclists! What we loved about the bike and barge experience was not only the quality of the food, staff and leaders (as always) but NOT having to pack and unpack frequently. I’m sure we’ll do another barge tour one day.

I’d have to say that of all the vacations I have taken with VBT both South Africa and Vietnam were especially meaningful, with a great deal of spiritual depth involved. I especially value the opportunity to have spent time at a township near Capetown (post-Apartheid) where we witnessed those lovely people re-furbishing bicycles as a business and building homes and schools for their children; and as a contrast, being guests of a Capetown chef at her upscale home where we helped prepare a lovely meal. That’s where I learned of Bobote, a great dish with ground lamb that I often make here at home.

Hiking peruIn Vietnam all the included historical and cultural visits (Cu Chi tunnels etc) were amazing, and I don’t know where else you have to share the road with elephants, motor scooters, goats, cows, and people riding vintage bicycles with boxes of chickens strapped to the back! And since I am an animal lover, I loved trekking with llamas on some of the Peruvian walks; fortunately not on the Inca Trail itself. Doing the Inca Trail, incidentally, had been on my bucket list; and although challenging, it was also exhilarating and an absolute highlight of my travels.

I also really enjoyed my trip to Poland in the fall of 2012, which was a President’s Tour. I have Eastern European grandparents, so being in Warsaw and Krakow was particularly meaningful. We were also fortunate to have Gregg and Caroline Marston with us and I was so impressed with their generosity and charm.

Finally, I’m excited for my upcoming walking tour to Basque country, which will be my 20th trip—and certainly not my last! The Spain walking trip sounds wonderful: a terrific mix of culture and art and outdoor activity. I’m particularly excited about walking part of the Way of St James pilgrimage which will add just enough of a spiritual twist to the adventure.

We just wanted to thank Marjorie for telling us all about her travels. We wish her the best of luck on her upcoming tour to Spain and can’t wait to see where she is off to after that!

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