Cabü by the Lakes, Cavan’s Hidden Forest Sanctuary – Review

From the moment you arrive at Cabü by the Lakes, drive through the gates and up the long winding road through the forest into the beautiful nature reserve you immediately feel like you have just left the real world behind for 4 nights! 

The very first thing to impress us at Cabü were the staff who were so friendly and accommodating in a very relaxed manner.  Nothing was a problem. 

This is without a doubt 5-star self-catering!

Cabü’s beautifully crafted cabins, set in the peaceful wilderness of Killykeen Forest Park, feature open plan living, loaf furnishings, smart TVs and warming wood-burners. With accommodation ranging from intimate one bedroom cabins to three bedroom boathouses, this 100 acre private site is the perfect place for a break in Ireland.

THE CABINS

Cabü by the Lakes has 28 individual beautifully designed cabins with an impressive collection of interior items not normally found in self catering accommodation. Although modern in style they are still very much cabins. Constructed completely from wood, but with a contemporary Scandinavian feel with lots of glass windows, so no matter where you are inside the cabin you see the stunning greenery of the forest giving a calming, tranquil feeling. 

In our cabin there was six of us sharing.  We had a double bed in one room, we had our two kids in a bunk room (which was a real novelty for them) and the Grandparents staying in the third room with a double bed. The three bed Boat House cabin was the perfect size for us. We also had our Cavapoo, Poppy, with us.  Cabü is very dog friendly, they provided a bed and food bowls for our fur baby! If you are bringing your pooch, make sure you book a dog friendly cabin, not all are.  When you unload your car, you are asked to return the car back to the main car park at the entrance.  Everybody did this, and as family we really liked this because we felt our children were completely safe cycling or running around, exploring the 100-acre private site.

All cabins are detached, and the site layout is done in such smart way that each cabin feels private. During our stay, the site was fully book, but we rarely saw anyone else as we sat on our sun terrace each day enjoying coffee in the morning and wine in the evenings/afternoons!  Another nice little touch by Cabü is that they provide sheepskin rugs for the outdoor chairs and beautiful knitted Aran blankets for those chilly evenings.  Everything is thought about by Cabü.  The cabins are very well kitted out, we had fully equipped kitchen with everything we needed. We even had different style glasses from champagne flutes to cocktail martini glasses.  This is certainly not your typical Irish self-catering house rental! 

Each cabin also comes with a barbeque, and you just order a bottle of gas for €25 from the staff. This was brilliant as we ordered our meats from our local butcher who vac packed them individually for each night we cooked! But even if the weather wasn’t suitable for a BBQ, the kitchens in the cabins are very well equipped with a decent oven and electric range. Although the accommodation is self-catering, there is a feeling of luxury to it. Also, if you liked something in your cabin you could buy it, for your own home, from the on-site shop called Cabü corner.  

CABÜ CORNER 

The on-site shop, Cabü Corner, doesn’t have a lot of food stuff, but it has enough. Offering fresh bread or pastries every morning and there is a nice coffee machine also. If you do want a night off from cooking, there is a selection of ready-made meals that looked nice but, as we said before you should treat this as a self-catering break and anything in the shop is an extra. You can also top up on logs for your log burner in your cabin, order a hot chocolate or buy an ice cream. A nice touch is that the shop gives complementary makings of s’mores for the kids, which they loved and did every night. Cabü Corner has a nice selection of drinks, wines and beers which you can enjoy in your cabin or at the Sitooterie.

THE SITOOTERIE 

The communal seating area or gathering space for all cabins is called the Sitooterie. It is a lovely alternative to your cabin to sit around the great fire and enjoy a drink.  A very cool feature is the unique griddle tables.  Cabü say you can enjoy the Sitooterie space all year round whether wearing a T-shirt or winter coat, and we’d well believe them, the heat from the huge fire was incredibly cosy!

In the evenings, even during the summer, it’s not always that warm so having the big fire there made it so comfortable and really made it feel like you’re abroad. This Sitooterie is a nice family atmosphere and a perfect spot for socialising, playing games like giant Jenga and soaking up an authentic woodland experience. 

Our kids, aged 12 & 9, loved the lake and they tried various activities like paddle boarding and kayaking.  We were so impressed by the Cabü staff that worked at the boat house by the lake.  All were incredibly nice and lovely with our kids but were also very safety orientated and qualified lifeguards which kept everybody safe, but in a very relaxed manner.

FOREST BATHING 

The hot tubs and saunas were a unique experience. There are three separate hot tubs immersed in the middle of the forest. The staff were very attentive, but not intrusive.  You could order a drink and sit amongst the forest and just listen to nature while in your own private hot tub. For an extra special experience there is a Japanese hot bathtub which is submersed further into the forest.  

FOREST PARK 

Cabü is within the woods of Killykeen Forest Park on the shores of Lough Oughter.  The series of lakes and rivers offer fabulous fishing, boating and opportunities to explore the beautiful natural environment on foot or by bike. Each day we enjoyed walks and bike rides throughout the whole park and the kids enjoyed fishing one morning on the lake side. 

Cabü offer the hire of a motorboat which takes 5 people for 3 hours for €80. We would highly recommend this as it was an enjoyable afternoon for us. We packed a picnic, loaded it to the picnic basket (that the Cabin provided) and went exploring the lakes. We stopped off and moored our boat at a small island which has the ruins of a 13-century fort castle. This was exciting adventure for the whole family. 

OUR THOUGHTS

Before we arrived, we were slightly concerned that maybe the children wouldn’t have enough to do for four days. This is not a Center Parc; it doesn’t have hundreds of activities.  But we need not have worried, our children had ball, they just loved the freedom of cycling everywhere, exploring the woods, all the water sports available including kayaking, paddle boarding, boating, fishing and other excursions. Swimming in the lake was perhaps their favourite activity, particularly jumping off the jetty!  We all adored being immersed in nature for the week.  For us as a family, it was absolute perfection.  In the evenings, it was lovely to sit around the fire together, playing games and later toasting s’mores at one of the griddle tables. These are very cool picnic style tables where the gas charcoal fire is built right into the middle of the table making it perfect for everyone to sit around toasting their s’mores. 

We loved the whole Cabü experience, we loved waking up in the morning, opening the blinds to see the forest, sitting in the morning sun on our cabin deck drinking coffee listening to the sound of the leaves whistling in the trees and the birds singing. We loved that our kids had an active holiday. And it wasn’t just happy kids. We went to Cabü with the whole family, from grandparents down to our children, everybody finds something they enjoy.  Cabü is so good that when you’re checking out you are literally asking when they have availability to go back again. 

WRITTEN BY ABIGAIL FOX CARROLL & CLYDE CARROLL

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