We had a terrible experience in our recent stay at the Westenra. We arrived at about 8:30 p.m. after a long day on the road, looking forward to a relaxing evening (or at least a night's sleep.)
We found that the non-smoking family room we had booked (rm 301) smelled very badly of smoke, and had cigarette marks on the window sills, extensive hair in the tub, and a pair of men's undershorts on the bathroom floor!! Unable to stay in a smoky room (due to asthma in the family), we asked for another room. We were offered a room on the first floor (smaller, but not smoky), and then proceeded to begin the night from hell. We were not told at the time we moved that our new room was directly over the disco (The Camel) and that Wednesday nights were rowdy nights at the hotel. We had to close the windows (no a/c) to minimize the noise, but it was still terrible.
At around midnight, the final straw occured, when the toilet stopped flushing. After several conversations with the night manager, he offered us first one room (with two beds, obviously not adequate for a family of five) and then finally acquiesced to give us another room. We split up the family (two rooms on two separate floors), moved our young children and tried to settle in. (Note that we were not offered any help to move our baggage at midnight, so this process took quite some time.)
Even in our THIRD set of rooms, the noise was atrocious -- especially the loud group outside of one room at about 3:00 a.m, who were apparently responding to a challenge to use the "F word" as loudly as possible and in all possible grammatical usages. We got no sleep, needless to say.
I spoke to the desk clerk in the morning, and explained that our experience at the hotel was the worst in two weeks in Ireland (and probably the worst hotel stay we had ever experienced.) I also pointed out that she should have told us at 8:30 p.m. (when we checked in to find a filthy room) that the second room we were being offered was directly over the disco. Had she done that, we would have had the opportunity to find other accomodations.
She agreed that we would only pay the equivalent of the breakfast charge -- 50EUR -- which I still felt was obscene considering the situation we had encountered. Next, we went into the breakfast room, where we found that the meal was quite subpar (certainly not worth 50 EUR for two adults and 3 children). The continental breakfast was minimal, no fresh fruit (only canned), pre-packaged juices, and little selection. The hot breakfast was not particularly tasty, although in fairness our exhaustion could have hampered our ability to enjoy it.
Our experience at the Westenra was particularly disappointing because the hotel has the ingredients of a fine establishment. There is an "old-world charm" to the building, and the rooms are of decent size, with nicely sized and appointed bathrooms (which would be lovely were they cleaned and functional.)
In summary, I would never recommend this hotel to a family, particularly on a summer Wednesday or Saturday night, when the loud, obnoxious disco guests take over the place. We were sorely disappointed with our stay here.
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