The castle was booked out but they had a room in their newly opened gate lodge. This is a new building (but very sympathetic to the feel of the estate) located just inside the main gate on the left. It is a 2-3 minute pleasant, well lit stroll up the main drive to the castle. The pros are that the rooms are a bit cheaper, they are only a few months old so everything is sparkling clean and that you're a bit removed from the castle which makes it quieter I'd imagine (especially if there's a wedding on). The cons are that you can't get breakfast in bed, have to walk the few minutes back and forth to the castle for breakfast, dinner etc and you're not staying in a magificent castle! That said, if we were going back I'd stay in the lodge in a heartbeat as I feel the pros outweigh the cons.
Our room was the Aherne room (first on the left as you go in the entrance to the lodge). We later found out that it is a replica of the bridal suite in the castle. It comes with a huge four poster bed (and a second bed in a separate part of the room - in case you have a fight), a beautiful, roll-top, claw foot bath in the middle of the living area and a good sized bathroom with a large walk in shower. I don't know what the other rooms in the lodge are like but if they even come close to this room, they'll be impressive.
Aside from the accommodation, the rest of the castle (complete with dogs) is beautifully decorated - it manages to get a balance between maintaining the traditional charm within verging into the twee. It pleases tourists without alienating Irish visitors unlike some other castles in Ireland. The bar does great value meals for a good price if the 5 course set menu in the dining room isn't for you and breakfast is predictably excellent (including grilled kippers!).
All in all, a great place to stay with the lodge providing a great value alternative to the castle rooms. I'll certainly be staying again when I'm next in Tralee.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A luxury 4* Castle hotel located just outside of Tralee town on its own thirty acres of woodland. A very grand Hotel with two AA rosettes and shortlisted for Country House of the Year. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ballyseede Castle Hotel Tralee