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“A meal worthy of 2 Michelin Stars - The inspectors must of missed them”

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Gregans Castle Hotel
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Ballyvaughan
Certificate of Excellence
Coventry, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
43 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“A meal worthy of 2 Michelin Stars - The inspectors must of missed them”
Reviewed October 6, 2012

I was brought to this establishment as part of a business trip, when we arrived I was very pleased with their choice, the Hotel was a lovely country house hotel, with lovely charm and warm feel, the outlook is stunning. The reception area was well organized to receive us and my bedroom was excellent. Drapes over the head board, chaise longue at the bottom of the bed - lovely room (no TV - quite nice and fitting with the place)

We went for dinner and was presented with a set menu, i thought the quality and execution of the food was brilliant. I would be surprised if this chef stays here long term because boy can he cook - well done Gregans Castle you have a top man at your stove.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled on business
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Helpful?
Thank simon s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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437 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (83)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Nenagh
Level Contributor
56 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed August 30, 2012

This was our first visit back here in a few years, and one we were really looking forward to as we had enjoyed it so much the last time we stayed, we were expecting to be the highlight of our honeymoon trip around Ireland. Sadly we were to be disappointed with Gregans Castle in most aspects some of which were just plain daft I feel from their view.

The positives for us were the room and housekeeping, this is something very much the same as before stunning views of the Burren and a room / hotel which is absolutely spotless. I cant stand shabby attention to detail and even hard to reach places looked dust free, the lovely laid open fires here and there with the nice smell of peat as you ramble through the hotel are great. Easy to look at but someone has to make it happen and they do this ever so well. Also liked the bar they have a nice selection of artisan beers and ales as well as Loungeville House cider - slightly out of the ordinary and a nice touch.

Kinda goes downhill for us from here, one of the highlights for us last time was the restaurant and reading reviews etc we were so looking forward to this again. Surprise one was the lack of choice you could have a taster menu of some seven courses and that was that. Now I love a taster menu nad have eaten many of them but two nights on the trot, no that for me is a hotel and chef that are way too pretentious. I am a big boy and have eaten in many excellent restaurants all over the place I can choose a meal for myself - I do not need to be told what to eat. The food received was very well cooked but as with all taster menus there are some things not to your pallet - on the second night my wife did not like at least 30% of what was put in front of her. The most annoying aspect to this is that it is not mentioned anywhere on the web site and obviously came as a surprise to many as we heard a German group near us in the bar discussing the menu saying they dont eat this they dont eat that etc. I am sure that is not what they expected from a 4 star hotel. The saving grace for the restaurant is Martin he is a very pleasant and likeable chap.

The hotel apparently won a service award last year I would be shocked if they win one this year for sure, and this is from the top down here. On check in there was confusion regarding the key to our room apparently the last people to stay had taken both keys and there was no spare, a master key had to be found and this seemed to take an inordinate amount of time. Eventually this was sourced and everything was squared away in the room we then went for a walk, I made a point of going to reception giving them the key and saying we were going for a walk as I had mailed them previously and asked for a bottle of champagne to be placed the room - as I could not be specific as to arrival time it was clear it would not be there on actual arrival. After our walk which took some 45 - 50 minutes on return to the room no champagne so I made an excuse to go to the car to collect something. On asking at reception the first response was "to who are we talking" just how rude can you be was my thought. Eventually the champagne arrived no apologies arrived with it though. Earlier in the week we were in Gougane Barra (now theres a spot that knows about service) and the owner Katy told us they knew the owner of Gregans Castle well be sure and give him their best wishes. Sadly Simon seems to have no time at all for his customers we asked on arrival if Simon was about we were told no but he should be back soon and he would say hello. Now Gregans is not large and we passed who we believe to be Simon on one or two occasions and we were actually served by him once in the bar we think on no occasion did he even say hello to us. Now I am sure he is busy but it is a small hotel saying hello to your guests should be a matter of course even if you dont want to engage in conversation. On check out my wife asked is Simon about and again we were told no he was out so she relayed the message from Katy and was told "oh thats a shame Simon would have loved to have met you I will give him your message and I am sure he will call". Now we didn't care one way or the other if he did or didn't for us it was unimportant but he didn't anyways.

Gregans Castle looks to me like a hotel which is starting to believe its own hype, it does an awful lot right yet we left with a sour taste in our mouth. Perhaps we had too high an expectation from our previous visit but its a 4 star hotel and award winning restaurant and not cheap so I dont think so. Of the four places we stayed over the wedding and honeymoon this was the worst and not by a little bit I am afraid.

Will we be back - No to be honest which is a shame as it really should be fantastic

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
9 Thank DonNenagh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beverley, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
113 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed August 27, 2012

We visited Gregans Castle with Irish friends, specifically for a meal in the renowned restaurant. That didn't disappoint, despite the fact the previous chef had left to open his own place in Dublin. However the new chef has continued the style and quality we were expecting and the meal was outstanding. We all had the 7 course fixed dinner and all 4 of us enjoyed every plate. The balance of the meal was excellent, the quantities just right and the timing between courses was perfect.
The hotel experience was not quite so great. Rooms were fine but the beds were not the most comfortable, although that is such a personal thing, it may be fine for many. Breakfast certainly didn't live up to the dining experience of the previous evening. My fried eggs were overdone, the sausage rather too spicy and the toast a bit soggy, but the bacon was delicious. Those who had poached or scrambled eggs were more satisfied.
All in all the hotel was good enough to warrant the dinner experience and we would definitely go again.

