Here's what happened when we got a taste of the new and exclusive elements of the Shandon experience...

This week I had a wonderful opportunity to visit the Shandon Hotel & Spa to celebrate the opening of the new Marbles Restaurant.

I had never stayed at the hotel before, but being from Letterkenny I’m regularly there to enjoy the spa and sea views at Sheephaven Bay.

Now, I see why an overnight stay at the Shandon is a must for the best Donegal getaway. Driving up to the hotel is like a little escape from reality, all you can see from the front windows is the stunning Donegal landscape and the tranquil waters of Marble Hill Beach.

#ThatView comes naturally, but the warm and relaxing atmosphere inside the hotel is something that’s carefully achieved by the Shandon team.

We checked into a Junior Suite, which was like a little boutique apartment. It had its own bedroom, sitting room and modern bathroom. It was bright and spacious, with lovely luxurious touches and welcome treats.

Junior Suite at the Shandon Hotel

Welcome treats in the Junior Suite at the Shandon Hotel

I couldn’t wait to see the morning views, and they didn’t disappoint! The Shandon are currently building 18 more bedrooms to the front of the hotel so even more guests can stay and soak in the unique scenes. There’s a new Honeymoon Suite on the horizon too, that promises to have the best views in the house.

Junior Suite at the Shandon Hotel

The big event, and the reason for our stay, was the opening of the new Marbles Restaurant. An intimate and stylish space has been opened above the Shandon Bar for fine dining and special occasions. Marbles opens to the public on March 17th, and tables are already booking up fast for the next number of weekends.

Hotelier Warren McCarthy cuts the ribbon to officially open the new Marbles Restaurant at the Shandon Hotel, 14th March 2018.

Marbles Restaurant opens at the Shandon Hotel, 14th March 2018

Rachel McLaughlin and Carolynne Harrison at the opening of the new Marbles Restaurant at the Shandon Hotel

At this week’s special opening, we enjoyed drinks in the plush new JonJo’s lounge, with a warm welcome from General Manager Carolynne Harrison and music by Jamie Brown. We could see how JonJo’s was designed to be an inviting space for guests to meet and sip a Shandon G&T before dining at Marbles.

The menu at Marbles is without a doubt its strongest element. We had a taste of the food cooked up by Head Chef Josie Gallagher and Executive Chef Anthony Finn, and every dish was divine.

Like the elegant decor of Marbles, the presentation of each course was a work of art and a feast of flavours. My main course, pan-seared turbot, was so delicious I can’t wait to have it again. Enjoying exquisite seafood by the sea is a real treat here.

The dessert selection was a fun mix of mini sweets. The gin, elderflower and blueberry crème brulee, presented in a cute plant pot dish was a real highlight to end the interesting meal.

If this evening’s table d’hôte menu is anything to go by, Marbles is going to be a new favourite for fine dining foodies in Donegal.

Staying at the Shandon also means we got to taste the famous breakfast in the sparkling McCarthy Suite. A healthy table features detox water, smoothies and delicious fruits and porridge. The pancake machine is a big attraction at the continental table – who doesn’t love being served fresh hot pancakes? Guest can also get the full works at the hot breakfast area, and it’s an added luxury to have breakfast in a ballroom.

I think what makes the Shandon special is the combination of luxury and a homely feel so every guest feels welcome, relaxed and comfortable. There’s always the Shandon Spa for a purely relaxing retreat, and I would always recommend a visit to the impressive thermal suite.

Marbles Restaurant is just an extra exclusive element in the Shandon experience to cater to even more guests and visitors. The restaurant opens on March 17th exactly two years since the hotel celebrated their opening celebration which was on the 17th March 2016.

The 17th March is a special day not only for the hotel but for the McCarthy Family, the Managing Director and Proprietor Warren McCarthy chose the opening celebration date in honour of his father, Michael McCarthy who celebrates his birthday on St Patrick’s Day.

Restaurant Manager Konrad Palys said he is very encouraged to see that the first two weekends are already fully booked in Marbles Restaurant, he advised of early booking for both residents and nonresidents to avoid disappointment. To book, call 0749136137 or email

Note: I was a guest of the Shandon Hotel & Spa this week, but all opinions are my own and based on my experience during the stay.