There are few hotels in Ireland that can boast more than 120 years of continuous ownership in the same family, but such is their unique history in County Donegal. When William James Kee bought the premises in Stranorlar in 1892 for the princely sum of £400, little did he imagine that his great grandchildren, four generations later, would still be running it today.
Located in the Finn Valley, close to the Bluestack Mountain range, in the twin towns of Stranorlar and Ballybofey, this is the ideal base for visitors seeking a break in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Kee’s remains a traditional Irish hotel in every respect where old world charm is reflected through its original tapestries, chintz covered sofas, gleaming brasses and antique furniture, and where the sense of comfort and genuine welcome remain constant.
All 53 bedrooms are bright and comfortable and many have been individually designed, in keeping with the character of this lovely traditional Irish hostelry. Kee"s Hotel retains that feeling from a bygone era where creaking floorboards in the oldest part of the building seem to absorb the noises and sounds of a place filled with character and history. Stories from four generations of the family have been soaked into the very fabric of the building
The hotel’s reputation for great food is equally renowned, dating back two generations to Granny Sue Kee whose culinary skills were widely acclaimed. Even today, her wheaten bread recipe is uses daily and no guest can resist the breakfast buffet offering delicious fluffy pancakes with maple syrup to the traditional ‘full Irish’. Kee’s five course Sunday carvery and hearty pub lunches are just as legendary.
Food provenance is important here and the hotel is proud to showcase the best of local Donegal produce. From warm baked breads to freshly-landed salmon; from roasts of prime beef to Donegal lamb; from delicious homemade desserts to mouth-watering scones and patisserie, it’s all there to be savored by visitors and local diners who travel for miles.
A recent addition to Kee’s Hotel is the Terrace Garden, the ideal spot to enjoy a casual lunch or a splendid afternoon tea. Here honey-coloured stone combines with bright floral planting and a rustic wrought iron pagoda, where guests can make the most of lovely outdoor space. With easy access from the hotel’s Terrace Ballroom, this garden also provides a welcoming escape for those holding meetings or hosting banquets.
With much fine wining and dining to enjoy, at some stage during your stay you might feel the need to visit Kee’s Leisure Club. Here you can work off any excesses with a session in the fitness room and a few lengths of the pool, or just relax and sweat it out in the steam room or sauna.
But if it’s some serious pampering you’re after then book yourself into our Eternal Beauty and Wellness Clinic. As well as facials, make-overs, manicures and pedicures you can enjoy the ultimate luxury of a relaxing body massage or some hot stone therapy to ease away the stress and strains of a busy life.
But if shopping is more your thing you couldn’t have come to a better place. Donegal is renowned for its production of tweed and Magee’s in Donegal Town is one of the world’s best known suppliers. Also, just a stone’s throw from the hotel, is McElhinneys one of the finest department stores in Ireland. Hotel guests can enjoy the extra benefits of discount shopping vouchers for here where you’ll find everything from top of the range designer outfits to handmade local crafts and if you come at sale time you’ll be guaranteed to pick up some great bargains
There’s lots to see and do nearby including Glenveagh National Park; stunning Oakfield Demense near Raphoe; Dunlewey Centre or Daniel O’Donnell’s museum at Dungloe. Enjoy a trip through the rugged mountains of Barnesmore Gap into Donegal Town where the Water Bus operates year round, or drive the Wild Atlantic Way on Rosguill or Horn Head where unforgettable views are made even better by a walk on one of the many deserted beaches you’ll come across. Nor is there any shortage of cultural pursuits with a busy schedule at An Grianan Theatre and various festivals and events taking place around the county.