Myself and my partner decided to take a short post Christmas break and after a bit of research and seeing many positive reviews, both online and from family and friends, we decided to treat ourselves to a 3 night stay in Lyrath Estate, which proved to be mostly disappointing.
When choosing this hotel you should be aware, as others have noted, that this is not an old estate house transformed into a hotel, it is rather a modern hotel attached to an old estate house. The old part of the house was very unwelcoming and not really used as part of the hotel at all. There are two doors into the old house from the hotel lobby, both of which were closed all the times, with little indication that these were the entrance to the old house. There were Christmas decorations and a tree in the hall of the old house, none of which were turned on at any time. We were so disappointed by this that one of the evenings we felt compelled to turn them on ourselves, to bring some life to the house. There was a sign in the old house for a lounge which consisted of several beautiful rooms all of which had, what seemed to be, original fireplaces which disappointingly were never lit. Despite the the beauty of these rooms there was no atmosphere or anything to encourage people to spend time in them. We really felt that the old house was very much under utilised. The hotel is set on very nice grounds. There is a walking trail, which is signposted, from in front of the old estate house. The walk, which takes about 20 minutes, follows the river beside the hotel and is worth a look.
The bedroom was comfortable and spacious. The ensuite had a separate bath and shower, which I prefer to the bath/shower arrangement that you find in many hotels. The breakfast was in the La Perla restaurant, where the staff were very helpful and efficient. There was a wide selection of food and drinks available although the hot food was very greasy. The X bar, located behind Yindees restaurant, had music on both the Friday and Saturday night. We were not aware of this prior to hearing the singer whilst sitting in reception on the Friday night. After hearing him we decided to go up for a look, and we were glad we did. The signer was very good, sang a quite eclectic mix of songs and had a great rapport with the crowd between songs. After having had a great night in the bar on the Friday we were looking forward to returning on the Saturday. Unfortunately the girl signing on the Saturday was disappointing and not able to create the same kind of atmosphere.
After being disappointed by the selection and quality of the over priced wine available on the wine list we were curious if we could bring a wine that we liked and pay a corkage fee. When I rang reception to enquire about this the receptionist was unsure and said that she would ask a manager and call me back with an answer. About an hour later we had decided to go into town so on the way out I spoke to a girl on reception to inform her that I would not be in my room and could be contacted on my mobile. She informed me that the duty manager was aware of my question and would get back to me shortly. 5 hours after my initial query I had still not received any answer so I decided to go down to reception in person. There had been a change over of staff at reception and they had no knowledge of my query. The reception manager was able to tell straight away that the hotel policy was not to allow this.
In general we found the staff to be friendly and efficient. One in particular was one of the bar man working in the X bar on the Saturday night. After one of his colleagues had a mix up with our drinks he corrected it, was very apologetic and offered us a complimentary drink for the inconvenience, which I did not expect but was much appreciated. Although I was in general impressed, there was not anything about the staff which particularly made me feel that I was staying in a 5 star hotel.
After having eaten in town the two previous nights myself and my partner decided to eat in the hotel on the Saturday night, and had planned on having food in the bar at half 7. When we arrived we asked for menus and were told that the bar doesn’t serve food after 7 on Fridays and Saturdays, which seems like a ploy to force people to eat in the two other restaurants. After looking at the menus for both restaurants, which seemed very overpriced for the food on offer, we decided to try Yindees Thai restaurant. We were seated promptly and had our order taken in a timely manner as well, but that’s where the quality of the service stopped. At no point during the meal were we checked on to see if our food was ok or if we wanted anything else. Other tables around us had water and wine poured for them during their meal, a courtesy which was not extended to us. The food was certainly not 5 star quality, it is the same as you would receive in every takeaway around the country. One thing that is not gotten from every takeaway around the country is the nausea that both myself and my partner experienced the next day. Obviously I am aware that this is implicating the restaurant in giving us food poisoning, which is a serious allegation and one that I do not make lightly. As with any suspected case of food poisoning it can be very hard to pin point the source, but given that the restaurant was the only time that day that both myself and my partner had the same food, it is the most likely culprit.
All in all our stay was very disappointing and the only thing that I could say was actually 5 star about the hotel were the prices. For anyone planning a trip to Kilkenny, which I would recommend, I would certainly not be able to recommend staying at Lyrath estate. I would instead recommend staying at a hotel in town which is closer to the many wonderful pubs, shops and restaurants Kilkenny has to offer.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
January 21, 2013
Dear Brendan F
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Thank you for choosing Lyrath Estate Hotel for your recent short break, and for your candid and very detailed feedback on Trip Advisor, this as with all feedback is very gratefully received.
