Eds Bar

We stayed in the Charleville Park hotel in North Cork for the second time recently. I had meant to post a review of the hotel bar after our first stay but didn’t get round to it. Ed’s bar is a modern hotel bar with two sections available. The bar is a typical hotel bar with plenty staff serving. We had food on both occasions when we stayed there and the the quality wasn’t 4 star and we had to wait quite a while as well which didn’t help. I was drinking Smithwicks on our recent stay and they were really good pints. The bar staff were really efficient and friendly when serving drinks.

There are toilets in the bar area and also off the corridor by the restaurant and to be fair they were very well maintained any time that I saw them. The bar lacks atmosphere as there was no live music on any occasion I was there and people tended to leave after they had eaten.

Toilet rating: 8/10
Pint rating: 7/10
Overall rating: 7/10

Final comment: Despite some of the negatives I have highlighted here I will certainly head back to this hotel and stay again as everything else from the rooms to the leisure facilities were top class.

Oscars bar (Clonakilty)

We headed down to Clonakilty recently for a family night away. I had heard very good things about the quality hotel in Clon. To be very honest about it all were true. We stayed for one night and couldn’t fault the whole set up there. We have a little girl and were looking for a child friendly hotel and we weren’t disappointed on that front. Facilities for kids are first class and you can sit back and relax while they are entertained.

Oscars bar was very busy on the saturday night that we were there. It is a big pub with plenty seating areas available. They serve pub grub and there was a lot of people eating there. The bar staff were very efficient and i wasn’t waiting long to be served. The pints of Murphys were very good, i couldn’t fault them. We didn’t stay in the bar area for the night but instead chose to sit out in the lobby where the reception is located. In fact all parents of the smaller kids were sitting here. It was great that they could run around and have fun and have the space and tolerance of staff and other guests to do it. The toilets were well maintained when i saw them and they are just before you enter the restaurant area. We are heading back to this hotel at the end of the month and i’m really looking forward to it.

Toilet rating: 7/10
Pint rating: 7/10
Overall rating: 7/10

Final comment: This hotel is certainly one to consider if you have kids of any age. I enjoyed my overall experience here and Oscars bar is worth a visit.

The Courtyard bar (Kenmare)

Last weekend we attended Fos’s stag party in Kenmare, Co. Kerry. After an enjoyable day of activities at eclipse adventure centre and a great bbq we headed back to the Kenmare bay hotel where we were staying. We had a drink in the hotel bar before hitting the town. Everybody was in good spirits and ready for some fun. The coutryard bar is small and cosy. We all just had the one drink before moving on. The pint of Guinness that i had was very enjoyable and reasonably priced too.

The toilets are near the reception desk outside the bar and were perfectly clean and well maintained when i saw them. Overall this hotel is a very decent place to stay. I found the breakfast to be excellent and only 7.50 which was well worth it.

Toilet rating: 7.5/10
Pint rating: 7.5/10
Overall rating: 7.5/10

Final comment: A very good hotel and a nice bar for a drink.

Park Hotel Bar (Kenmare)

We spent a fantastic night away in the most elegant Park Hotel Kenmare two weeks ago. We had wanted to go here for a while and finally made the journey down. The service in the hotel was the best i have experienced anywhere in the world and this is testament to Francis and John Brennan and their excellent team. On arrival at the hotel we decided to have the one drink in the bar. Since our daughter arrived, this is something we don’t/can’t do at all much any more. The bar man told us to take a seat and that he would drop the drinks over. He was dressed in a tuxedo and was chatting to a couple at the bar who had every interest in talking to him but not much between themselves. The Guinness and the glass of chardonnay went down a treat so we decided why not have another. Of course service being as it was i only needed to look in the direction of the bar man and he read my mind! Those next drinks were even nicer so we stayed for a third before checking out the hotels facilities.

