We hadn’t been to Kerry since Cathal was very small, and had only spent an afternoon in Killarney then as we were based in Tralee. Our last visit to the town for a minibreak was severely restrictedby the Foot and Mouth Outbreak back in the early 2000’s (the National Park was closed) and we’d been saying that Kerry would be high on the list for our staycation this year. Then, the stars aligned as they sometimes do and I received an email inviting us to review Hotel Killarney’s family offering. We went last weekend, and by some further alignment of stars we got amazing weather while the East Coast suffered flash floods!
It’s a long drive from Wexford to Killarney, but helpfully we stopped a lot to go to the toilet. So many times I should probably start posting toilet reviews. Or do an app on the nearest available public toilet so we don’t have to suffer the indignity of ditches when things get urgent.
Hotel Killarney was easy to find, at a roundabout on the Cork Road as we entered the town. We arrived at the Hotel in the spills of rain and the carpark seemed full so we parked around the back and dashed in in the rain.(top tip, for closer parking turn in to the Club Vitae entrance). Our small girl needed a wee and things got stressful. We were all hungry, we were given the wrong room key and had to go back to reception to switch it and I admit there was a moment when I wondered why I had dragged the kids across the country on a wet Friday afternoon. After the initial hiccup on check in which was remedied quickly and efficiently with apologies, colouring packs to apologise for the short wait for the kids, and a staff member to go up to the correct room with us to make sure that everything worked properly. Mistakes happen, I can handle that. and they give a business the opportunity to show their true colours- the fixing of the mistake gives you real insight as to the customer service that’s on offer. Hotel Killarney dealt with the initial problem faultlessly.
Our room, called a “Family suite 3+2 “was perfect. It was basically interconnecting rooms but in one of the rooms instead of a bathroom there was a kitchenette (with fridge, little sink and microwave), instead of a fitted wardrobe there was a dining table and a proper couch (that turned into a sofa bed if you wanted it to) and a double bed. The other room had a King Bed and Single Bed and was a more traditional set-up with bathroom and wardrobe, and TV.
It’s a 3 star hotel, which in my book translates as no fancy toiletries to bring home but communal squeezy soap instead, no safe in the room and crucially, less ornamenty stuff in the rooms that the kids could wreck.
The kids, sick of each other’s company on the journey split up, with one staying in the single bed in our room and the other two opting to share the other room. After a bit of bed and couch jumping, an outfit change for a small girl (“I need to wear a tutu to dinner, it’s a hotel”) it was dinner time.
On Friday evening we chose to eat st the hotel restaurant, Lannigans. Our review deal was B&B only so this came from our own pockets. There’s something nice about eating in a hotel dining room, maybe it’s nostalgia, or maybe it’s that these days we rarely eat places that have tablecloths (so much so that the small girl declared “this places is too fancy for us” when she saw the elegantly folded napkins on our table). The colouring which was delivered promptly changed her mind, as did the basket of bread rolls.
The kids were very eager to check out the Kids’ Club after dinner, and we weren’t holding them back. The Playroom is open Friday 7-10.30pm; Saturday 10am -12pmo and 7pm to 10.30pm and Sunday 10am to 12pm, it’s supervised and there’s no charge. There are various activities organised by the Hotel Friendly Fellows too including Bubble Soccer, Dodge Ball, Bungee Basketball and Splash Mania, times are available from Reception or in the playroom. The outdoor playground is good too with a variety of swings and slides.
The adult offering was a three course meal for €22.50 or the bar menu, we opted for the former but due to the very generous portions s only ate 2. The menu was traditional Irish hotel fare, and well executed as such. The vegetable soup that Laoise chose was perfect “hotel soup” that brought me back in time. The kids’ menu had the usual suspects, burger, chicken nuggets, sausages (4 of them!) and mash, and cheesy pasta as well as a half roast. They also had a good selection of starters (from €2.50) and desserts including fresh fruit salad and warm pancakes (all only €2.50 each). We ate til we could eat no more.
Saturday started well- the breakfast buffet had Coco Pops and a machine that made pancakes when you just press a button. After eating our weight in food we strolled into the town centre (via the outlet centre) and a return for a swim at the hotel. As the clouds disappeared we decided to visit Torc Waterfall and had a lovely wooded walk to the waterfall.
The hotel also has a pool, in the Clubvitae part (which houses a gym and treatment rooms too), with three different depth pools separated but in a way that it’s easy to supervise kids in the different sections at once if the pool isn’t too busy. The Clubvitae part also has a soft play area which is open at certain times exclusively for hotel guests (we had it to ourselves for half an hour on Sunday morning). Upstairs there’s a “Teen Loft” which has arcade games and a chillout area and which really grabbed my boys’ attention. This area is unsupervised though so you can’t just leave your kids there like you can in the playroom. Our crew enjoyed a movie, complete with hotel supplied treats (with parental pre-approval) of juice, crisps and sweets.
There are LOTS of steps if you approach from the top road as we did but the views are glorious. Finally we fitted in a late lunch Muckross House Gardens cafe and sat outside enjoying the sunshine.
Sunday brought us to try out more Coco Pops, the soft play centre, the teen loft and the piano in the playroom before we left the hotel (the 11am check out might be tricky if you don’t have kids who are up at dawn like ours) we had a few more hours to spend in Killarney.
We parked in the Cathedral carpark and crossed into the National Park, spending much too long in the playground before bribing the kids with cake and ice-cream to fuel them for a walk by the river down to the lake.
On the way back, the holiday spell broke, there was whining, and requests to be carried and generally sibling tit-for-tat. We piled back into the car and set for home. And ten minutes later we had our first wee stop.
We love a good hotel break, especially one that works for the whole family. Hotel Killarney delivered.
Disclosure: We were guest of Hotel Killarney and enjoyed a complimentary weekend B&B stay in the hotel in exchange for this honest review. The review is my own honest opinion (and those of my family) and has not been dictated by the Hotel.