Christmas at Mount Juliet was a tempting prospect which this writer had considered for a few years, but we could not tear ourselves away from our Christmas preferences in South Kerry - something about old habits… We always really enjoyed our Christmas stays in Kerry’s best hotels. However, Christmas 2012 was to be spent at Mount Juliet and its peaceful stud farm estate traversed as it is by the beautiful river Nore. And we certainly had no regrets!
As always we were welcomed back, only this time the General Manager was there in person at the front door. Reception was good as always. After the long journey from Ulster I gave up rather impetuously after some minutes of queuing at reception and I withdrew to the bar for a short time for a coffee because of others checking in and I could see that the young receptionist was doing her best to cope all alone.
Accommodation was as expected/requested on the ground floor (a different part of the main house to our previous stays). Having side-stepped a kind offer of our ‘usual room’ which is a higher grade room, I was wondering afterwards how it would work out. i had stayed on the ground floor once before on my own and enjoyed it, so was confident that we would hardly be disappointed. We were not disappointed. Very comfortable and peaceful as always! One minute’s walk to the Lady Helen or the Tetrarch Bar – heaven for someone who had worked fifty and sixty hours per week in a stressful job for several months on end!
The Christmas schedule was a quiet affair which suited us, although another couple were to disclose over a drink during our stay that it was too quiet for them. True enough the entertainment in Mr Jenks’s Bar on one evening was a drab enough performance and as it was the only such entertainment it stood out all the more. The solo guitarist was rather melancholic and demonstrated few social skills in his communication with his small audience. That was the only negative of the entire stay and other guests remarked similarly to me.
From John and John (the Carlow brigade) at the front door to Jakob and Eugene in the bar, Louise and her colleagues in Reception, and of course the excellent Aga in Lady Helen to the kitchen staff and accommodation staff, we were treated very, very well. Thank you for making Christmas 2012 a nice memory!
Christmas lunch was in Kendals which is a short walk from the main house. Although a different kitchen and a different team to Lady Helen, it competed well and was a most enjoyable lunch. The menu was noteworthy and service excellent. One of the attentive porters in the main house offered to transport us in the courtesy car to/from Kendals but we opted for the welcome walk. Indeed a pre-lunch walk in the crisp winter air by the banks of the Nore was envigorating.
Earlier in the morning indeed we had been kindly offered courtesy transportation to/from a local church service which I had made an enquiry about as to the time of service. We declined but were grateful for the kind offer. Later indeed we passed the courtesy car on its way to the village with other guests.
Although I had been told some weeks earlier that the house was to be full of guests for Christmas, it did not seem so to us when we were there. Not an issue for us. There was plenty of seating free, even in the bar before dinner, or later in The Major’s Room. In fact this writer felt just a tad guilty talking in the bar over a drink with a very interesting barman – because I was the only guest present there at 11pm on Cristmas eve. It was a good deal more populated on the night of 27th. Christmas night was also quiet but I felt compelled to go and keep another very pleasant barman company for a while.
I remember sitting in the Morning Room with an open log fire and a good book, and very attentive staff who later served some lovely food to my wife and me. Blissful!
The Lady Helen’s opulent setting and really great food is always the highlight of any stay. It thoroughly deserves its three rosettes. There is almost no other hotel restaurant in Ireland which consistently serves such high quality food. Congratulations to all concerned! It surely deserves greater recognition.
Breakfasts were again very enjoyable, much of it due to the hard work of the senior staff, and cook of course!
Whilst I have to be honest and say that I had observed a few basic oversights and repeated blunders in recent visits made by trainee/student waiting staff in Mount Juliet, there was no such inexperience evident this time.
It was my wife’s birthday on 26th December and although we did not mention it I may have said something when choosing a nice bottle of wine from Aga. It was a very nice touch to find that when petit fours were served there was a subtle birthday congratulatory greeting created with chocolate on the serving slate. It was a lovely surprise delivered by Aga who for us is the star of evening dining at Lady Helen.
Christmas at Mount Juliet met all our wishes. We thank you for the wonderful surprise delivery to our room during our stay. Still enjoying! Thank you for a lovely relaxed Christmas.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.