I had been looking forward to staying at Adare Manor since my family got me a voucher for my birthday last year and as the year flew by, it was time to use my voucher for my stay on the following birthday!
I do a lot of research before I go anywhere and I was so excited about staying in the manor, it looked liked Ireland's Downton Abbey! And getting to celebrate my birthday here would surely be fabulous. I'm a big history and architecture fan and both of these loves would be treated by the surroundings at Adare.
I booked a special offer through the hotel website, 2 night’s bed & breakfast and one 8 course tasting menu. I'm quite the gourmand and do love a tasting menu and the review after it! And the offer price was very good, so off we went.
Being Ireland in October...it absolutely lashed rain. But actually, being Ireland, it doesn't matter when you travel, there is always a very likely chance of rain and lot and lots of it. The journey there was awful and the rain was so heavy but we got there safely and drove up to the imposing gothic style building. Yes, it could be Downton Abbey, but it could also be Castle Dracula! And this was Halloween time!
The entrance is a heavy wood and metal door which creaks appropriately and let's you in slowly to the castle that awaits you. As it was indeed Halloween, spooky decorations hung everywhere which just added to the glory of it all. And then you are in to the main lobby and I challenge you to find a grander lobby in any hotel in Ireland. This is straight out of Game of Thrones! The height of the arches! The ornate carvings everywhere and there's even Gargoyles!
Check in is seated at a desk grander than the one in the Oval Office and we're off up to our room, aided by one of the concierge's, Pat. Pat gave us a tour of the Manor first before taking all our bags (which were very heavy) himself up to the room. I offered to take my own bad but he insisted.
The hotel had booked us into a Dunraven State Room. This was one of the very grand original rooms in the manor house and it was situated on the first floor overlooking the grand lobby. I believe there are standard and luxury rooms which are located in an annex to the main manor, (which is still very grand) and in the original manor you have State Rooms and Dunraven State Rooms, the difference between each being original architectural features that you either appreciate or you don't. As I said, I love history, I love architecture and I loved the Dunraven State Room. A four poster bed, ornate ceiling and original huge marble fireplace with tiles showing scenes from the bible!
The room was a good size with a separate bathroom with bath/shower. Three large radiators were turned up to give out full heat and despite the age of the place, you would not be sold in this room.
Two seating areas, one in front of the large LCD TV on the wall in front of the fireplace and the other placed by the magnificent and old windows which looked out onto a stunning view of the manor gardens. Looking at a picture of the frontage of the Manor, I was gobsmacked to find that our room was slap, bang in the centre of the buildings facade, (see my photos).
When we travel, we like to have all the comforts of home with us and I had brought my laptop and speakers and DVD to watch some movies...but the equipment never came out of the bag as it was just so lovely, so peaceful to sit on the two very comfortable chairs overlooking the garden, be in day or night and just sit and read the papers or enjoy the view or just be still. I absolutely loved it! The grounds are host to a myriad number of crows that swarm and swirl overhead at twilight and it was mesmerising watching them. There were just so many and it was a nightly show!
The room was as quiet as it could have been and most of the time you could hear a pin drop and that's important to me when I travel. Nothing worse than a noisy room, listening to the neighbours or the people above or below you or even the outside, but this was bliss. The bed was big, comfy and we slept right through till the alarm went off for breakfast.
In lots of hotels, breakfast is a buffet where you can help yourself to whatever you want and it can be hit or miss. We recently stayed in a supposedly luxury hotel (see my reviews) in Kilkenny and the breakfast fare was poor. Plentiful, but of low quality.
Here, you are shown to a table in a beautiful part of the restaurant that captures the morning sunlight. The staff bring you tea or coffee and toast and you can help yourself to a small buffet of cereals, pastries, meats and cheeses. But you can order from a menu of hot goodies and, being sick of the usually "full Irish breakfast" of sausage and bacon and all that usual gloop, we went for something different...pancakes! With bacon and maple syrup, dusted with icing sugar! My wife enjoyed them so much that the next day she ordered them again! Day two I had smoked haddock which cam with a small portion of friend potatoes and some absolutely divine Hollandaise sauce. The fish was absolutely beautiful and this breakfast was just superb!
We dined in the restaurant on our second evening and we had the 8 course tasting menu which was fabulous...Michelin star quality! (Not officially but it was superior to food I've had in certain Michelin establishments). See my separate review of the Oak Room restaurant for the meal plus photos.
On the first night, we left the Manor and walked five minutes through the grounds to the Carriage House restaurant which I guess is where the golfing guests dine. I don't want to spoil this review of the Manor by going into details here, so please see my separate review of the Carriage House Restaurant. But I urge you, either dine in the manor, or in Adare Manor and give the Carriage House a wide berth and it was absolutely dreadful! Dreadful service and dreadful food, but the service was the absolute worst I have had in a long time. It's a big shame as the Manor and its staff are fantastic, but the Carriage House lets them down as well as the customers. Enough said of that place for the moment. Let's move on.
The grounds. I had such high hopes of leisurely strolls through the miles of woodland and manicured lawns and gardens, but the rain lashed and it lashed, so strolls were brief excursions between cloudbursts. But we did have a couple of walks around the building which only takes a couple of minutes and what an amazing building it is too. There are just so many features to see that it would take me too long and I fear that such is my enthusiasm for every brick and stone that I may bore you, so please see my photos.
Toiletries. Always important. The hotel provided beautiful ones from The Handmade Soap Company; shampoos, conditioners, lotions, gels, soaps and lots of other little kits and caboodles. Top marks for quality and they were replenished daily.
I was looking through my photos to upload and as you'll see for yourself, the manor is just an architectural and historical wonder inside and out. This is where the future King George V and Queen Mary stayed when they visited Ireland and there's a photo of the occasion hung for you to see, see my pics. Now, does that seal the image of how grand this place is?
You are free to tour the Manor, investigate every nook and cranny. I opened a few doors I shouldn't have, but nobody told me at any time to move along or that I shouldn't be there with the result that I got lots of time to takes my shots in the very grand banqueting hall and all its amazing furniture, features, stained glass windows and chandeliers.
The staff here are just great. Everyone says hello with a smile and I have to particularly give praise to Guillaume who looked after us at afternoon tea, supervising the room and the staff and also at dinner, pouring the champagne and just making sure that we were well looked after. He's a huge asset to the place.
Also, I'd like to publicly thank Jacques Conradie, the Reservations Manager who went out of his way to make my birthday that bit more special when he didn't have to. We had a fabulous time Jacques, made so much better by your very kind and generous help.
So, to sum up, Adare Manor is true 5 star luxury. I find that any hotel can claim to be 5 star when it clearly isn't (see my reviews for a certain hotel in Dublin) and it can maddening to think you have booked 5 star and you get 3. But Adare Manor is it. Ireland's Downton Abbey. Treat yourself and relax, knowing that you'll be well looked after.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated in the lush heartlands of County Limerick, Adare Manor is one of Ireland's most evocative and spellbinding castle hotels. Steeped in exotic history and surrounded by medieval ruins, its 840-acre demesne is home to beautiful parklands, superb trout fishing on the river Maigue, and a renowned 18 hole championship golf course. Unique and individual accommodation, the best of contemporary Irish food in an incomparable setting, and the highest standards of modern hospitality are hallmarks of the Manor experience. Adare Manor is a 25 minute drive from Shannon International Airport. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Adare Manor Hotel And Golf Resort
- Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Adare
- Adare Manor Resort
- Adare Manor Ireland