Home And Away Guide: Everglades Derry
Derry's magnificent Everglades's hotel from the iconic Hastings group is an ideal base to discover the charms of this 17th Century walled city and only a short drive from the beautiful beaches and rugged hills of Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal. The name of this hotel was taken from the Everglades in Florida and from the inspiration of Alistair Cook’s ‘Letters from America’. The hotel is surrounded by lovely trees and greenery in the private garden.
Built in the mid 1970's, Everglades has been part of the Hastings family for over two decades. A major refurbishment in recent years led by the late interior designer Brian Gorman has put this hotel in the high end bracket for guests seeking luxury and style. The bedrooms are comfortable and have all the facilities expected of a four star property but delivered with a five star level of service. The inviting lounge, bar and lobby areas are always a hub of activity particularly on weekends with regular entertainment for locals and residents. While more informal food is served in the bar you can also choose to eat at the "Grill Restaurant" where the menu focuses on local vegetables, meats, fish, and shellfish the Hastings Group of hotels have sourced in Northern Ireland. At buffet breakfast be sure to try Irish Porridge with Bushmilll’s Whiskey, honey and cream, or County Down handmade granola or muesli, Clandeboye Estate natural yogurt with fresh fruits, and a selection of smoked fish, cheese and cold meats.
A team of builders have been working on the redevelopment of the grand ballroom which on completion later this month will seat 650 people in a theatre-style setting and over 400 for round table events, the largest facility of its kind in the North West. There's always something happening in Derry from jazz festivals to major MTV concerts and music events. Stroll through the city centre and you are transported back in time when you enter the Craft Village, where you can stop at leisure or watch local craftsmen at work.
Malin Head, Ireland's most northerly headland is situated nearby on the Inishowen peninsula. Anyone who has listened to the BBC & RTE shipping forecasts at night will be familiar with the weather reports from Malin Head & 'sea area Malin' as it is termed. At Bambas Crown (Mythical Queen of Ireland) on Malin's north tip a Marconi telegraph station was situated there during the early 20th century making the area an important telecommunications hub in years gone by. Malin Head has always been an area of strategic importance & during World War II then Irish President Eamonn De Valera permitted British defense personnel to operate signals from there for the duration of the war in direct violation of Irish neutrality. Further out to the east, on a clear day you can see the Scottish hills. As you gaze at the distinctive shoreline around you, you will begin to visualise the dramatic and changing connections that have occurred between the mighty ocean and the land over the 15,000 years since the glaciers began to melt. If you're a nature lover or photographer, then the mixture of dramatic landscapes, rich birdlife, rare flora and rock formations, is compelling. Hastings own and operate seven other hotels in Northern Ireland including Ballygally Castle, Culloden and Europa Hotels, Belfast, The Stormont, Slieve Donard resort Newcastle and the Grand Central pencilled to open in late 2018. For best rates visit www.hastingshotels.com
Robert Walshe is a travel broadcaster with Q Radio in Northern Ireland and Travel Editor for River Media newspaper titles across the island of Ireland.