Newpark Hotel is about 1/4 mile from Kilkenny city centre; one can actually walk into the city centre in about 15-20 minutes. We picked Newpark Hotel after reading previous reviews posted on Tripadvisor. Newpark is 4* Hotel that has an excellent spa and pool attached via the the hotel's main foyer. Guests can use the spa facilities (pool, jacuzzi, steam room, cold plunge pool and Tranquility room (with individual lying lounges and magazines), and my favorite the Vitality Pool (WOW - outdoor heated jacuzzi that is amazingly rejuvinating and relaxing) at no charge - lockers are provided at no charge. Remember your bathing suit and hat! Towels are complimentary.
We booked on a package, 2 nights Bed and Breakfast with one evening meal. Cost was a special of €99.00 per person (normally €109.00 per person or more) and we stayed Thurs 8-Sat 10th October 2009. The hotel contacted us by email prior to our visit to ask which night and at what time we would like to have our one evening meal. We chose our day of arrival (Thursday) at 7.30pm (you can also choose to eat at 9.00pm).
The entry of the hotel contains a large sitting area on the left and Reception on the right, together with the entranceway to Scott Dove Bar. A very efficient and friendly staffmember looked after our registration when we arrived tired @5pm after a leisurely drive down from Dublin. She explained that our dinner would be available from the Rooms are accessed using a key-card as most hotels use these days and we were told our one night's meal would be served in the Hotel bar called Scott Doves. We were given our key-cards and advised how to find our room. We were in Room 156, on the ground floor. It was located down a long hall-way, down a little ramp and then half way down another long hallway. We both had one bag each but they were heavy and I would ask for a cart to use on the next visit. While the room's view was not romantic (looking across a well-kept grassy space at the side of the Reception area building and to the right at the front of the hotel) but it was QUIET! With two weddings and a conference taking place between the 8th and the 10th of October - we heard not a peep and felt almost as if we had the place to ourselves.
The bed was very comfortable and there was generous closet and dresser drawer space. The room offers free Wi-Fi if you require. The tea and coffee set were found IN A SECOND DRAWER underneath the dresser which holds the TV (just in case you don't see it initially) and the bathroom was well furnished with a working heated towel rack. Both rack and room heating were excellent. In fact, on arrival we chose to turn them both off it was so mild out but during the cold spell the next evening, were happy to turn both back on. Anyone suffering with cold feet or hands will be happy here. In addition extra blankets and duvet (comforter for Americans) was available in the closet). Plenty of hot water and nice soaps etc - what you would expect from a 4* hotel. The room was also spotless!
At 7.30pm we made our way to Scott Dove Bar. We had to wait a few minutes to be seated and as no one came up to us, we asked behind the bar for assistance. We were told we could sit anywhere and someone would be with us shortly. We ordered drinks and viewed the menue. The package menue is not very large however there are a sufficient number of starters and main courses. We both had the soup to start and then I ordered the Tagliatelle dish and my husband ordered Chicken Maryland. His Maryland looked good but was accompanied by a small 'cup and saucer' size dish of chips (french fries) which were each the head size of a tea-spoon. Not very generous we thought. My Tagliatelle arrived "drowned" in a sun-dried tomato cream sauce which contained what appeared to be a cup full of toasted pine nuts. Two triangular slices of Chiappetti bread atop the pasta in the bowel which was not too attractive in presentation. I had to physically remove the bread from the top of the pasta and their undersides had grown soggy from the cream sauce. If you choose to order this dish, which is usually quite good in most restaurants, I recommend that you request no pine nuts in the sauce as they overpowered the dish and that the bread be served seperately on a side plate. The pasta regretfully was also overcooked. If I hadn't been tired I would have asked for a new plate but decided to let it go. Dessert was vanilla ice-cream for my husband (good!) and a slice of mocha layer cake (good) for me.
While I was naturally disappointed in my main course, my husband enjoyed his meal and we both hoped for a happy result with breakfast. After a good night's sleep, that is exactly what we received! Gullivers' Restaurant, the hotel's main restaurant is open for breakfast early and one arrives at the doorway to be greeted by a very professional and friendly Manager, who escorts you to your table. There was a good crowd both Friday and Saturday mornings - however everyone was so cleverly placed, we never felt anyone was sitting too close to us. Once placed at your table, you could wait to order tea or coffee or go right up and to the self-service area. Both hot and cold breakfasts are available, with scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, pudding (white or black), hush puppies (fried triangles of potato) and grilled tomatos) are located in self-serve trays. Cereals of all kinds are available, four types of juice and milk. Also croissants, chocolate chip scones and pastries are available and very good brown and white breads which you can toast yourself. A waiter or waitress brings you tea or coffee to your table on order. We found we needed no lunch, just a coffee or tea mid-day after the fine breakfast served!
We spent our two days in Kilkenny City and further afield. On the Friday evening we had a good meal at Ripley's Steakhouse, but would have also liked to have tried Matt the Miller's Pub (supposedly good food and good music)Searching for a bathing suit as I had forgotten mine, I found one in Kilkenny city at a Lifestyle Sports shop and was able to enjoy the Spa on our second night. It opens at 7am and closes at 10pm most evenings (check with Reception). When we attended on the Friday night @7.30pm, the pool was almost empty and we found we had it to ourselves for almost 20 minutes. After a swim, we visited the jacuzzi and then out of curiosity, went out to the Vitality Pool outside. It was very frosty out but the lovely warm bubbling water soon took all chills away and we spent almost 15 minutes relaxing, looking up at the large trees surounding us and viewing the night sky. It was most relaxing and upon going back inside the pool complex through the cold, we went into the Jacuzzi again for a few moments to warm up and then off to the showers. I loved the experience so much I woke at 7am the next day just to swim and experience the Vitality pool again.
I might add that after our swim, we went back to Reception and enjoyed a drink in the Reception sitting area, where bar service was available. There was piano music that evening -the pianist was excellent, highly accomplished and was obviously enjoying his playing, his technique and variety of medlies (Broadway, classical and jazz) was quite pleasant to listen to.
We checked out Saturday morning at 11am (check out is by 12pm) with ease and sadly, headed back to Dublin.
All in all I would give this hotel a 9 out of 10 and highly recommend the staff and the hotel for couples, families and single visitors looking for a get-away.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.