Inis Meáin coastline on the Aran Islands, Ireland, nature, sea, beach

Monastic Solice

Inis Meáin rugged coastline on the Aran Islands, Ireland, nature, sea, waves

Monastic Solice

Inis Meáin coastline on the Aran Islands, Ireland, nature, sea, beach

Monastic Solice

The design hotel, Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites in the Aran Islands, Ireland
Perfect escapism where nature has been simply framed in absolute purity of design


A small coastal design hotel, Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites strikes a deliberate pose of monastic purity in appearance, reflecting its gorgeous remoteness, situated on the Irish Aran Islands, just off Galway Bay, Ireland. As soon as you catch a glimpse of the middle Aran island (the least busy of the three) you are enchanted and begin to realise why this island has long been the secret enclave for playwrights, artists and escapists alike.

Think of natural barren beauty, lichen-weathered limestone outcrops, clear aqua green waters, folklore woven through the resilient islanders and fresh lobster hoisted from the bay to be prepared by no-nonsense chef-owner Ruairí de Blacam. Ruairí, together with his co-owner and wife Marie-Thérèse, has crafted a signatory island retreat that is as honest and simple as the beauty of the island itself. Shaped like a ship anchored onshore, Inis Meáin by the Irish studio de Blacam and Meagher architects draw inspiration from the island landscapes of terraced limestone and is unique in Europe. The elongated structure echoes the distinctive slabs of horizontal stone that make up so much of the island. Inis is humble yet distinct in design, and whilst it may share much with the buildings of the island, it is a statement piece of understated elegance: protective, low-slung and almost monolithic.

With no TV, this is your chance to find yourself – bikes waiting for a ride, rods at the door looking for fish or that book waiting to be read - be active, be restful, be good to yourself. This is seriously slow living. This design hotel has an honest spirit throughout - plainly simple and original, all at the same time. With just five design suites, you need to be off the mark early to get a room here – the place is only open from April to September – so get your act together and request a room as early as possible. Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites is a design hotel with an honest spirit throughout - plainly simple and original, all at the same time.

See how minimalist design is tamed with cashmere


The design hotel, Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites in the Aran Islands, Ireland The interiors of the design hotel, Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites in the Aran Islands, Ireland

The four Burren suites follow a similar design template – each is 50sqm with a 10-metre long continuous window providing an uninterrupted view of the island and Galway Bay, stretching from the Connemara Mountains to Black Head in the Burren. Indoor to outdoor is beautifully blurred with generous use of glass, allowing visitors to enjoy the view, whatever Mother Nature is doing outside. The fifth suite is the Connemara Suite, 130sqm and includes a vast living area with stunning wraparound views of the island, Galway Bay and Connemara from a 15-metre long continuous window to the north and west. It is designed for utmost luxury and is perfect for two guests. As well as a luxuriously pared-back bathroom, the living area features a large L-couch around a wood-burning stove, a mini-library and the dining room features iroko teak joinery.

Your taste buds are teased with fabulous combos - a journey into the heritage of the island


Dining by Chef Ruairi de Blacam, Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites in the Aran Islands, Ireland Dining by Chef Ruairi de Blacam, Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites in the Aran Islands, Ireland

Maverick, bold, fresh and natural sums up the kitchen here; prepared, sourced and imaginatively cooked by co-owner & Chef Ruairi de Blacam. The essence of the location is thoroughly captured in Inis Meaín's foodie concept of organic Elemental Eating, which sees the tastes of the land and seas cast a delight of honest mouth-watering flavours on each foodie plate.

Each dish plays with just two key elements/ingredients, so on an evening tasting menu, you can savour the foodie delights of this remote outpost of nature, as true as they could be. The hotel also provides hungry explorers with a super basket of tantalising tastes for daytime adventures, where you explore and find your own spot of Inis Meáin.


Finding your favourite spot on the island is a challenge - there are just so many


The rough seas on Inis Meáin in the Aran Islands, Ireland, waves crashing against the cliffs

Pretty much at the epicentre of the unspoilt island, Inis Meáin has sweeping views back towards the coastline, which is never far on this tiny Aran isle. From the hotel, you can set off and explore the fauna & flora, pristine shorelines and countless points in which to stop for a moment of deep contemplation.

Arrival here is mostly via routes from County Galway -  the frequent ferry leaving Rossaveal harbour on the west coast, or there is a limited service from Doolin, Co. Clare. You can also fly to Inis Meáin from Connemara Airport in Inverin.

Meet the true ambassadors of this Aran island - their love is totally infectious.


Marie-Thérèse & Ruairí de Blacam, hotel owners of the Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites in the Aran Islands, Ireland

Marie-Thérèse & Ruairí de Blacam are the kindred souls behind this elemental refuge where life is sweetly in the slow-lane. A duo with such complementing talents and a vision that extends beyond their den sees them reaching out and “grasping nature, the elements and folksy heritage. Every detail is inspired by the island and the unique way of living that is necessary in such a remote location of natural beauty”.

The pair host guests with such apparent ease, a chilled at-your-own-pace kind of stay, so pleasantly addictive and crafted with thought by Marie-Thérèse & Ruairí. 

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