First impressions were just a tad disappointing because....we had just left Ashford Castle the night before & it was a tough act to follow....upon arrival, we could not find anyone to greet us...it was past 8pm but we finally searched around & got checked in. There was no assistance with bags so we dragged our stuff up a couple flights to the smallest room we have ever had. (The Shaw). I think the bed was a full size which is rough for 2 full sized adults with a King bed at home; sleep was not very comfortable but I will say the room was clean, quiet & the furnishings were nice. the bathroom was also very small but functional....shower reminded us of cruiseship showers; bending over was not easy & there is no where but the shower floor to place a razor or bottle of shampoo (no little shelf). It was done in sort of a modern style which was a bit odd for the "castle".
As I mentioned we arrived later in the evening so by the time we got settled it was too late for dinner at the hotel & the only thing in town was a chinese restaurant which was not our 1st choice but we were determined to eat & it ended up being good. Friendly chinese staff that my husband chatted with about how they ended up in Tralee, Ireland.....
The next morning brought us to the dining room for the included breakfast....wow, what a lovely room; I had no idea the rest of the castle was so large...the breakfast room was one of the loveliest in the castle & the eggs benedict was outstanding..the staff was super friendly & easily engaged in conversation asking us how our holiday was going. They took extra time to show us the adjacent room which was set up for a wedding & was spectacular. We hung around for a couple hours after breakfast letting our camera battery charge & exploring the extra rooms & chatting with the staff & bonding with the dogs....tossing stones for Einstein & rattling the cookie jar for Arthur (everytime you pick up the cover to the cookie jar, he appears from wherever he is--really funny, not sure he is supposed to have a cookie but I figure his large frame could handle it!) Since breakfast was so delicious, we decided to make a reservation for dinner that night.
After spending the day in Dingle, we returned to the hotel for a glass of wine in the bar & dinner in the dining room. The service & food was outstanding. at first, the dining staff seemed a bit standoffish but when we made a bit of an effort & showed interest in conversing with them, they all really opened up & shared stories of their time at the castle, & some ghost stories. When my husband said to pass his compliments on to the chef for the preparation of the meal, the chef came out to our table to speak with us personally which was very nice. The food itself was really superb...I'd say better than what we had at the five star Ashford Castle the night before...it was truly delicious. Both breakfasts & the dinner were all all consistently great.
Seems the hotel is owned by a young family that are in and out with their young daughter. There are miniature ponies & donkeys in the pasture & of course, the dogs.
All in all, it was a great stay. Loved the hotel, but would get a larger room with a hopefully larger bed next time. I strongly recommend eating in the dining room & make some conversation with the staff; they are really great people.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A luxury 4* Castle hotel located just outside of Tralee town on its own thirty acres of woodland. A very grand Hotel with two AA rosettes and shortlisted for Country House of the Year. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ballyseede Castle Hotel Tralee