We recently went to the City of Derry and the City Hotel, after booking a surprise holiday for my partner (I did not tell him where we were going until we got to the airport departure lounge!!!)
Getting to the hotel from the City of Derry Airport, is better by taxi (costing approx £12 and takes 15 - 20 minutes depending on traffic). There is a bus service to the City Centre (operated by Ulsterbus and "Airporter" but they do not operate regularly)
Check in at the hotel is from 2pm and was slow and not very efficient. There was just one member of staff on reception when we arrived and three people waiting.
We booked the Presidential Suite (£190.00 per night for bed and breakfast with dinner on two of the three nights included)
The suite was located on the second floor (above one of the busy function rooms) and offers views of the Guildhall, an excellent view of the River Foyle and the army barracks across the river)
The suite consists of a hall way with wooden flooring, leading to two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a separate lounge with a large dining area and table to seat six.
Bedroom #1 had a large firm king sized bed, two easy chairs with a table, large wardrobe with ample space for clothes and a dressing table and chair. There was a small television which had access to a large selection of movies (priced between £3.99 and £6.99 for 24hrs viewing depending on which film you selected), you could also access the internet through the television together with the supplied wireless keyboard (£3.95 for 1 hour), and of course there were the usual TV channels, BBC 1 and 2, U-TV (the Northern Ireland equivalent of ITV1), Channel 4, RTE1, RTE2, TG4, ITV3, Sky News. There were also a few radio channels. The picture quality was a little poor and there was a slight hissing noise on some channels.
The bed had a built in shelving unit over the headboard which had reading lights overhead and light switches to control all of the bedroom lights (often overlooked by even luxury hotels!).
The bed had a duvet rather than sheet and the pillows were supportive with two extra ones in the wardrobe.
There was a mini bar in the wardrobe which was the honesty bar type so you could put your own items in there if you wished.
Bathroom #1: Located directly off bedroom 1 with an average sized bath with separate walk-in shower. Two hand basins and of course toilet.
The toiletries are Duke & Lyle and consisted of; soap x2, shampoo x 2, bath and shower gel x2, sowing kit x2, body lotion x 2, shaving kit x2 and tooth brush/toothpaste x 2.
Lounge and Dining room: two small sofas and coffee table, long display unit with television, wardrobe behind one of the sofas containing an iron and ironing board. The dining table can accommodate 6 people. The dining room offers views of the river Foyle.
Bedroom #2: had a large double bed, two easy chairs with a table, large wardrobe with ample space for clothes and a table and chair. Small television and an additional mini bar locate in the wardrobe.
Bathroom #2: located directly off bedroom 2 with an average sized bath with separate walk-in shower. one handbasin and toilet and the same toiletries as the other room. The view from this room is not as good as the other room.
The Presidential suite is very nice with plenty of room and apart from being above the main conference and banqueting room was very quiet. There was a wedding on the Saturday with music being played until 2am. It seems weird having their “premier”` suite on the second floor and not on the top floor (seventh).
Room service was somewhat disappointing. The starters included pate, soup and dressed salad leaves. Main courses included; salmon, chicken, lamb shank (which was very nice) and vegetarian tart (bland and tasteless) Desserts included a spiced apple tart, Irish cheeses which strangely consisted of Dutch Edam, French Brie, Austrian Smoked and English cheddar!. A £2.50 tray charge applies to all room service orders. Room service staff were friendly and polite and set the table for us. When we rang down for two champagne glasses they were kind enough to bring a complementary bowl of strawberries.
We had breakfast in the suite on three of the mornings (as we had a large dining table). There is a good selection of items to choose from. On the down side the hot food is brought up with the other items and can was cold by the time you have eaten your cereal / fruit. I would recommend going to the restaurant for breakfast as there was far more choice and the “hot food” is “hot”. Breakfast staff are friendly, polite and helpful. I noticed one member of staff helping a disabled person by serving the breakfast items to his table.
The bar is located on the ground floor in the foyer. All of the bar area was designated as smoking which was a little uncomfortable for non-smokers however this should change when the smoking ban comes into force later this year.
The hotel also has a Leisure Club with good sized separate changing rooms, large swimming pool, separate Jacuzzi, steam room, gym area with a number of cardio machines and free weights. There is also a pay as you go internet kiosk in the leisure centre reception together with a printer (ideal if you have to check in online for your flight).
The hotel is well located within the City Centre, 5 minutes from the City walls, 5 minutes from the bus station and 15 minutes from the rail station.
My top ten places to visit and see whilst in Londonderry:
1. The City Walls Of Derry The only remaining walled city in Ireland and one of the finest examples of walled cities in Europe - kept in splendid state of preservation.
2. Museum of Free Derry The people’s story of government oppression, the struggle for civil rights, the Battle of the Bogside, Internment, Free Derry and Bloody Sunday. Dont forget to look at the murals dotted around the area!
3. The Guildhall Located in the heart of the city, but just outside the walls, it dates from 1887. The original building, named in honor of the London guilds, was officially opened in 1890.
4. The Giants Causeway Can be reached by bus / train via Colraine (taking between 90 minutes and 120 minutes. Managed by the National Trust. Well worth a look. Don’t forget your camera!
5. Michael Cooper – Londonderry Blue Badge Guide. Michael Cooper is Derry's first Blue Badge Guide. The Blue Badge Guide is the highest accreditation available in the tourist guiding industry. Mobile: 07743 175709 Email: email@example.com
6. Foyle Valley Cycle Route This award-winning, twenty-one mile cycle route connects the historic walled city of Derry to the border towns of Lifford and Strabane and is a mixture of traffic free paths and quiet country roads and lanes. The route starts close to the Tourist Information Centre in Derry City and runs parallel to the River Foyle toward the border with Donegal.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Contemporary hotel located on the bend of River Foyle, 200 yards from Guildhall - Many rooms overlook these points of interest. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- City Hotel Derry, Northern Ireland