First, let me say we did enjoy our stay here, but it has to be said that this is NOT a castle, but rather a manor house. If you are thinking of the fairy tale, medieval, towers-and-dungeons type of castle, this isn't one of them. It is a manor house build in the 1700's with castle design elements. Also, I would not consider this a 4-star property, as their site & most travel sites say. I would say somewhere between 3 to 3.5 stars. So, here are the pros & cons:
Pros: Amazing service from the staff...we really felt catered to from beginning to end; good food, nice common areas with wi-fi, cozy library/pub room; free parking; easy access to Tralee/Dingle Peninsula; Ballyseedy Wood nearby (great trails to walk; stroller-friendly; ruins of prior Ballyseede house); spacious rooms; kid-friendly
Cons: The hotel has some wear & tear that needs to be addressed, as this is the main reason I didn't give it 5 stars, nor consider it to be a 4-star hotel. You kinda get the feeling it's trading on its name and reputation a bit, or maybe times are tough, but it needs a thorough refreshing throughout. Things like moldy grout, cracked & chipping paint, worn out rugs & so on. Nothing major, but it's a little rough around the edges. Also, the decor...I guess the best way to describe it is to think of staying in this house right after the family moved out in the 1960's. The furniture fits with the period of the house, but looks like (and may be) furniture from the 50's or 60's. Since authentic period pieces aren't likely for a hotel, maybe they could try for a more "distressed" look on some things to make it look more antique/authentic. Basically, it won't really seem that special to anyone from the states that's used to seeing reproduction colonial-era furniture. Its the same type of furniture found in hotels here.
Finally, as is typical for many of my Ireland reviews, the beer selection is too limited. Once again Carlsberg was my choice for lager, and there was nothing hoppy. Oh, and you probably won't see the wolf hound...he is being kept away from the main house because of behavior issues.
So, would I recommend it...yes. Just go expecting a manor house experience & not a castle, and some rough edges. But it was overall an enjoyable experience for a 2 night stay. Any longer would be too much, I think.
- 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