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“Incredibly overrated!”

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Ballinalacken Castle Country House
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Doolin
Certificate of Excellence
Tempe, Arizona
Level Contributor
272 reviews
130 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 190 helpful votes
“Incredibly overrated!”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 2, 2006

Dont know what the fuss is about, incredibly overrated. I was expecting to be wow'ed about this experience, instead it was a shabby, old, not cared for hotel livign past its glory days. Numerous little things gave way to an overpriced stay: broken lock, no clock in room, shappy old furniture, soaps that were as thin as a sheet of paper, tea service had not been cleaned so old water in the pticher, tea service also not refreshed so no coffee. Graent it one of these items is not a big deal, however, for the price you pay, to have a string of little issues, you are then overpaying fro your stay. I stayed fro one one and that was enough. I had stayed for 3 nights in another place in Doolin (Ballyvara) which was 1/2 the price and 3x the quality. The redeeming factor of the hotel is the views and quiet of its location. Declan of the hotel is wonderful, have him give you a tour of the Castle itself. Go there for dinner, not an overnight stay.

  • Stayed May 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank kareny13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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515 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (109)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Hebrew first
  • Italian first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Hedgerley, Bucks, UK
Level Contributor
21 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 31, 2006

We have just returned from a four day trip through Ireland and this was our third night's stay. Our trip was really based around Kerry and Connemara but because of the mileage we needed to stay somewhere in Clare. We were pushing the boat on on this trip and had just stayed at a 5 star in Kerry and wanted to stay at Moy House but couldn't get in so when we arrived after a very long drive to our second choice hotel off the back of a briliant hotel the night before we were probably preparing ourselves for a disappointment. In fact the hotel was delightful. OK, its not a five star, but it doesn't pretend or try to be, and it doesn't ask five star money.
We had Room 16 which is apparently the one to have. It was very comfortable and clean with windows facing south towards the Cliffs of Moher and a well built conservatory facing West and looking out over Aran. The room when we stepped inside was baking hot. The day had been very sunny and the heating left on as the previous weeks had been very cold so with all that glass the temperature had soared but with the simple expedient of opening a window that was soon rectified. The bathroom was fine and we saw no sign of the mildew mentioned elsewhere.
We had drinks before dinner which were bought out to us on the patio so we could watch the fantastic sunset and dinner itself was excellent. The French waitress was very good and the food far exceeded our expectations. The breakfast the following day was probably the best of the four we had.
If I have to be hypercritical then an iron or trouser press in the room would have helped and the shower took a while to warm up. Also the decor in the room was more like a hotel chain than an independent manor house hotel but it was never a problem. It was also sometimes tricky to find a member of staff when I wanted to, but again not a problem as we were in no rush. We left the curtains open to watch the sunset over Aran so woke up very early when the sun rose but that was our fault and the sunset was worth it.
The hotel is a great base for the cliffs which are 15 minutes away and the Burren.
I'm not sure that I'd come back to this part of the country again, preferring the South West and North West but if I did I'd have no hesitation in staying here once more.

  • Stayed May 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank alan morgan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London UK
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 30, 2006

This is the best hotel in Ireland without question. Sumptuous surroundings, fantastic food, personal service and attention which is second to none... this is the place to be totally spoilt. The hotel is small and intimate, bar with decent Guinness and wonderfully warming peat fires. The castle in the grounds is amazing and is a real experience to view- see photos attached. Watching the sun set over the sea from the hotel is unforgettable. Local sights include the Burren, the Cliffs of Moher on the doorstep, beautiful walks up the green roads and the wonderful beaches at Lahinch and Fanore...just writng this makes me want to be back there and I have stayed there about 5 times now... need I say more?

  • Stayed October 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Geysergirly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 26, 2006

What a delight it was staying at this hotel. Nice clean, homey inn/hotel with a charming four poster bed. Great views of the water. We did have to leave quite early and had a hard time leaving the hotel as we were locked inside. Was a little over our budget, but glad we spent the extra $. There was not a lot around Doolin as Cliffs of Mohr were about a hour away when it was all said and done. But perfect for just exploring the scenery and looking for something more low key then Killarney/Cork.

Helpful?
4 Thank fletcher2005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Horsham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
267 reviews
94 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 400 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 4, 2005

We stayed at the Ballinalacken Castle Country House Hotel for one night during a short break in Ireland in late October. It was the hotel's last week of the season and as such the hotel was very quiet. The same couldn't be said for the weather - high winds and driving rain! Our arrival at the hotel was a welcome relief. The room (No 7 if we recall correctly) was luxurious with a 4 poster bed and views of the Cliffs of Moher in the distance (through the low cloud!). There was an ensuite shower room which was very clean (no sign of the mildew reported in an earlier review). However we did lose water pressure mid-shower on one occasion. Overall though, we loved the room and the hotel.
We opted for a package which included 3-course dinner in our room rate of €99pp, and had a wonderful meal in the hotel's restaurant. We began with with an aperitif by the open peat fire in the drawing room whilst we made our menu selections. We then moved through to the restaurant and ate a beautiful meal which included a crab starter and lobster main course. We then retreated back to the fire for (Irish!) coffees whilst a gale raged outside. A wonderful evening.
We highly recommend the hotel as a special treat - it's not cheap, but the gourmet meal and 4 poster bed with sea view one side and castle the other was well worth it. The staff were also very welcoming and attentive.
PS - we, as per more recent reviews, were told that the castle itself was closed as the surrounds were too muddy and dangerous.

  • Stayed October 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Roundy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
charleston, sc
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 27, 2005

We stayed at the Ballinalacken for the last two nights of our honeymoon, and it was nice. But for the price we were a little dissappointed. The view is stunning, but just get in the car and you can see the same view.

The shower was like trying to wash in a water fountain. It took forever to wash the soap off. The shower was also not the cleaniest I have ever seen.

They would not allow us to go through the gates to the actual castle, and we were under the impression that others had been able to in the past.

There is also no alarm clock int he rooms, and if you need a wake up call before 7:30 am . . . good luck. The staff does not arrive until then. I am not sure what happens if you had an emergency during the evening.

I will say again the view was stunning but for what you pay I feel like you should get more than just a view. And we did stay in room #16.

  • Stayed September 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank ktbeewc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ballinalacken Castle Country House

Property: Ballinalacken Castle Country House
Address: Coast Road R-477, Doolin R477, Ireland
Phone Number:
Location: Ireland > Province of Munster > County Clare > The Burren > Doolin
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Doolin
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Ballinalacken Castle Country House 4*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ballinalacken Castle Hotel Doolin is one of the leading Castle Hotels Ireland with views of Cliffs of Moher. This Clare Hotel has an award winning restaurant and is the best place to eat in Doolin. It would be difficult to find a more beautiful place on the West Coast of Ireland in which to wake up. The Ballinalacken has been described in the press as one of the finest located houses in Europe. Our guest rooms offer spectacular panoramic views of the Aran Islands, the Cliffs of Moher and Galway Bay. A 15th Century Castle ruin of the O'Brien Clan stands imposingly beside the Ballinalacken Hotel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ballinalacken Castle Country House Hotel Doolin
Ballinalacken Castle Country Hotel
Ballinalacken Castle Country Doolin

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