We decided to book the Redcastle for a 3 night break (29 July 2012) with our 10month old baby.From reading many reviews and having a couple of very positive recommendations from people we know we thought it would have been close to perfection. This was our first trip away with our son and we were very excited.
Generally we had a good family break, but several small but significant problems tarnished our experience of this so called 4* hotel. Positives and negatives are below.
The booking information/confirmation we received stated check-in was at 3pm. We arrived at approximately 3.30pm and to our dismay the room was not yet ready! After a couple of hours driving and having a very tired baby we would have expected the suite to be ready on arrival - basic expectation number 1.
The staff on reception and the porter were very friendly and we were offered tea and coffee. I was very pleased when our bags were taken to our suite (room 711). However, the room should have been ready.
The suite looked impressive at first, but soon we noticed very worn furniture, carpet and furnishings, an old box style tv in the living room area, chipped table, hooks missing from the back of the bathroom door, a chip out of the ceiling, broken tv stand handle and the fridge we requested for baby food/water was tiny with a broken handle. The room was also quite dusty and the inside window in the living room had hand prints from previous guests. However the bathroom was more modern and very nice. The safe didn't seem to work, although this wasn't really an issue for us. Also, why are more expensive suites overlooking the carpark and not the seaview?
The bed was rather hard and the duvet was extremely heavy for summer. The room heated up a lot at night even with the windows open.
In addition to the room not being ready on arrival we had another issue with housekeeping times.
A hotel that offers Spa facilities and that caters for families should expect guests to return to their room in the afternoon. We returned on the 2nd day after exploring the area and lovely beaches at 2.30pm. Housekeeping still had not been - this is the first time we have ever experienced this! While we were freshening up house keeping arrived (2.45pm approx), this was a bit awkward.
We had robes which were great for going down to the pool in, but on our 3rd day the housekeeping staff had removed one and not replaced it. My wife rang reception and they said one would be sent up. We thought this would take 5 minutes so my wife got ready for the pool and we changed our son. 15 minutes later no robe. My wife went on down with our son. 50minutes after the phone call the robe arrived, swiftly followed by my wife and son - too late!
We took our son to the pool (you need swimming caps at 2 euro each) which looked fabulous from the website photos. It as well was in need of updating with a couple of the features (showers/fountains) not working. The pool, for a spa pool and for use by children seemed cold. It was nice to have times scheduled for children (10.30-12, 4pm-6pm I think). Our son enjoyed himself in the pool and we used this everyday. On the second visit there were loads of children in for swimming lessons. This itself is not an issue, however a little warning/notice would have been nice so that guests could plan when to avoid this.
First of all parents blocked the entrance to the pool, secondly children were obstructing the steps into the pool (the section not roped off for the swimming lessons) and thirdly when we were in the small baby pool with our son 3 older boys (9-11 years) came in, one belly flopped in and scared our baby. Not at all what we expected from a visit to a Spa pool. Supervision?
Spa: decided not to have any treatments
First morning we came down early (8am), as babies are up early! The waiter was very pleasant, but when he said help yourselves to the buffet I had to laugh to find on a couple of the hot items were available and no plates. We thought this in itself was not very professional for a 4* hotel who advertise starting breakfast service at 7,30am and encourage guests to go down early with a green, amber, red traffic light guide. The food was very nice. They made our son some lovely porridge. Window tables have a lovely view!
The second day we came down later, it was still quiet and the buffet was all available. after eating a few items plates were building up, yet some of the young waitresses were happy to chat within a foot or so of our table. Eventually some plates were cleared - not good service. The food was again very good.
A voucher for dinner is a very tacky method. The dinner menu had good choices. The ceaser salad, fishcakes, rabbit special, beef, chicken and pork dishes were very good. However on our second night I opted for the tiger prawn linguine (3euro supp) which had 6 prawns in a sea of sauce and pasta. This was a let down to the otehr excellent dishes. The service at all times on both evenings was superb in the Edge Restaurant.
However our first evening meal was in the Captain's Bar, this was not so goo. We had burgers which were nice, but the service was very cold and the bar man who brought the highchair was very grumpy. The food was very overpriced in the bar.
If these issues had not occurred we would have given 4 stars, 5 stars with updated rooms. The hotel is in a lovely location but seems to be trying to cater for spa/golf goers and families and it can at times seem a little confused and fails to meet some basics of a hotel (room ready on arrival, breakfast ready, room serviced early enough etc).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A warm Irish welcome awaits you at the four star Redcastle Oceanfront, Golf & Spa Hotel. With a magical waterfront location, overlooking Lough Foyle on the picturesque Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal, it’s the perfect getaway for a short break or family holiday at home.Set among mature woodland with 93 guest rooms including suites and family rooms and sea view rooms, our own 9-hole parkland golf course and exclusive Thalasso Spa, the Resort oozes charm, style and warm hospitality. Our Waters Edge Restaurant is appropriately named with breathtaking views across Lough Foyle and a menu that features the finest local seafood and fare. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Redcastle Hotel Donegal
- Carlton Redcastle Hotel And Thalasso
- Hotel Redcastle
- Carlton Hotel Redcastle
- Donegal Hotel Redcastle
- Carlton Moville
- Redcastle Hotel Moville, County Donegal, Ireland