As most of you may know I’m fortuitous enough to review a myriad of hotels throughout my line of work. Whether it’s a sojourn after one of my appearances or workshops or a specific invite to review a room or treatment, I’m blessed to regularly experience luxurious locations. I generally apprise you all on Instagram or Facebook when somewhere is worthy of a mention, but I rarely feel compelled to do a full in depth website review of somewhere. On Wednesday I was invited to Hotel Kilkenny to stay and review some beauty treatments at The Orchard Salon & Day Spa which I will be doing a separate piece on.
A four star hotel, Hotel Kilkenny offers a range of rooms from Standard and Superior to Deluxe. Voted one of the top 20 wedding venues in Ireland, and one of the top five wedding venues in Leinster it’s located just over an hour from Dublin, two hours from Cork and 30 minutes from Waterford. Hotel Kilkenny also provides one of the finest conferencing hotels in Ireland delivering 11 well equipped, state of the art conferences rooms combined with an exceptionally high level of service and attention to detail. The hotel also hosts the Kilkenny Active Club which includes a 20m pool, steam room, sauna, jacuzzi and generous gym. In terms of food and drink the Pure Bar serves food, drink and room service and the Taste Restaurant is open to all guests for dinner and breakfast.
After a pleasant drive from Dublin, the hotel was easy to locate with an expansive car park and aesthetic hotel face. The interior immediately reflected the quality we were about to experience during our stay. Lush purple velvet furnishings contrast the metallic taupe wallpaper and the light throughout the hotel is romantic and warm. The staff were beyond friendly and benevolent and had the room immaculate in time for our arrival. Should you choose to stay in a Deluxe room you can expect a bright large room with a deep set bath, modern tiling and feature wall, a queen size bed and similar colour scheme that carries throughout the hotel. There’s a balcony, dining table and all favourable mod cons; even the hair dryer gave a beautiful blast. The carpet had been hoovered into a dreamy design, the room was freshly fragranced and there was a bottle of bubbly, personalised desert and fresh fruit waiting for us. After unpacking we ordered room service; chicken wings and a caesar salad hit the spot leaving us satisfied and ready to take a tour of the hotel.
Although the leisure centre is situated outside the hotel, the lift conveniently brings you down to an adjoining corridor meaning you can take a comfortable trip in your fluffy robe and slippers. The gym itself is fully equipped, spacious and even offers classes. The changing rooms have shower areas, private changing facilities, secure lockers, hair dryers and towels available for members use. The 20 meter swimming pool and separate kids pool are underwater lit meaning they not only look particular pretty but they’re also rather forgiving. One feature that really stood out for me was the pool water purification system. WAPOTEC, an internationally certified water cleaning system delivers a better water quality than using just chlorine alone. The Wapotec System uses 40% less chlorine in total, however, is 240 times more effective at killing germs, providing a cleaner, less chemically orientated pool. The water is cleaner, clearer and gentler on your skin, compared with any other swimming pool in Kilkenny. As a result, there’s no nasty ‘Chlorine’ smell and fellow vain vixens don’t have to stress about coloured hair or fake tan being affected. Myself and James spent most of our time hopping between the jacuzzi, sauna and steam room which left us feeling beyond relaxed.
On the first night of our stay we ate at the in house restaurant Taste. Offering an expansive menu that will suit most appetites, I found it easy to choose my three course meal. For starter I indulged in a smoked salmon and bread crumb coated goats cheese on a bed of potato salad while James enjoyed battered prawns accompanied by sweet chilli sauce. For main I had the vegetarian option which was a rich, filling, full of flavour fettuccine while James tucked into mouth watering Duck. We had trouble deciding on a decadent desert so the extremely helpful, friendly and funny waiter Trevor brought us out three; a chocolate plate, selection of ice creams and marshmallow melt. The following day we indulged in a big breakfast. Aside from the hotel’s wide selection of cereals, fruit, bread, cheese and pastries there’s also a menu that offers your standard full Irish, smoked salmon and scramblers and even pancakes with maple and berry compote. We tried them all for good measure. After rolling up to our room we got ready and headed to the city centre which is only ten minutes away and jam packed with things to see and do.
The town is filled with history and landmarks, the people are particularly pleasant and you feel like you’re abroad roaming the orderly and snug streets. There’s an extensive collection of well preserved castles, churches, monastic sires and winding narrow lanes making it a magical medieval town. It’s also a national hub for crafts and design, and its streets are dotted with shops selling pottery, woodwork, paintings, and jewellery. Its lively pub and entertainment circuit, including much loved comedy festival; it;s easy to see why this is a top weekend gateway for the Irish. We visited the striking Kilkenny Castle which stands majestically beside the River Nore on the south side of the city. It was especially misty on the day we explored making for prime photograph opportunities. The Kilkenny Design Centre offers an extensive range of leading quality crafts in ceramics, textiles, and jewellery gifts and even has an award winning day time restaurant serving home cooked food.
If you fancy a spot of shopping the MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre is Kilkenny’s new residential, commercial business and leisure quarter. The development has brought leading Irish and International retailers to the City. I personally prefer checking out the little dinky shops scattered around the various streets. There’s a fabulous Folkster store filled with modern style and vintage fashion and some gorgeous gift shops. If you want a quiet drink in a quirky surrounding try out The Hole In The Wall a new music venue situated in the heart of Kilkenny City. It’s housed in the oldest surviving townhouse in Ireland; the 1582 Archer Inner House, 17 High St. Chocolatte is a pink paradise that serves the best hot chocolate around, Laurtrecs Tapas is divine and reasonably priced and Cafe L’Arche provided the best burger around. There’s Irelands only Reptile and Conservation Zoo, Jerpoint Park, Jerpoint Abbey, Jerpoint Glass Studio, Kilfane Glen and Waterfall, Kilkenny Cycling Tours, Nuenna Equestrian Centre, Nicholas Mosse Pottery, Rothe House, St Canice’s Cathedral and Tynan’s Walking Tours. So if you haven’t taken a trip to Kilkenny I HIGHLY recommend you do so and stay at the Hotel Kilkenny; I have fallen in love with the place and promise to return in the Summer.