Room Tip: Rooms with the great view seem to be smaller so take your pick - great view or larger room. The &quo...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank adrianandkaren
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
17 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed August 22, 2012

I went for afternoon tea in Gregans about a month ago and I have to say it was amazing. The best afternoon tea I have ever had. The food was amazing. Ever mouth full was like a flavour explosion. The staff also could not have been nicer. One of our group is a celiac and they accommodated her with afternoon tea that was just as nice as ours.
I can't wait to go again.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank irishirl99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
30 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed August 21, 2012

This hotel has utterly charming decor, delightful staff, a cosy bar and an amazing restaurant all with breathtaking views of the Burren. I have been going back for years and finding each visit a delight.

Room Tip: Rooms in the main house have the most charm
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank peilou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Buckley, wales
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed August 6, 2012

Ok... where to begin?
My new wife and I spent some time deliberating on WHERE we should spend the precious three days of our honeymoon 'without' our three children. Having been married in the lovely Seiont Manor Hotel in the Llanberis Pass, Snowdonia on the Friday, we decided to book a suite at Gregans Castle Hotel.
We made the right choice! From the moment we arrived to the moment we departed on the Wednesday morning, we were treated like a King & Queen in residence! Simon, the joint manager with his wife Freddie were the perfect hosts affording us space yet attentive to every need. Simon had time to chat and advise on trips out to local attractions, despite the demands of his role. The staff in all areas of the hotel, from the Housekeeper to the Reception and Restaurant staff were all very warm and friendly. We couldn't get over how genuinely amiable and welcoming the whole team were!
The food presented to us was, in both my wife's an my own views, the BEST food we'd ever been served! For the six course evening menu at €85 (I think!?) which translated to about £65 per head... we deemed absolutely FANTASTIC value! Foie Gras with Lobster Tail, Noisette D'agneau... all my favourites cooked and presented to absolute perfection! We deemed every penny well spent! Let's be fair, if you want to be entertained with your menu this was a lesson in both the Art & Science of food preparation and presentation. Just a 'wee' note to those food guru's out there... between 1985-1992 I served under Anton Mosimann at The Dorchester on Park Lane, then The Savoy Hotel and then specialised in Fish Buffet presentation at Le Grand Hotel des Thermes in Brides Les bains in the Savoie Alpes (during the 1992 Jeux Olympiques - I actually trained the French chefs in this art)... I'd like to think I know a little about food at it highest level, although I'm NOT a food snob or pretentious 'know-it-all', I do believe you get what you pay for!!. And all the reviews we read before our arrival at Gregans... all the National and International Awards cannot propose to represent anything but the best that Ireland has to offer!!! We would return there again and again...
We left the hotel beaming with the belief that we had just experienced the Honeymoon of a lifetime, we shall never forget our visit and although the sun didn't always shine during our sejour... we'll recount the brightest of chapters in our newly wedded life together...
Simon & Freddie Haden and your team... hats off to you all!!!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Eoin C C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviewed August 1, 2012 via mobile

this house is truly beautiful- lived in and cared for as you would expect of a country house. grounds are beautiful and well maintained. it rained for our time there but this did not hinder our experience as the rooms are lovely and the bar is very cosy. there is a subdued atmosphere there that really is conducive to relaxation.
the food was amazing- an experience in itself. our waiter was so friendly and knowledgable and it seemed that he really enjoyed what he did- which is refreshing.
the only negetive was the poor check out service- there was no warmth, not even a glance at me- just hand out for the credit card. my husband felt there should be coffee making facilities somewhere.

  • Stayed July 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank brycia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Gregans Castle Hotel

Property: Gregans Castle Hotel
Address: on the N67, Gragan East, Ballyvaughan 01, Ireland
Location: Ireland > Province of Munster > County Clare > The Burren > Ballyvaughan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Ballyvaughan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Gregans Castle Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With breathtaking views across Galway Bay and idyllically situated overlooking the unique Burren landscape, this is the ultimate luxury and gourmet hideaway. Simon and Frederieke together with their staff manage this oasis of comfort and offer genuine Irish hospitality, award winning innovative cooking and elegant bedrooms free from the intrusion of televisions. Antiques, an eclectic art collection, open fires, candles, jugs of flowers and Shelley the cat add to the indulgently relaxing atmosphere. The hotel while strictly not a "castle" in the usual sense of the word has been named "Gregans Castle" since it was built in 1750 as a more comfortable residence for the O'Loughlen and Martyn families from the nearby 16th century towerhouse. Located on the Wild Atlantic Way and the Burren Food Trail. The ideal location from which to enjoy the Burren, Cliffs of Moher, Walking, Cycling, the Aran Islands, Horse Riding, Surfing, Sea Angling, Golf. Members of The Burren Ecotourism Network. Awards include: Georgina Campbell’s Hotel of the Year 2016, RAI Best Hotel Restaurant 2016, Gold Medal Awards Ireland’s Chef of the Year 2015, Supreme Winner & Best Country House 2014; Food & Wine Magazine Best Restaurant & Best Chef Munster 2014; AA 3 Rosettes for Culinary Excellence. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gregans Castle Ballyvaughan
Hotel Gregans Castle
Gregans Castle Hotel Ballyvaughan, Ireland - The Burren

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