The Clew Bay Hotel in the centre of Westport town was established in 1959 and has been in the family ever since. The hotel has oodles of charm and even its own ever-changing art gallery.
Maria and her husband Darren’s mission is to have “our customers arrive as guests and leave as friends”.
What’s your top tip for first-time visitors to Westport?
Always ask locals for recommendations for whatever you are looking for. Things to do, best pubs, restaurants, places to go. Its what I would always do if I am away, you can’t beat local knowledge for finding quirky places to see & always eat where the locals do.
When you go for a walk in or close to Westport, where do you like to go, and why?
I love walking with my 2 dogs on a loop around Rosbeg. Even though it’s the same walk, I never get tired of it. The sea & Croagh Patrick look different every day and I finish it off with the dogs (not me) going for a swim at the pier. Magic.
What’s your favourite Westport festival, and why?
Ones I like to attend are Westival & the Rolling sun book festival and The Bluegrass festival. I love the buzz in the town when Gaelforce & Sea2summitt adventure races are on, although I am far too lazy to take part.
If you weren’t a hotelier, what would you choose to be?
Psychology has always been an interest of mine so I would have liked to do something in connection with that. I also love music & animals.
What’s the strangest thing someone has left behind in a room in your hotel?
An oxygen tank!
What’s the most heartwarming experience you’ve had as a hotelier?
I love when you can do something small for somebody and it just means so much. It’s the little things you may do that you get the best feedback on sometimes & it’s the best feeling.
If you could stay a week in any hotel in the world, where would you choose, and why?
Phinda Game Reserve in South Africa, one of my favourite places in the world, for the people, the animals, the food & wine. I love that It employs locals and a percentage of what you pay goes back into the local community & schools.
What do you like best about what you do?
The variety and believe me there is never a dull day, we always say here how many books we could write. Also, it’s the people, I don’t think there is any other industry where you have to be an employer, social worker, phycologist, mentor, chef, barman, receptionist, electrician, plumber…the list is endless. The phrase, ‘jack of all trades & master of none’ comes to mind!