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“keep your money”
Review of Belleek Castle

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Belleek Castle
Ranked #3 of 9 Hotels in Ballina
Certificate of Excellence
Cork, Ireland
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“keep your money”
Reviewed October 9, 2012

I found the staff in the castle very unhelpful, they were so nice until everything was paid for. There is a old folks home feel to the place probably because the staff wonder around asking people in the bar to be unreasonably quite after 12 o'clock. The good food in the restaurant is the only thing saving the place.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank lillyf4u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Syracuse, New York
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed September 22, 2012

Driving to the castle one gets the sensation of being back in medieval times.The dark tree lined forest opens up to the view of the castle which is extremely impressive. Upon our arrival we found the staff to be charming and hospitable. There is no elevator but do you really need to have one in a castle? Besides it's only two flights of stairs to your room. The single room is basic, a single bed, shower, sink and toilet. No tv but I hadn't planned on watching television as there was so much to see and explore within the castle and the grounds. A lovely walk through the forest brings you down to the River Moy. Within the castle are many, many antiques, a history lovers dream!
Our group had drinks in the quaint bar area while waiting for our table. At dinner we chose the 8 course tasting meal. It is expensive-65 euro but worth every penny. It was a relaxing event that lasted over 2 hours, one which I will never forget. The food was delicious and beautifully presented. Our server was very attentive and gave us the option of slowing down the service between courses which we did, just to stretch our legs.
We returned to the bar area for a after dinner drink and chatted with the bartender who was extremely informative. He told us about the chef and that he will only use fresh ingredients grown locally, that the fish is brought in daily by 5pm, that he will only purchase lamb that is raised on the coast of Ireland so that the grass that the lamb is fed is infused with sea salt from the ocean.Plus the pastry chef is married to the chef and prepares breads and pastries daily.
The next day was equally enjoyable. A beautiful breakfast with the best brown bread I have ever tasted! A tour was given to us by the grounds man for no fee mind you. It was amazing to see what one man had collected in his life time.
I highly suggest that people take advantage of staying here.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Carolyn H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hollyfort, Wexford, Ireland
1 review
Reviewed September 11, 2012

Lots of signposts when you approach Ballina helped us get to the castle which was helpful. Driving up to it we found the view of the castle was stunning. The gardens were immaculate and well looked after. The woods provided a wonderful walk and perfect for photos. On arrival we were upgraded to the honeymoon suite so it made our stay extra special. Room was very spacious and comfortable. We had breakfast daily which was delicious. Paul and his staff were very helpful and opened the bar especially for us late one night, printed directions to wherever we wished to visit and gave us a full tour of the castle which we found great fun and extremely informative and also great fun. Belleek Castle is an extremely unique and charming. It which would be perfect for a wedding or romantic getaway. We will be back guys

Room Tip: We loved the spacious honeymoon suite with four poster. Wow so lovely, peaceful and view of gardens...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Jacinta M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
37 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed September 10, 2012