After possibly the best meal i have ever consumed we wobbled our way to the bar and listened to this amazing piano player. He even started playing some Beatles tunes when i walked in. Again reading my mind! We just lounged about for a couple of drinks before retiring to our ultra comfortable room. The bar area is split into three. There is the bar itself then there is another room off the bar and the piano area as well. There are plenty comfortable seats and couches available for use. The toilets were just immaculate. You could have literally eaten your dinner off the floor there. There is a small room you enter before the toilets and then you’l find the spacious and spotless toilets. I have to say that i fully recommend visiting this hotel. It is not cheap but here you most certainly pay for what you get, which is exellence in every sense of the word.

Toilet rating: 9/10
Pint rating: 8/10
Overall rating: 8.5/10

Final comment: This is one of the highest ratings i have ever given in all my time reviewing. From the carpets to the old portraits scattered everywhere this is a must visit at least once kind of place.

Killarney Avenue Hotel

killarney avenue hotel

Stayed in this hotel once for two nights and really enjoyed the stay. It is one of Killarneys many hotels.

Greeting and Check-in
I found the check in at this hotel to be professional and efficient. The lady checking us in was friendly and provided us with information regarding events happening in the town. We parked our car in the underground car park which is very convenient.

Appearence and Location
It is an attractive looking hotel centrally located about 2 minutes walk from Killarney town center. Head for the Muckross road and the Killarney Avenue Hotel is just next to 4 star pizza. It is near the cinema and the Killarney outlet center for a bit of retail therapy!

Staff and Service
We both found all of the staff to be most helpful and obliging. The staff in the bar and restaurant were all nice to deal with.

Food
We had both breakfast and dinner in the hotel and found the Druids restaurant to be fantastic. It is a delightful place to enjoy a meal and has a unique atmosphere. I would certainly recommend a meal here as we found the standard of food and service well above par.

Internet Access
I am not sure if this hotel provides guests with internet access in the rooms or lobby area.

Price
We got a present of the stay at the hotel but i am sure that it was quite expensive. Also it has been a while since we were there. A two night weekend break in this hotel at the start of May will cost from 340 euro pps. This includes dinner on one night. That is quite expensive just for the weekend but it is a very decent hotel.

West Lodge Hotel

The West Lodge hotel is another that we have stayed at twice before. Jen has always said that it is one of her favourite hotels around.

Greeting & Check-in
The check in desk is up a few steps in the lobby as you go in the main door of the hotel. The check in at the hotel has always been fine and the staff greeting has always been very complimentary.

Appearence & Location
The hotel is just off the main road just outside Bantry, Co Cork. It has a fantastic location on some very beautiful and extensive grounds. The hotel itself has undergone some renovation and as far as i know the main focus was on their function room.

Staff & Service
I have never had any problems with the staff or service at this hotel. The staff have always been helpful and friendly. Service has generally always been good at this hotel. The only time we thought the service was lacking was when we were served our dinner in a tiny room next to the bar as the main dining room was closed. This wasn’t a great situation but thats not a big criticism at all.

Food
We have had breakfast and dinner in the hotel quite a few times and we had lunch in the lobby area as well. The food has always been of a high standard and we have never had any complaints.

Internet Access
I am unsure if this hotel offers internet access to its guests but i would think that it does.

Price
The last time that we stayed at the hotel we paid 120 euro for two nights b+b and one evening meal. This is good value when you consider that you have access to a very decent leisure center including pool and gym. The hotel enjoys one of the most beautiful locations around. Check the hotels website for more information or to book a trip down west.

www.westlodgehotel.ie

Dooleys

Dooleys is a hotel that i have stayed at twice, the most recent at a stag night.

Greeting & Check-in
On the two occasions i have been here i have found the check in staff to be both helpful and informative. There have been no delays at eithier time. The reception area is bright and spacious.

Appearence & Location
It is located on the quay in Waterford City across from the bus station. It is only a few minutes walk from the city center. There is nothing too striking about the hotel if standing outside on the street. It is a lot bigger than it appears to be. There is a nice view out over the water from the hotel.

Staff & Service
Overall it has to be said that the staff in this hotel are generally friendly and pleasant to deal with. I did find that one woman who was in charge at breakfast one morning to be loud and obnoxious to staff and other guests. The service in the bar where we spent a good lot of time watching a match was very good. The rooms at the hotel are well kept and generally clean. The first time i was there i got a better room. The bed was very comfortable and the facilities what you come to expect from decent hotels.

