Beech Hill Country House lies 2 miles from Derry~Londonderry in a tranquil wooded setting.
The hotel's history goes back over four centuries to the Plantation of Ulster. A wealthy family from England bought the land and built Skipton Hall which was subsequently razed to the ground in 1641. Its successor was also burnt to the ground during the Siege of Derry in 1689. The present house was built by one of the family's descendants and given the name Beech Hill due to the many beech trees around it.
The house has connections with the United States Navy which established its first base on this side of the Atlantic, on the banks of the River Foyle in Londonderry in 1942. The sailors were soon joined by the United States Marines who were ordered in to provide security for America’s new military in the North of Ireland. One fear was that the naval base could be attached by German commandoes landed by submarine or by subversives from neutral Ireland, south of the nearby border. Around 750 Marines found themselves guarding the Navy base and various other vitally important installations in the area. They became known as ‘The Irish Marines’ and they were billeted in the grounds of the Beech Hill estate, the men living in Quonset huts, officers in the house itself.
While they were here the Marines formed warm and lasting friendships with local people. Many Marines married girls from Londonderry and the Beech Hill-United States Marines Association that was formed then is still active today. Every year groups of Marines from America and Europe visit Beech Hill to learn about the men who came before them in World War II. Serving Marines who come here today uphold a tradition that started around 70 years ago when many of their wartime predecessors carved their names on a tree in the woods. Initials and dates are still visible on the trunk of what is now known as ‘The Marines Tree’.
The house has been welcoming visitors since the early 1990s.
Classic Rooms would be suitable for those on a budget. These are located in the basement of the main Georgian house which means they have a restricted view and are just under the main public areas. They are slightly smaller than the Heritage Rooms, offering the style and comfort of the Georgian house and are cosy and comfortable. Accommodation includes one double or two twin beds, full bath with shower only. Some rooms have garden views.
Heritage Rooms are located in the main Georgian House. They are uniquely decorated and retain their original features. Each room has a cosy double or twin beds and the bathrooms offer either bath or shower. Due to the age of the house, there is no lift access to these rooms.
Superior Rooms are located in both the original house and the modern wing. These garden view rooms are ideal for the business traveller or for families. Accommodation includes king-sized bed (some include additional single bed), full bath including tub and shower. The superior rooms are accessible by elevator.
Located in the original house each Junior Suite is unique in design and character. Design includes antique furnishings and in some cases the original fireplaces. All have garden views. Accommodation includes king-size bed, bath, and shower, antique wardrobe and have garden views. Junior Suites have been the preferred choice of notable guests such as Bill and Hilary Clinton, Edward Kennedy, Tommy Hilfiger & Will Ferrell. Due to the period of the house, there is no lift access to these rooms.
Master Suites are the most spacious suites in the house and include contemporary furnishings. These two-room suites are located in the newest part of the hotel and open directly onto the garden. Accommodation includes king-sized bed, full bath, powder room, walk-in closet, internet access, television, ipod docking station, direct dial telephone, tea and coffee making facilities and iron/ironing board.
The food at Beech Hill is country house cooking in terms of style. Menus are seasonal and feature lots of good roasts, fresh and salt water fish, game in season, supported by home grown fruit and vegetables, many of which are grown in the hotel's walled garden.