Wednesday, 28 June 2017
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travel

August 2016

A fabulous location, amazing amenities, delicious food and tons of brilliant stuff for families; you don’t have to travel miles from home to find the perfect family retreat...

Nestled amongst the rolling green Castlereagh Hills in the beautiful County Down countryside, the award-winning four-star rated La Mon Hotel and Country Club is perfect for a break away with the kids for so many reasons. Firstly, and very importantly, are the rooms. The luxury deluxe family suite really does live up to its promise of being a large enough space to comfortably fit two single beds at one end, include a living room area with flat screen TV and, with space to spare, a large king size for mum and dad. Far enough away that everyone has a little privacy with absolutely no danger of being attacked by tiny stray loose limbs as you sleep.

And while all guests are VIPs at La Mon, there’s definitely a special emphasis on making sure the kids are happy with the service too. Extra little treats such as chocolate-covered strawberries await you on arrival, along with fun-packed goody bags complete with a ‘La Monster’s’ family fun activity pack to keep the kids entertained while you relax, and (our favourite) milk and cookies at bedtime. If you’re feeling active, there’s plenty to keep you occupied as the country club facilities include a 15m swimming pool, sauna, Jacuzzi, tennis court and if Dad’s willing to take the kids out to master their technique on the children’s putting green, Mum could perhaps even sneak off to the sanctuary of the spa for an hour to indulge and chillax with a world-renowned Elemis therapy.

There are two dining options offering the best in locally sourced produce and creative cuisine. For a more relaxed experience try Charlie’s Bistro and Lounge but for something extra special, although still child-friendly, the charming Mill Restaurant hosts an excellent resident pianist every Saturday night and serves a divine selection of classic A La Carte & Table D’Hote dishes.

The Mill at La Mon was a working mill from 1974 located on the banks of the Gransha River, a contributory river to Strangford Lough. The foundations are still located at the entrance of the property beside the bridge and river and the hotel was named for this historical story about the original owner, James Lemon, whose family name was pronounced in the Comber district as Lamon. He would no doubt be impressed by the menu in the restaurant named in his honour, as were we on our visit with the goat’s cheese and basil terrine, confit duck leg samosa and pork belly with seared scallop and Gracehill Black Pudding. The kids aren’t second class diners here with a fantastic selection for them too. In fact, families dining together are La Mon’s speciality as they make Sunday Lunch their best meal of the week with a gourmet five-course Sunday carvery and, the best news, family fun with a bouncy castle, face painting, and more La Monster activities.

The location really is perfect, just 15 minutes away from Belfast City Airport and the fabulous shopping of the city centre, yet set in the midst of tranquil countryside with options to visit terrific family visitor attractions such as WWT Castle Espie Wetland Centre in Comber (six miles away) or a ‘La Monster’s Adventure Break’ includes two nights bed and breakfast with a family trip to the nearby award-winning Streamvale Farm, plus a packed lunch picnic to take with you! Place your order as you check in, and the next day before you head off on your farming adventure, a delicious picnic will be waiting at reception for you to collect. How cool is that?

One of Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, Streamvale Farm was named the Best Tourism Amenity at the 2016 Lisburn & Castlereagh City Awards and it’s easy to see why. The stunning views are just one benefit and there’s so much to do, your only problem will be fitting it all in!

It’s a working dairy farm and you’ll see the friendly four-legged residents when they come in at milking time, (you might not get to milk a real cow but you can certainly practise on a real-life sized model) and meet many other animals on a walk around. During the summer season the little lambs need bottle fed regularly which the kids can help out with, or how about a ride around on a pony, quad or tractor ride? Kids can go free-range on a nature trail or how about some cuddle time with chicks and bunnies. Enjoy your picnic at one of the many outdoor dining tables, or the Creamery Café serves up a wide selection of goodies including Streamvale’s own incredible homemade ice cream, straight from cow to cone.

So for an absolutely super stay, where fabulous family facilities meet fantastic farmyard fun, moove over other contenders..a La Monsters Adventure Break at La Mon is top of its field.

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