Food
I had a dinner in the bar on my first visit to Dooleys. I had steak and i found it very edible and quite enjoyed it. The breakfast served is buffet style and you will not go hungry. The key is to go early and avoid any crowd that may appear. It is a very decent feed.

Internet Access
I didn’t notice anything about internet access but apparently rooms are fitted with a line for connection purposes.

Price
On my first visit i got a very good deal. I booked my one night stay for two including breakfast and it came to 77 euro. This was a Saturday night as well. That is indeed very good value as prices in hotels go. I booked the deal at www.centralr.com This website is well worth a look for good value hotel rooms. On the second occasion for the stag party it cost 65 euro pps including breakfast. That was directly from the hotel. Still not bad value it has to be said. When you have use of the internet it is worth looking around at different sites for the best deal possible. Dooleys is a place that i will head back to in the future.

http://www.dooleys-hotel.ie

Hotel Champs Elysees Plaza

Hotel Champs Elysees Plaza is a top class hotel in Paris, France. Myself and Jen stayed here back in January.

Greeting & Check-in
We arrived at this hotel mid afternoon and were greeted by a very pleasant man at the front desk. He spoke perfect English and went through the check in details. He provided us with any information we needed about the hotel and Paris City. It is a very upmarket hotel and this guy was certainly very professional.

Appearence & Location
This hotel has an enviable location in Paris. Rue De Berry is where it can be found less than 5 minutes walk from the famous Champs Elysees. The hotel is very classy and appealing from outside. There is a small lobby and small bar but no restaurant. To be honest in Paris you don’t eat in your hotel anyway. There is a small breakfast room here as well. The manager told me that they were adding a bigger hotel bar in the near future.

Staff & Service
Firstly let me talk about our room in this hotel. There are executive rooms, superior suites, deluxe suites and the plaza suite. We stayed in a superior suite with 484 square feet of space, a king size bed, cd player, jacuzzi bath, power shower, the works! It is the nicest and most comfortable room we have ever stayed in. It really was ultimate luxury. The staff were very pleasant especially a night porter that we met. The breakfast was the only let down. It was included in our price but we didn’t find it great.

Food
The only food that we sampled at the hotel was the breakfast and as i said this was somewhat disappointing. The croissants and different breads were fine but there was lots of bakerys not far from the hotel with delicious hot food.

Internet Access
Our room was fitted with internet access but we didn’t make use of it.

Price
The reason i choose this hotel is because i got engaged while in Paris. It is extremely romantic and you couldn’t ask for a better location in Paris. I booked the room through last minute.com. I paid 771 euro for three nights in a superior suite with breakfast. Was it value for money? No question about it for the weekend that was in it. If you were to book the same room for a three night weekend break at the end of April you can expect to pay 1130 euro. This figure comes from the hotels official website. I would only recommend this hotel to people that are looking for a very special weekend away in an extremely plush hotel.. If you are just looking for a weekend break in Paris there are far more affordable options.

Check out http://www.champselyseesplaza.com for more information.

Temple Gate Hotel

Since Ryan has decided to venture into hotels i suppose i’d better add my two-pence worth as well! I have stayed in many hotels down throught the years, some excellent, some not so. The most recent one i visited was The Temple Gate Hotel in Ennis Co. Clare.

Greeting & Check-in
We were met at the reception desk by a very friendly lady who was on hand to check us in. We were staying at the hotel with the supervalu get away breaks. Of course i brought the wrong card (that was only half full) but the lady agreed to let me send the completed card up after i arrived home. It was a fast and efficient check in with a smile.

Appearence & Location
It is in the center of the lively town of Ennis. It is convenient to all amenities in the town and is a short walk from shops, restaurants, pubs etc. The hotel is built on the grounds of an old convent and still retains some of the features. The great hall in the hotel is certainly worth considering for a function or a wedding.

Staff & Service
We found all the staff at this hotel to be quite helpful. One morning when we were having breakfast we heard a lot of shouting from one staff member. It was unprofessional when guests could hear this. Overall service from all staff was of a very high standard.

