07 Oct 2022

HOSPITALITY HEROES: Have a unique experience and enjoy the wonderful Wild Atlantic Way

Elaine McInaw, Donegal Hotel Collection has been crowned one of Iconic Newspapers’ Donegal Hospitality Heroes. Our ‘Donegal Dipper’ is certainly a hero in her field as she is the ‘marketing guru’ of not one but three popular Donegal hotels!

Elaine works as the Sales and Marketing Manager at the Donegal Hotel Collection. The Collection comprises of The Abbey Hotel and The Central Hotel in Donegal Town, as well as their boutique hotel, the Nesbitt Arms in Ardara, Co. Donegal.

The Donegal Hotel Collection is renowned for excellent Customer Service with the full experience of Céad Míle Fáilte. Elaine tells me “it’s all about customer service – that warm welcome is there always. People when they come here are excited to meet the people of Donegal.”

According to Elaine “each of our hotels are unique and offers something different to the tourist on the Wild Atlantic Way”. She is not wrong, I was blown away with our virtual chat about Donegal. I’m sold and my suitcase is packed for my maiden voyage to one of Ireland's most spectacular Counties on the Wild Atlantic Way.

The family run Nesbitt Arms is a charming 49 bedroom Boutique Hotel. Steeped in history and dates back as far as 1838 and boasts 180 years of hotel keeping. Post lockdown you can enjoy a dining experience at the front of the hotel with views of the close by Sliabh Liag Cliffs - the highest sea cliffs in Europe along Donegal’s rugged coast line.

The hotel has also been completely renovated since lockdown which brings an exciting new product to the Collection. Elaine tells me that the Nesbitt Arm’s bar is famous for its Irish coffee. She recommends “after a day of hiking you can’t beat an Irish coffee by the open fire in our Rambler’s Bar. Explorers can also walk the blue flag beach at Narin and inhale the sea spray or take a road trip up Sliabh Liag Cliffs. You can see what is like to be on top of the world there!”

The Abbey Hotel is renowned for its unique setting in the Centre of the Historic Town of Donegal, perfectly located to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding County. Elaine says “The Abbey has a great bar and restaurant and the Food Hall for picnic supplies. We are within minutes of stunning coastal drives, beaches and signature discovery points of the famous Wild Atlantic Way.”

Fortunately to cater for outdoor dining, The Abbey Hotel has a beautiful terrace overlooking the River Eske. The hotel is also home to The Abbey Bar, The Food Hall and Market House Restaurant which are a certified member of the Donegal Food Coast initiative.

Elaine describes her favourite mouth-watering dishes on offer “we have seafood specials everyday as we are so close to Killybegs Quay and I highly recommend the seabass. Our steak on the stone is definitely worth coming to our Market House Restaurant if you are on a trip to Donegal.”

Elaine also has a favourite dish at the Central Hotel “it has to be the Afternoon Tea with the melt in your mouth scones”. She also recommends the hotel’s unique Thai Restaurant.

Again outdoor dining is not a problem at the Central Hotel. The town centre hotel boasts a garden and a terrace. It has just been relaunched as ‘Central Al Fresco’ and looks right over Donegal Bay on the Wild Atlantic Way.

When Elaine McInaw is not telling the world about the Donegal Hotel Collection, she enjoys sea swimming on her time off. ‘It’s a daily hobby I took up last October during lockdown. We are surrounded by 11,000 kilometres of Wild Atlantic Way and 12 blue flag beaches in Donegal. I joined the Donegal Dippers and I absolutely love it, plus it’s a free attraction!”

To make the most of Donegal's spectacular coastline, Elaine also recommends I take in a Sliabh Liag boat trip with with skipper Paddy Byrne. She reckons I could even end up swimming with the dolphins!

On that note, I better finish packing because Wild Atlantic Way, I’m on my way!

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