It is pleasing to note that you chose to be with us following positive feedback from friends and family who clearly have enjoyed their experiences at Lyrath, and from the many positive reviews you had read on this property.
I note and have considered your comments in relation to the nature and presentation of the property, and as you have alluded, the hotel is a combination of a magnificently restored 18th century house and an extensive and tasteful modern extension; we do make this very clear in all our collateral and indeed our images on both the web site and all review sites in order that all our guests are very aware of the nature and presentation of this beautiful property; indeed we also make it clear in the name of the hotel, Lyrath estate hotel and convention centre, in order to avoid any confusion which is something I have experienced in past hotels that have been modernised yet still refer to themselves as “country House”. I like to think as do the vast majority of our valued guests that we offer the best of both worlds, through a combination of old world heritage charm and modern style and amenity in the main hotel and convention centre.
I would like to apologise openly for the fact that my guest relations and management teams failed to give you a proper show round of the old house and to explain the history of the original house, and indeed to explain that the original house whilst often privately booked by clients is very much accessible to all valued guests when not being used. I have asked my guest relations team to revisit the dressing of the rooms in terms of lighting the fires and lighting standards; whilst at the same time being mindful of the safety considerations of unsupervised open fires. This feedback is very much appreciated and we will endeavour to improve our show round standards, and room dressing standards.
I am pleased that you appear to have enjoyed the bedroom facilities and the range of food available in La Perla restaurant for breakfast. I am assuming that the elements of breakfast you found to be greasy were those that we fried, namely the sausages and eggs. I have asked my chef to revisit the cooking method of our sausages and to ensure that we prepare these in the oven rather than frying, again a valid point well received by the team.
I am glad that you enjoyed the entertainment in our very popular X – Bar on your first night, and I accept that in our endeavour to give all our valued guests a different choice of entertainment over the weekend that we will not satisfy all musical tastes every time.
Forgive any confusion or delay in clarifying that we do not operate a corkage policy that allows guests to bring their own wine into the hotel outlets. My operations team regularly benchmark our pricing on wine against a range of local and national competitors and this was done as recently as December, post duty and excise increases which saw a average 20% increase in all wines on a national level; I am glad to report that the range quality and price of our specially chosen wine list still represents great value for money. We have considered stocking some cheaper ranges of wine and have indeed trialled this with guests and team members alike; the feedback we received was that the quality and extensive range of prices gave the vast majority of customers a broad choice of styles and price points to choose from.
I was of course personally disappointed to learn that the service in our Thai restaurant fell short of your expectation. I have discussed this feedback at length with my Operations manager and Restaurant manager who have asked to be associated with my apology for this lapse in our standards. It would appear from your feedback that whilst other guests were being well looked after that for some reason you were not, I would agree strongly that this inconsistency is not acceptable and has been addressed in the clearest terms internally.
Please contact me directly regarding your assertion that you felt you had suffered an alleged food poisoning incident caused by food consumed in our restaurant. We have a very strict and diligent system of Critical Control Point Analysis and food diligence that takes every precaution to prevent any harm coming to our guests and colleagues alike. In addition we audit our kitchens frequently both internally and externally to ensure very robust safe working practices are in operation.
The suggestion and as you have noted “serious allegation” that our food has been responsible for an alleged posted on a public forum without any communication to any members of my team does seem more than a little unfair. The fact that no other guests or staff members have suffered any symptoms attributable to food poisoning, the fact that I received no personal contact from any guests including yourselves, and the fact that we produce our food in traceable batches does lead me to one conclusion; It is most likely from your description, that you have suffered an episode of the very common Noro-virus more commonly known as “the Winter Vomiting Disease” which is especially prevalent at this time of the year and can be mistaken for a food borne illness. Over 750k people have been effected by this in recent months although government sources feel that the number of unreported cases may be more than triple this amount; the symptoms of this illness are nausea vomiting and diarrhoea. If the symptoms last more than 72 hrs doctors recommend that anyone affected by the illness submit samples for analysis.
I do hope that you are now in good health and fully recovered, and I would be pleased if you could make contact me in order that I record your details for our records, as we do note and follow up on all alleged food incidents.
In closing I would like to once again thank you for contacting us via Trip Advisor and also for your valued and candid feedback. I do hope that i have the opportunity of discussing your feedback personally in the near future.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.