Food
We had both breakfast and dinner in the hotel and the breakfast stood out more to be honest. The dinner which was included in our deal was not too bad but wouldn’t stand out as being great. I had steak and it was ok. There is bar food available but we didn’t try any.

Internet Access
To be honest this is probably more important to Ryan than myself. I don’t see this as a major need for me at present. I normally go away for weekend breaks and not on business. All rooms do provide isdn lines.

Price
We paid 95 euros each for two nights b+b and one dinner. To me that is excellent value for a weekend break. That was with the supervalu book as i mentioned. At this time of year you can expect to pay 89 euro pps for one night. That rate comes from the hotels web site. If you stay at this hotel and are looking for somewhere for dinner, try Jasmine Palace restaurant in the town. The food is excellent.
You will find more information on the hotel at www.templegatehotel.com

The Twelfth Lock

I’ve often passed by this place, wondering first if it was a merely a bar or in fact a small hotel. It’s the latter and apparently quite difficult to get a room in. I’m going to put that down to the reason that there are few rooms however.
Greeting & Check-in
I can understand why the process is dealt with in a ‘quick as possible’ fashion here, it appears that whoever is covering the front desk is also either in the kitchen or serving in the bar. They have no need for a permenant front desk staff member. Maybe. Nothing stood out.

Appearance & Location
Follow the grand canal and you can’t miss this place. It’s in Castleknock (just down from the DART station). I always referred to Castleknock as “that place just outside Blanchardstown”. I realise now that the residents would likely see me hung, drawn and quartered for such a flagrant disregard for their suburb. The Twelfth Lock, as I was getting to, is on the grand canal (in all it’s glorious rubbish filled stinkiness). Grand canal eh? Isn’t that a bit dodgy? Well yes, it seems to be. When I made a voyage out to my car one night while staying here I did notice some (as Mr. Kipling might put it) some exceeding dodgy characters. It seems a small enough building, which makes you wonder how they crammed so much in. The secret is to put all the bedrooms below ground level, thereby denying them any view to the outside world (and presumably effective means of escape in the event of a natural disaster of some sort). My room was not unlike what you’d expect to find at any budget hotel. Small TV, basic tea/coffee service, not hugely comfortable bed, small ill-equipt bathroom. Ohh, except this isn’t a budget hotel. Oh dear!

Staff & Service
I found most of the staff to be friendly and helpful. The member of staff working in the restaurant on the night of my stay wasn’t all too pleased to see me when I strode in around 8pm for my dinner. I should have made a reservation, despite the fact that there was only one table out of easily two dozen in use. That brush off suited fine and I returned to the bar where there was at least some signs of life. Once in the bar, I noted that the service was good and quite efficient.

Food
I ordered something fairly basic from the bar menu which arrived in a timely manner and was quite tasty. Special mention has to be paid to the large selection of beers available. No different than any other run of the mill ‘trendy’ pub these days I’m sure.

Internet Access
The bane of my existance while in this ‘hotel’. They claim to have WiFi coverage of the lobby and all the guest rooms. Not so. While I successfully picked up a signal on my laptop, it dropped after approx. 6 minutes and required me to reset the WiFi on my laptop and manually re-connect. Eventually I just gave up. Completely unusable. Perhaps broadband was an afterthought here? I couldn’t help but think that they could have used existing cat5 infrastructure in the room to deliver a wired network instead of their yo-yo WiFi.

Price
By no means cheap and certainly more expensive than other hotels I’ve stayed in with far more prestigious names. Radisson for one. Also hotels ending in “& Country Club”. Definately not value for money. Also, before I end this thrilling chapter of yet another experience in our nations capital I’d like to say my room in The Twelfth Lock smelled of sewage for the entire night. I can assure you it wasn’t my dodgy plumbing that was causing the funk either. Every time I opened my room door to enter it hit me in the face like a brick wall. A wall whos bricks had first been marinated in stinking sewage that is. Perhaps it’s not a good idea to put a ‘hotel’ next to the grand canal after all?

For any adventurous types out there, The Twelfth Lock can be had here – http://www.twelfthlock.com/