40 years ago we had our first experience of Belleek Castle, how we found out about it in the days before Google or Trip Advisor I don’t know! It was our honeymoon and a unique experience then. We spent two glorious days there at the cost of £33 for bed, breakfast, dinner and wine!
To celebrate our 40th Anniversary as a surprise I booked two days in their Superior Double Room. We planned to stay and eat at the Castle for the whole stay and take advantage of the walks around the beautiful woods and bank of the River Moy.
I have read various reviews on this and other sites and could only agree with the good ones but” you have to get it”, if you are looking for a modern, sterile hotel with staff that will bow and scrape to you, call you Sir or Madam then this is not for you. If you are, however, looking for a charming, old, warm and loved hotel then this is the place for you. When I say old I also mean that some of the hotel is a little broken and they are working all the time to fix those cracks and bits of paint that are chipped but look upon these little flaws as you would an antique painting.
The people who work there love the hotel and it shows with the warm greeting you get, their wanting to get to know about you and to infuse you with their love of Belleek Castle. This love may blind them to the little flaws that are there but life is like that.
Paul Doran, the son of the original owner Marshall Doran, is a warm and generous host who is proud and happy to show you around the castle and famous dungeons with the collection of mediaeval European armour from the 7th to 16th century. I have seen some complaints about this being charged for but this is for the official tours that can be booked and not when Paul scoops you and anyone who happens to be around for an impromptu late night tour.
Belleek Castle Restaurant has just been awarded its first AA Rosette and that is all down to the work of Chef Stephen Lenahan. Stephen is a firm believer in using only local seasonal ingredients and produce. We ate from the Fresh Market menu on the first night. It is a five course tasting menu the like of which I have never experienced. Part of the menu was his signature dish “The Drunken Bullock” A filet steak cooked in the kitchen to your taste and then flambéed with Jameson on a sword at the table. My mouth still waters at the memory of the tastes.
On the second night we ate from the early bird menu, which was supposed to finish at 6.30pm but since we were staying they let us enjoy it at 8pm. something that I bet would not happen at your modern sleek hotel! The food was as good as the first night!
Just to finish on the food side the breakfasts were superb. All the meals were served with selections of home cooked bread.
Sorry to go on so much but I had to celebrate the wonderful time we had at Belleek Castle and answer

Room Tip: Spend the little extra and go for the Superior Double Room
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank rsandps
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
17 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed August 20, 2012

In its own literature, Belleek Castle quotes a (very flattering) review by food critic Paulo Tuulio suggesting that the hotel offers the antithesis to corporate hospitality, being more "Errol Flynn" than "Padraic Flynn", and is all the more charming for that. A very apt description - however, we didn't taste the food (other than breakfast - which was nice but nothing amazing), so we can only go on the accommodation for our review. Belleek is an extremely unique and characterful hotel, with its erstwhile owner's very eclectic - perhaps eccentric - taste in antiques really creating a special and colourful ambience. The foyer presents an impressive entrance although this is somewhat diminished when you register looking into a pretty Fawlty-Towers-ish, messy office (hint to Belleek - tidy this office, or keep the door closed). This sort of "nearly but not quite" theme continues throughout your stay. The bedrooms are nice but the bathrooms are strikingly tasteless (and out of kilter with the style of the rest of the hotel - more Atlantic Homecare 1992 - than Antiques Roadshow) and pretty basic at that. Also the bed... it was probably an antique, but ultimately I'm only 5'10" and yet my legs dangled over the end of the bed. It was also very narrow and too soft - the two of us ended-up squished together in a well in the middle of the bed - a terrible night's sleep. And if you can't get a good night's sleep in a hotel - I think that's the ultimate indictment really. It's a funny place, Belleek - I wanted to love it - I nearly did love it, but just these little things really let it down I felt and overall - I wouldn't go back to be honest.

Room Tip: Ask to see the bed - literally lie on it. Ours was way too short to be comfortable.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank sadhbhgoodhue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maryland
Level Contributor
42 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2012

Our expectations weren't terribly high, as I'd read lukewarm reviews, but we still thought it would be fun to stay in a castle. The property was hard to find--the GPS was stumped (had the property name in the database but obviously didn't know where it was), but eventually we found our way by following signs posted by the hotel. It's quite a way out of town, and through what looks like a subdivision, and then through a road that looks like the approach to a summer camp. The building is quite dramatic when it finally comes into view.

We found the staff to be not terribly welcoming, and they didn't offer help with the baggage until we were already struggling up the stairs (there's no elevator) with them. And since the only staff members present appeared no more suited to the task than I was, we declined the help. We were offered a tour of the property--which sounded like a nice idea--but not for 10 euro per person!

The room was large, with a canopy bed (queen sized), a love seat, a side table and chair. There was also a low table with a tray of electric tea kettle and some jars of instant coffee and sugar. This was placed so that the bathroom door couldn't fully open, though.

