In August 2006, Radisson opened its new Farnham Estate / Spa Resort in Ireland. The hotel is located on a 1,300 acre country estate in Cavan, which is in the middle of the Irish Lakeland region. Radisson Blu Hotels and Resorts (formerly Radisson SAS Hotels & Resorts) signed an agreement to manage the hotel in 2005.
Equidistant between Dublin and Belfast, the hotel is ideally placed as a conference centre. The Farnham offers 158 bedrooms and suites, a variety of excellent restaurants, a lobby bar, health spa and a fully equipped conference centre, with full Wi-Fi and internet facilities and a helicopter pad.
From past to present
Roy McCabe, head of the McCabe pharmacy chain in Ireland, bought the Farnham Estate for just over €6.35m in October 2001 after the death of Lord Farnham, whose family, the Maxwells, had owned the estate since 1664. The old house has since been fully refurbished to provide luxurious guest suites, public reception rooms and a cellar bar.
The original rooms of the 18th-century Great House (built in 1780) have been fully restored to their pristine opulence and guests can relax in the luxurious surroundings of the music room, boardroom and boudoir.
The project also involved the connection of elements of the original buildings including Farnham House with new contemporary spaces. This is the first time the house has been open as a public / commercial enterprise in 300 years.
The project is estimated to have cost over €85m. DBFL Structural Engineers were involved in the restoration project.
Rooms and suites
The hotel’s 146 standard rooms are located in the modern wing. The interior design is contemporary and features colours and tones from the gardens and grounds. The rooms feature images of flora, fauna, forests, hill and lakes of the estate taken throughout the year.
The suites are located in the 400-year-old Farnham House and in the modern wing. The rooms and suites each containe a mini bar, coffee and tea-making facilities, LCD television and high-speed internet access.
The 40,000ft² Farnham Estate Health Spa was designed by one of the world’s leading spa designers, Heinz Schletterer of Austria (Schletterer Wellness and Spa Design).
The spa, which opened in October 2006, has 19 dry and wet treatment rooms. These include a trilogy suite and three luxury treatment rooms (each able to accommodate two people for simultaneous treatments), a water mint thermal suite, relaxation rooms and lounges with soft lighting and a magnificent indoor / outdoor hydrotherapy infinity pool designed to accentuate the stunning views over the Farnham Estate meadows and woodlands.
There is a fully equipped gymnasium, a hair finishing salon, a pilates/yoga room, a spa retail outlet and a restaurant serving a light and health-conscious menu.
The spa also boasts a glazed meditation garden, hot and cold water splash pools, a herbal aroma bath and a salad and juice bar. The health spa offers a selection of treatment products from Kerstin Florian and Aromatherapy Associates.
The hotel has a series of fine restaurants starting with the Botanica Restaurant; this is a contemporary lounge bar and brasserie style restaurant serving a simple and creative cuisine based on fine Irish produce, with emphasis on the Irish botanical world. The restaurant has two excellent outlooks; on one side looking over the Farnham lawn and the other onto a decorative courtyard.
The interior is flooded with natural light and has an airy atmosphere. The decoration colour scheme uses warm accents of organic colours and features botanical designs. Private dining can be arranged at the restaurant for groups of up to 12 people at the Chef’s Table, which in addition to being part of the restaurant also forms part of the kitchen.
A private room for 10-12 guests, the Potting Shed, is located within the kitchen and where guests can watch the cooks at work. The Pear Tree Restaurant located within the Farnham Estate Health Spa serves a healthy and nutritious menu to spa guests.
The Botanica Bar, where guests can also relax and eat, is situated on a raised deck in the lobby of the hotel. Guests can sit on the edge and observe the scene below or for private relaxation retreat to the timber-clad snug area.
Drinks and snacks are available at the bar throughout the day. The Wine Goose Cellar Bar is in the basement of the Great House, located underneath the hotel’s reception, and features a wine cellar. Refreshments are also served in the music room, games room and the boudoir of Farnham House.
Radisson Blu Farnham Estate has ten daylight meeting rooms and one ballroom adding to an overall meeting space of 629m². The Redwood Suite ballroom spreads over 346m² and can accommodate up to 280 people in a theatre-style arrangement.
The meeting rooms are set up with an audio visual facilities panel, lighting controller, an electric projection screen that drops from the ceiling, LP820 projector and scissors lift, plasma TV and recessed ceiling speakers.
The Farnham Estate has over three miles of walking trails, which wind their way through ancient redwood, cedar, copper beech, Scots pine and yew trees around the estate. In addition, there is fishing on Farnham Lake and 1,300 acres of parkland and meadow pastures. The estate gardens contain exotic plants, orchards, a Victorian rock garden, a crannog, paths, horse riding trails and mountain bike routes.
The estate also includes the massive Farnham Lake, in addition to two other large lakes that form part of the network of loughs and islands stretching south from Upper Lough Erne.
A 6,642m golf course designed by Jeff Howes opened in 2008. The parkland course spreads over 500 acres covering a meandering stream, seven lakes and dense woodland. The front nine holes cover the rolling meadows of the estate, while the back nine cover the denser and rugged woodland, making it a tougher game for players.
Properties on the estate
A series of 20 retreats/holiday villas have also been built in the garden and orchard of the walled estate. These are being marketed by Kelly Walsh Property Advisors and Don Crotty Auctioneers. Prices range from €400,000 to €700,000 for two, three and four bedroom houses ranging from 104m² (1,120ft²) to 233m² (2,510ft²).
The full development of 53 residential houses is being carried out by Mere Capital and Bennett Construction. The second phase will involve the old stables of Farnham House; the architect is Gilroy McMahon. This scheme requires a €50m investment.