Ask the Manager – Lisa Steele, Culloden Estate and Spa, Belfast

Lisa Steele as is General Manager at the 5* Culloden Estate and Spa since October 2020.
She has a BA (Hons) in Hotel and Hospitality Management and extensive experience in the hospitality industry, having worked for renowned hotel brands including Stakis, Hilton, Millennium, Copthorne and Rezidor.

Prior to the Culloden, Lisa was the opening General Manager of the AC Hotel, Belfast and has previously held the positions of General Manager of the Malmaison Belfast and the Hotel du Vin, Edinburgh.

How did you feel when you heard the news that the hotel could reopen on May 24th? 

Delighted. This hotel, like all hotels needs people in them to bring them alive.

 What have you been doing during the lockdown? Does the Culloden have outdoor dining? 

We have been kept busy keeping the grounds in perfect condition and also a few interior alterations have been taking place. There is always something to do.

The Cultra Inn is the informal pub in the estate grounds and is a three minute walk from the hotel. It has outdoor dining which we opened on April 30th. Morning coffee and traybakes are available from 11am and food from 12 to 8.45pm daily 

 How has it been to be open for business 

We have been gradually building up to welcoming back many familiar faces. It is just wonderful to see everyone coming back again.

Art and Sculpture Exhibition at Culloden Estate

What plans have you got for the summer to enhance guests’ experience? 

The Art and Soul Festival at the Culloden Estate and Spa will see some of the biggest names in art and sculpture exhibit in the grounds from the June 26th – July 18th. Hosted in conjunction with Gormleys fine artthe exhibition will showcase the very best of Irish and international sculptures. 

Works from artists like Andy Warhol, Dali, Banksy, Picasso, Hirst and Roy Lichtenstein, as well as leading Irish sculptors such as Patrick O’Reilly, Ian Pollock, Bob Quinn, Eamonn Ceannt, Orla de Brí, will be on exhibit. 

New Spa Experiences

 Following a £750,000 renovation of its wellness spaces and treatment rooms, The Spa at the Culloden now  has a linear vitality pool.  It provides floor to ceiling views of the gardens and has a Tylarium – a combination of a sauna and steam room.  

 The Spa now prides itself as one of the top spas in Ireland and is introducing the new ‘Holywood Private Clinic’.  purpose-built facility at the Culloden Hotel MediSpa. The clinic offers a private GP service, minor surgeries, laser and advanced cosmetic treatments.  

Tradition at the Culloden

What do you feel is the tradition of the Culloden after more than 50 years in business? 

We’re the Grande Dame of the group. The Culloden was formerly a bishops’ palace, built 1897. It was  purchased by Sir William Hastings , founder of Hastings Hotels in 1966 for the princely sum of £100K. That’s why we say, Built for a Bishop, Fit for a King. 

 It became Northern Ireland’s first 5-star hotel in the 1990s and has retained its reputation and status as one if Ireland’s finest. The atmosphere is sublime, and the rooms are adorned with pieces of art and sculpture.  

Restaurant with a view

Vespers restaurant enjoys beautiful views over the estate and the Lough bar, as its name suggests, looks out over Belfast Lough to the County Antrim coastline. 

 We host visitors from all over the world, from the local Holywood, to stars from the other Hollywood. Golfers to Politicians, sports stars to pop stars. If they want luxury on the edge of the city they choose the Culloden.   

 Many visitors enjoy staying in the magnificent and large original bedrooms of the hotel with their corniced ceilings, wonderful views.  And beds are so soft that we call them cloud beds.  

 How are bookings going, do you think it will be a strong summer? Where do your guests come from mainly? 

It’s going to be a very strong summer, with the majority of guests coming from the UK and Ireland. Bookings are already up significantly on last year and people are treating themselves with upgrades and longer stays. You can’t blame them after the year we’ve all had.

 Special offers

The Culloden is an idyllic location to enjoy a romantic break in Belfast’s gold coast. It has entertained A-list couples like Victoria and David Beckham and Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas.  

 This year, we’re offering two fantastic new packages for couples to enjoy: the ‘Just the Two of Us’ package and the ‘Five-Star ‘Romance package’. Both include a luxurious stay, romantic candlelit dinner and more. 

The ‘Just the Two of Us’ package also includes a room upgrade and couple’s spa treatment. The Five Star Romance one-night package is from £175pps (€203) and Just the Two of Us two-night packages starts from £575 pps (€668) with dinner, spa treatment, champagne in room and lots more.

 We will also pay homage to the hit Netflix series, Bridgerton, with the launch of a Bridgerton-inspired afternoon tea offering an elegant selection of dainty afternoon tea delights, Duke of Hastings not included!  


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