Booked a Groupon deal for half-term break - admittedly very busy time when kids off school, but nonetheless we were looking forward to a relaxing break and just a little luxury.
Arrived 40 mins early on Sunday & told our room was ready - when we found it though, it was a tiny run-down corner room (Number 329) looking over the downstairs rooftops. TV from the 1980s, smallest bathroom in Ireland, but the bed was the icing on the cake - big obvious dip in the middle of the bed/mattress - I can't believe any hotel would ask a guest to sleep in such conditions! Looked more like a room in a cheap B&B.
Asked for another room & were told that it was no problem but we would have to wait 20/30mins - no problem, we thought. 90 mins later we checked ourselves (for the 4th time) and found that room was now ready (still waiting for someone to let us know it was ready). Better room (Number 336) - family size looking out on river - no heat though (5:30pm in February) and only one hand towel between two of us. Same type of old TV with only 10 channels. Outside on the windowsill was a substantial collection of cigarette butts, which could easily have been removed by cleaning staff - looked disgusting and spoiled the view.
Went downstairs for our evening meal which was OK - very nice staff in the Bistro - apart from one dark-haired girl who must have missed the customer service training day - never smiled or tried to chat. Asked about heating at reception, also mentioned towels - were told they were on the way.
On returning to our room the heat was lovely and shortly a batch of fresh towels were delivered. Great, we thought, now we can relax and enjoy - which we basically did although limited TV programmes (as I said only 10 channels) - Wifi wouldn't connect for us on our laptop (weak signal apparently), but we decided to do without.
Then at 10pm a herd of elephants arrived into the room next door. Sounded like 2/3 young children maybe jumping on beds? Certainly they were making a lot of noise running about room - not hotels fault I suppose - parents apparently were there too (we heard adult voices). This went on for almost an hour - we were just glad we weren't in room beneath this family! Went very quiet about 11pm (maybe someone else complained??) and thankfully we had a great nights sleep - comfy clean bed, although basic enough, but we were on a deal, so fair enough. (Discovered next day that neighbouring room was part-occupied by two girls 10/12 years old)
The next morning I went into the poorly lit bathroom for a shower. Didn't attempt a bath as bottom of bath looked very grubby. Shower hose was brown with age but served its purpose. Missing knobs on shower unit but I was able to work out the heating & flow options myself. Nice shower for a few minutes, then all of a sudden it stopped and made a noise like a hoover! Started up again 10 seconds later but repeated noise and stopped every 30 seconds or so thereafter. Got a wash nevertheless, though hardly luxury. When I exited the bathroom my husband stated that he'd heard someone hoovering the corridor - I told him it was the shower!
Went down to breakfast – can honestly say that it was like eating in a train station! Staff member who showed us to the table made no eye contact, told us to enjoy breakfast but didn’t sound like he really cared. Busy, noisy room, no chance to relax or eat at leisure. Poor layout of breakfast – cups on and butter on table, coffee and marmalade beside toaster at front of room – lots of running back and forth before we could settle at table. Toaster not great – very little fresh fruit left (still an hour of breakfast service to go) and man in front of me got last two croissants . Would have been better to have small dish of marmalade and pot of coffee on table – lots of people running back and forth, probably for same reasons. Breakfast itself was Ok.
We went out for a few hours and returned early afternoon to find our room had been serviced – great. Just one towel again though in bathroom (we’d only placed two inside bathtub for replacement – others hadn’t been used?) Decided we weren’t very happy with general standard of room and facilities so we thought we’d spend a bit extra and ask for an upgrade.
At reception we were told that the hotel was fully booked and an upgrade would not be possible – we’d asked about the possibility of moving to the new part of the hotel, but everything was already booked throughout the hotel apparently.
At this point we decided we weren’t going to enjoy the remainder of the stay (No Wifi, limited TV access, noisy neighbours, no towels, etc) and decided to cut our losses and go home. There was no way we could relax and enjoy the break at this point. I went to the car while my husband checked out – the receptionist then stated to my husband that we weren’t due to leave and he told her that we were unhappy in the hotel. She then offered to check if there was another room available (same receptionist!). My husband pointed out that she had told us there was nothing left less than 10mins before this, but she again offered to check. He said that we were going home. She did admit that there had been problems with the Wifi over the weekend.
She did remove the charge we owed for two desserts and two soft drinks that we’d had extra in the restaurant the night before, which was fair enough, but hardly a great compensation.
I can appreciate that it was a family weekend, with young children about, but this was not the issue - Jacksons Hotel is not a comfortable stay – rooms need serious updating, decorating & cleaning – soundproofing along corridors and between rooms is non-existent, everything seems very cheaply done and tired looking.
We will never enter its doors again!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled in the bustling village of Ballybofey, Jacksons Hotel is an award-winning Hotel on the banks of the River Finn and Drumboe Woods. Renowned for its hospitality and great food, Jacksons is the ideal base for touring Donegal and the North West of Ireland. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Jacksons Hotel Ballybofey
- Jackson's Hotel Ballybofey, Ireland - County Donegal