Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Review - Killarney Towers Hotel , Killarney Ireland

In a wonderful location in the middle of Killarney is the Killarney Towers Hotel. This is rated a 4* hotel and it certainly lives up to that reputation. You'll enter a sleek, modern looking lobby with the reception desk on the left. The rest of the hotel is decorated in beautiful darkwood throughout. The halls are beautiful  and lighting enhances the wood.

The rooms are small but elegantly appointed. The king sized bed is comfortable. There are extra pillows in the closet which will probably be needed as one pillow alone was too flat. There are two upholstered chairs and a table in the room.

The only issue we had with the room is the lack of storage space. There is a long bureau that the flat screen t.v. is on that appears to have a compact refrigerator in on the left side but in fact holds a coffee pot and hairdryer - no refrigerator at all. There are three small drawers for storage, not enough for much. The closet has several hangers which are difficult to get to due to the bar being hung from the back of the closet to the front.  There are two nightstands with a small drawer in each.

The bathroom is small but beautiful. There sink area is marble, and there is a jacuzzi tub, a rarity in any hotel. The bathroom has great amenities- shampoo,body wash, body lotion, soap, shower cap and grooming kit. There is a built in shelf above the toilet that has plenty of storage space.

The room had air conditioning and more important is quiet. It was extremely clean as is the entire hotel. Our room, 331, was located next to a storage room that had was sounds like a water heater or the main air conditioning unit in it.  We heard a humming noise all the time, but it quickly became white noise and we didn't notice it much and after the noisy room we had at the prior hotel we were in, this didn't bother us.

There is a very good restaurant in the hotel called the Innisfallen Restaurant that served a good buffet breakfast (included in rate) and dinner (extra but reasonably priced). There is also a restaurant called O'Donoghue's Public House offers a full menu from 12:30 pm to 9:30 pm.  O'Donoghue's also has local entertainment each evening beginning at 9:30 pm. However, there are so many restaurants and pubs close to the hotel it is fun to go out and try them while you are staying in Killarney.

Room service is available between 12 noon and 9 pm, with a limited menu available between 9 pm and 7 am. Breakfast room service is available by filling out the door hanger card and leaving in your door before 3 am.

There are three other entertainment venues at the hotel - The Kube Bar, Scruffy's Bar and The Crypt Nightclub.

The hotel has a large indoor pool as well as a well equipped gym. There are also spa services available at the sister hotel, Killarney Plaza.

We were very satisfied with our stay at Killarney Towers and wouldn't hesitate to stay here again or recommend it for clients.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

B & B Review - A Michaeleens Manor - Cong, Ireland

If you are a fan of the movie The Quiet Man, THIS is the place to stay in Cong! A Michaeleens Manor is a modern bed and breakfast that is decorated in and out with pictures, posters and quotes from the movie. 

Upon arrival, the house was locked with instructions to walk across the street to the hostel and camp grounds and ask for Margaret Collins. Margaret and her husband Gerry are two very hardworking people. Besides owning A Michaeleens, they own the hostel across the street and Gerry owns and operates the Quiet Man Museum in town.

Margaret told us to pull around the back of the building and she'd meet us inside with keys to our room.  We were given our keys, plus a booklet Gerry had written about the area and a copy of the DVD of The Quiet Man.  Margaret asked us approximately what time we would be up for breakfast and we told her and she said not to rush, she'd be serving breakfast upstairs when we were ready in the morning.

The house is modern and the rooms were private and quiet. Gerry has built a replica of the bridge in the Quiet Man in the backyard and there is also a tennis court.  Our room had a double bed, with comfortable seating. The bathroom was very large compared to some of the other b & b's and hotels we stayed in during our stay in Ireland. There was only soap in the bathroom, so bring your own shampoo, conditioner and washcloths is you use one.

There is a coffee pot for coffee or tea and a hairdryer in the room.  In this b & b there is even a plug for the hairdryer near a mirror, which was a problem at a few hotels.

Margaret gave us the name of a very nice restaurant in the town to have dinner at, which we enjoyed The b & b is next to Ashford Castle, which we planned to go to in the morning for a cruise with Corrib Cruises to see the Connemara Mountains.

The bed was comfortable, and we did end up watching the DVD to see if we could match places in  Cong to the movie.

The next morning we awakened to the smell of eggs cooking upstairs. Margaret and Gerry were both up and we had a delightful conversation with both of them before Gerry was off to work. 

We highly recommend A Michaeleens Manor.  The owners are delightful, rooms modern quiet and comfortable and it is in a great location to walk around in town and on the grounds of Ashford Castle.

Hotel Review - Burlington Hotel, Dublin Ireland

We spent two nights at the Burlington Hotel on a recent Taste of Ireland Tour. This hotel is rated four stars. It is located outside the City Center in a quiet residential neighborhood that is a 15 minute walk from St.Stephens Green. There are City bus stops right outside the hotel, so it is easy to get around.

The lobby setting is cozy. On the left is a sitting area with a coffee and pastry bar. The are many seats here but because this hotel is used by many tour operators and has a convention center, finding  seating is tough if you want to spend some idle time in the lobby to enjoy a great cup of coffee.
Coffee bar

We were the first in our group at check in and were able to be assigned a room right away, room 450, a Classic.Room.  This room was a triple with  double and twin bed. The room and bathroom were very clean but rooms could use some updating. The desk area across from the beds revealed a huge bowing of the shelf. Carpet was clean but has seen better days. The t.v. is not flat screen and we had much trouble with the remote. There is a small hairdryer with very little power.  There was an empty mini bar and we put bottles of water in it that never got cold so not sure if it worked.

This particular room was extremely noisy. It was the second door from the elevator and we could hear conversations all night as people coming off the elevators chatted loudly through the  paper thin walls. Others on our tour who had rooms near the bar complained of hearing loud music There is some type of unit on the roof under our window that is extremely noisy at it runs 24 hours a day. There is no air conditioning in the Classic rooms and it was unbearably hot.(Executive rooms and higher have air conditioning). The window only opened about 2 inches from the top so opening the window brought no relief and we were awakened by the noise from outside the window several times. Ask for a room that does not face the courtyard.

A nice touch in the bathroom is a glass door enclosure.  While the fit was a bit tight, we didn't have to worry about water escaping a shower curtain and coagulating on the floor.

A very nice buffet breakfast is included until 10:30 am. It is the same every day. There are two other restaurants that are in the hotel but highly priced.  There is a small neighborhood two or three blocks away with more moderately priced food as well as food tents outside for lunch on the river.

There is a gym and many conference rooms in this hotel. There were several conferences going on while we were there and the lobby was always busy and full or people.  Since it is used by so many tour operators and for conferences this hotel might not be desirable for solo travelers, couples or families traveling independently.

Staff was professional and polite at all times. Service at the coffee bar and breakfast was very good and the cleanliness of our room was maintained. There are no washcloths in the room so if you like to use one, bring your own. We knew that not all European hotels offer washcloths, so we brought some from home and left them in the trash when we checked out.

 This is considered four start luxury in Europe. If not for the noisy room, we would rate it a four star but certainly do not consider it luxury.  We felt it was too crowded and non-exclusive due to all of the conference to be considered a luxury hotel.