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Harbour Hotel
Photograph: Courtesy Booking.comHarbour Hotel

The 10 best hotels in Galway

Book your stay at one of the best hotels in Galway, where you can enjoy everything from boutique chic to five-star luxury

Written by
Helen Ochyra
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With its large student population and position smack bang on the monumentally popular Wild Atlantic Way, Galway is a city with plenty of dynamism. Long known as a bohemian, artsy kind of place, this western Irish city has some of the liveliest nightlife in the country, not to mention some of the best places to feast on fresh seafood and plenty of pubs for knocking back a few pints of the black stuff.

Visit in September for the oyster festival, come in summer to mess about on the river or call in in winter for cosy nights in snug pubs. And whenever you’re in town, be sure to book one of these top hotels. Some boast Orient Express train carriages or ancient abbey remains, others rooftop hot tubs or top-class restaurants, and every single one has a bar worth staying in for and a location that makes exploring Galway easy.

Best hotels in Galway

The sort of place the romantic dream of getting hitched, Glenlo Abbey hotel is a gorgeous five-star set in extensive gardens – and complete with its very own 18th-century abbey. Even better, in the grounds you’ll find two original Orient Express train carriages repurposed as the fine-dining Pullman restaurant. The luxurious bedrooms gaze out over the landscape; the best have views of the River Corrib.

No Galway hotel has a better location than the Meyrick, the grand dame of the city’s hotel scene located right on Eyre Square, the city’s focal point. This was Galway’s Victorian era railway hotel and it retains an elegant feel today, with stately furniture and thick curtains. The hotel’s crowning glory though is its fifth-floor spa, complete with outdoor Canadian hot tub overlooking the city skyline.

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Galway’s hippest hotel is packed with up-to-the-minute design touches (pendant lights, round hanging mirrors) and has a restaurant, Dillisk, that aims to introduce Galway’s epicureans to “the unsung superfood of the sea” – aka seaweed. Harbour Hotel rooms are classic and decorated in soothing colours but you’ll want to get straight back out; this is a hotel that revolves around its restaurant.

Large bedrooms overlooking the river and a spa offering Elemis treatments and a thermal area, this large four-star can be hard to leave. There’s actually little reason to, since Marina’s restaurant serves some of the city’s best seafood dishes overlooking Lough Atalia, and Cooper’s Bar and Lounge at The Galmont pours pints and Irish whiskies by an open fire overlooking the water. You can’t fail to explore Galway though, it’s only 500 metres to Eyre Square.

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The Latin Quarter is Galway’s nightlife central and this freshly spruced up boutique hotel is right in the heart of the action. Before the Residence Hotel was the city’s chicest boutique hotel this was a 16th century Carmelite convent, but the bedrooms are every inch 21st century, with stylish contemporary decor and Netflix on the TV. Downstairs in the bar there’s local live music every night of the week and drinks are served until late Fridays and Saturdays – plan a weekend lie-in.

Surely the world’s most famous designer of headgear, Philip Treacy has turned his creative hand to hotel design in Galway, turning out this playful five-star a 15-minute walk from the city centre. G Hotel’s rooms and suites have big beds, squishy sofas and opulent bathrooms (think double showers and freestanding tubs) and there are – of course – door handles in the shape of hats. Make time for a drink in the Grand Salon, where you’ll find a whopping 300 twinkling mirror balls.

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The House Hotel is a shopper’s paradise, with a location just steps from Shop Street (yes, that is Galway’s main shopping street), decadent afternoon tea menu for recharging post-retail therapy and a pink-walled cocktail bar for showing off those purchases. Rooms are comfortable, with even the standard ones having king-sized beds, and there are bright fabrics and funky wall art throughout.

Yes, we know, Jurys Inn a chain hotel – but it’s also got the largest beer garden in town, perfect for soaking up the sun overlooking the River Corrib and ordering from the BBQ menu. If it’s not beer garden weather (this is Ireland) there’s also a bar at the front of the hotel with views of the city’s historic Spanish Arch, while the rooms are surprisingly spacious and can sleep up to three adults.

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There’s a fresh look to this recently refurbished boutique hotel, with a mellow grey and ivory colour scheme and crisp white linens. Some of Forster Court's bedrooms can sleep three or even four adults, which makes this a great value base, and there’s a very funky gin parlour downstairs, serving more than 500 different gins from around the world.

This traditional hotel has classic, spacious rooms in the heart of the city centre, just a few minutes’ walk from the train station. If you’re feeling really lazy there’s a proper Irish bar here, complete with oak panelling and locals supping Guinness, but the real draw of the Park House Hotel is its super-central location – there are dozens of places to eat and drink within easy stumbling distance.

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