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Inishowen Gateway 3.0

Buncrana, Ireland

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Review Summary

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  • On the banks of Lough Swilly, near a beach and golf course
  • Spacious rooms with flat-screen TVs, kettles, and modern bathrooms
  • Large indoor lap pool, children’s pool, hot tub, sauna, and steam room
  • Spa offering beauty treatments and massages
  • Gym with diverse equipment and fitness classes
  • Classy restaurant with stunning views
  • Traditional pub offering live music weekly
  • Large children’s playroom with multiple activities
  • Ballrooms and conference rooms for weddings and meetings
  • Free golf at the next-door Bucranan Golf Course
  • Free hotel-wide Wi-Fi and on-site parking


  • Some rooms are dated
  • No public computers or business center
  • Breakfast isn’t included in all room rates
  • Complaints about restaurant quality

Bottom Line

The three-pearl Inishowen Gateway Hotel stands out for its numerous on-site amenities, including  an indoor pool, a spa, a fitness center, and a large children’s play center. There's also an on-site restaurant, though it doesn't get great reviews and breakfast isn’t included in all room rates. The 80 rooms are clean, and have flat-screen TVs, kettles, and free Wi-Fi, but decor is dated. The Inishowen is located on banks of Lough Swilly, near both the beach and a golf club. For an Inishowen Peninsula hotel with somewhat more up-to-date style, travelers may prefer the Ballyliffin Lodge & Spa Hotel, though rates are higher.

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Mid-range hotel with a mix of elegant and homey styles that draws families and couples

The Inishowen Gateway is housed in a modern, two-story tan building on a large property. Travelers enter into a spacious and well-lit lobby with elegant floral design carpeting, a curved wooden front desk, and two plaid armchairs plopped in the center of an open area from which travelers can see the second floor. This floor is classier, with modern armchairs with beautiful prints, heavy drapes, and iron railings and chandeliers. The hotel's main restaurant has an elegant vibe, with wooden floors, blond wooden tables adorned with white plates and purple flowers, complemented by purple chairs. By contrast, the bar has a low-key pub vibe, with weathered wooden floors, wooden tables and chairs, and flat-screen TVs. Overall, this property is a mix of homey and elegant styles that draws vacationing families and couples. 


On the banks of Lough Swilly, next to a golf course and close to the beach

Inishowen Gateway is located on the banks of Lough Swilly in the northern part of Ireland. It’s right next to Buncrana Golf Club, where guests can golf for free (depending on availability). The hotel is also directly on the Wild Atlantic Way, a tourist trail that follows the western coast of Ireland. There are a few restaurants within walking distance and travelers can find lots of outdoor activities nearby, such as Lisfannon Beach, a four-minute drive away. However, there's a closer beach at just a five-minute stroll from the hotel. Swan Park takes 21 minutes on foot or a four-minute drive to reach. The ancient site of Grianan of Aileach is a 21-minute car ride, while Fort Dunree is a 19-minute drive. 


Homey, if dated, rooms with electric kettles and flat-screen TVs

Rooms at Inishowen Gateway are clean, spacious, and homey, though most have dated decor. Details vary, but most rooms include white linens, tan or orange walls, floral art pieces on the walls, plaid or printed curtains, and wooden furniture. However, Superior Rooms and the Master Suite have a contrastingly elegant style, with contemporary furniture and stylish bedding. All rooms provide electric kettles for coffee and tea, older flat-screen TVs, and hairdryers. The bathrooms are up-to-date, with stylish tan and cream tiles and shower/tub combos. Keep in mind this is a kid-friendly hotel that caters to a lot of family events, so those without kids might want to request a unit away from groups for a peaceful night. 


Pool, hot tub, gym, spa, restaurant, bar, ballrooms and meeting rooms, and an indoor kids play center

There are lots of family-friendly activities at the Inishowen Gateway, including a large indoor lap pool with lovely floor designs. It’s complemented by a hot tub, a sauna, and a steam room and there are twice-daily family hours. The on-site gym has a good selection of weight-training equipment and cardio machines, though some of the equipment is a bit dated. Aerobics classes are also offered free of charge. The spa provides a range of beauty treatments -- cosmetics, facials, and hair styling -- as well as massages.

The hotel’s elegant Peninsula Restaurant serves dinners based on locally sourced ingredients and has  stunning views of the golf course and sea. There's also a breakfast buffet in the mornings, but it's not included in all room rates. The cozy Loughview Bar has a traditional pub atmosphere with live music each week and is open from lunch to dinner. Note that there have been some past complaints about food quality.

Inishowen Gateway has two ballrooms that are popular with weddings, plus two conference rooms and a capacity of 500 people. The property lacks a public computer or business center, but the front desk can print documents for guests. For children, the hotel provides a supervised large indoor play center that’s open during the holidays and weekends and is transformed into a "Santa’s Kingdom" during the winter. It has a large pool table, toys, crafts, a library, and an area to watch films or play video games. Family packages can include free admission to the workshops and play center. Parking is free and ample and Wi-Fi is free throughout the property. 

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