The bathroom was...yucky. The floor was some kind of odd surface, rough-textured and icky. The fixtures were dated.

There were no available power outlets in the room--I had to unplug something to plug in our power strip to charge our phones. The TV was positioned so that it couldn't really be seen from the bed. There was a portable fan (needed--it was unseasonably warm) but no AC.

My husband went to make a reservation for dinner and we were told they could give us a table at 6. We went into the restaurant at 6 and were the only people there! Ballina is touted as the salmon capital of Ireland, but the only salmon on the menu was as a starter. It was delicious and we would happily have ordered a larger portion as a main course. Instead, we chose a braised beef entree that was barely edible. To their credit, the waitress told me the chef noticed I'd barely touched it and offered to send me out something else, but I'd filled up on bread (it was good) and declined--so she took 8 euro off the bill. Breakfast (again, we were the only people there) had a very limited spread laid out (bread, cereal, and juice) and we were able to order from a menu. The scrambled eggs with smoked salmon were tasty, and again we'd wished we'd been able to order salmon for dinner!

The public areas were limited to one rather musty-smelling sitting room and an unattended bar. I had been envisioning sitting around in the common areas of the castle and perhaps having someone bring me a drink...you can't get that here. We took a short walk around on the grounds, and appreciated the quiet surroundings. But the place just seems really shabby, with peeling paint on the outdoor benches, lichen on the stone surfaces, etc.

There are lots of castles you can stay in...I'd skip this one.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank schlimazel_traveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed August 10, 2012

Firstly my fiancé wanted the experience of staying in a castle he was very disappointed from the minute walking in the door! The woman at reception was not very nice quiet shocked when we said we would like to check in. We are both young so maybe she knew this place wasn't for our age group under 70! We then had to chase her down the hall to our room handed us the key and didn't even say bye! Later we met a nicer young lady at reception when we were heading off to town for food and a few drinks they ordered us a taxi watch us leave and never tought to tell us that they close the door at midnight and we should of left our key with them... We are paying big money for a one night stay in a hotel not a shabby b&b. The man finally opened the door with a fathers disapproval look on his face that we were coming in so late which the time was only 1am not late when your on holidays. I would never recommend anyone to stay here based on accommodation we did not eat in the hotel not dinner or breakfast so can't comment on food

  • Stayed August 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank SuzieG87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Belleek Castle

Property: Belleek Castle
Address: Belleek Woods, Ballina, Ireland
Phone Number:
Location: Ireland > Western Ireland > Province of Connacht > County Mayo > Ballina
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 9 Hotels in Ballina
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Belleek Castle 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Belleek Castle....... an iconic Irish Country House, restaurant (AA 2 Rosettes), hotel and spectacular wedding venue…Belleek is unpretentious, cosy and friendly, rich in decor and antiquities, with open log fires to warm your steps back through this cultural adventure.Enjoy a contemporary dinner, with generous portions, in our unique light panelled dining room. We have developed a new food philosophy. Our spirit is to search for more “Depth of Flavour”, exercising both classic and imaginative cooking techniques. We use seasonal ingredients and produce, selected from the land, sea and air of Mayo, and combine these with the traditions of the Castle.However, our signature dish is a Castle classic, the "Drunken Bullock", a filet steak flambéed at the table and served flaming from a sword, adding theatre to succulent steak. Hand made oak tables, eclectic romantic music, lit by candlelight, with charming attention and delicious food.“One of the most atmospheric and delightful dining experiences in Ireland”, Bill Gooch, Virginia Beach.Guests may enjoy a private viewing of the Castle museum by appointment. Belleek Castle hosts The Marshall Doran Collection, the finest collection of mediaeval armour and Jurassic fossils in Ireland. How many times have I heard? “Oh my God!” or “Oh Gosh!”Belleek Castle... Unique, intimate and magical. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Belleek Castle Hotel Ballina

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