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“Might be 4 star in the new part, but not in the old part of the hotel”
Review of Jackson's Hotel

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Jackson's Hotel
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Ballybofey
West Union, Iowa
Level Contributor
58 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Might be 4 star in the new part, but not in the old part of the hotel”
Reviewed October 15, 2013

We arrived at the Jackson on Oct. 3, 2013 for four nights stay with a Celtic Tours group. The tour advertised the Kees hotel across the river, but switched us (that will be in another review). Check in was pretty smooth and they were well prepared until we arrived at our rooms door, room 165 in the old part of the hotel. I tried both hey cards and neither of them would work. So I left my wife in the hall with all of our luggage and made the long walk to the desk. On my way, I encountered two other women on our tour trying to get into their room and could not. They said they had an actual key, but the lock was broken and they were working on it. The desk lady gave me two new key cards and I walked back to the room. Neither of these keys would open the door either. I again walked to the desk and by now I was getting pretty wore out and very hot since they had the heat on in the building. I told her I either wanted a key card that would open the door or a different room as I was tired of running back and forth. She then programed 3 keys and said she would go up with me. She got to the door and the first card opened the door. She left and I tried the 3 cards myself. Only two of them worked and the third one didn't, so out of 7 different key cards, only 2 worked.
The room was very warm since as I said, the heat was on in the building. I looked for an air conditioner.....none. We opened the windows and I turned the steam off to the radiator so it would not cook us out.
The room was strangely decorated with a theme somewhere between Ireland and Africa. Looks like they just threw whatever furniture was left over and not broken into the old part of the hotel. The TV remote didn't work, which wasn't a huge deal since we only turned it on a couple of times for a brief period to get a weather forecast. When we booked the trip I had requested a queen or king bed. The room had a single bed (the headboard was just loose and tipped against the wall) and a double bed that had a huge sag in it from thousands of butts over the years. I was afraid that the bed would kill our backs, but it was actually relatively comfortable to my surprise. The sheets were newer and clean, but the bed spread was showing a great deal of wear. I found the hair dryer for my wife mounted in the top drawer of the dresser. When she did use it, it was pretty lame. I thought it did fairly well for a 1960s model ;-)
The bathroom was not as clean as I would have expected for a 4 star hotel. There was mold and dirt scattered throughout the entire tile area of the tub. I know this is what it was because I took my wash cloth and scrubbed some of it off the first time I showered. The tub was narrow at the bottom and quite a slope to the drain. There was no anti slip stuff left on the bottom of the tub and the first time I stepped in, I nearly took a spill. Had to be extremely careful or risk falling and breaking bones.
The sink in the bath had very old fixtures and you had to screw them out about 2 full revolutions before the water would start to come out. The toilet when flushed dumped about 3 gallons of water, but almost always had to be flushed twice as there was always toilet paper that would not go down. There were no plug ins in the bathroom at all for my wife's curling iron and etc.
We decided to go out on the town with our adult kids who were also on the trip. I thought I'd get my c-Pap machine ready so I didn't have to mess with it when we returned. To my surprise, the lamps were hard wired into the wall behind the beds and there were no plug ins. I then discovered that there are only 2 outlets in the room which are taken up by the TV, extremely old and dirty coffee pot, the hair dryer that's hidden in the drawer and a lamp.
When we were leaving for dinner, I explained to the young lady at the front desk that I needed an extension cord to reach across the room so I could plug in my machine since I absolutely cannot sleep without it. She gave me that look like she had no idea in the world what I was talking about, so I went thru it again....very slowly. I envisioned a small light bulb glowing above her head and thought that she might now understand. She said she would see what she could do and have one delivered to our room while we were gone. Upon our arrival back to the hotel at approximately 8:40pm we decided to go to the lounge for a nightcap. I stopped at the desk and asked the young lady if she was able to get me a cord. She said that no, she was not able to get one. I asked if there was somewhere that I could find open (within walking distance of the hotel) to purchase one since I really needed this equipment at night. She told me of a place that might be open, so I headed out the door. Of course, everything was closed at this time of night. Therefore, my first night in Ireland I got a very few hours of broken sleep. The night before I got about 20 minutes of sleep on the plane as it was an overnight flight and no machine.
In the morning, I went to the desk and spoke with the new lady behind the desk. I told her I either needed a cord for the next night or moved to a room that would accommodate my medical needs. I explained the whole story to her and she seemed confused as to what I needed or by the story or something. She questioned me a little as to my exact needs. She finally said "are you telling me that they could not get you a Leader Cord last night" (this is what she called it). I informed her that they worked on it for 4 or 5 hours the night before and couldn't find one. She rolled her eyes and assured me that I would have a cord in my room upon our return. I found out later that there was another gentleman in our group who had the same problem with the same issue. He tried to get a cord the night before as well with the same results. I don't know why they put young people behind a desk who can't handle travelers situations as simple as this.
The food at the hotel: The breakfasts are fantastic, but there is the same selection every day. Nothing changes. The good part is, they have a pretty good selection with the exception that there is no potatoes on the buffet in the morning.
We ate dinner one evening at the hotel. Walked into the restaurant at 7:00 pm. The waitress took a long time to get to our table and it went down hill from there. We had our alcoholic beverages with us when our name came up so we just took our drinks in with us. We didn't order any more since we didn't have enough time to get more drinks to happen.
There were 6 of us in our party. She finally got back to take our order after a very long time and everyone ordered the special (fish and chips) except myself and my son. He wasn't that hungry and just ordered two appetizers and I ordered the baked Hake & mussels on a bed of Colcannon and it came with soup. She brought my sons appetizers fairly quickly and then we waited and waited. We finally flagged her down once to get more water, but it took a ...long time... to get it.
We heard 4 guys at the table behind us flag her down for something. The one guy asked her if they should order breakfast now so that she could have it ready for them by morning. I got a big kick out of that. Well, she didn't find much humor in that and got pretty snotty with them. I didn't hear exactly what she said, but you could tell she was not happy about their comment. Total time for 6 people to get this very simple meal was a little over two hours. And the dish that was supposed to be Colcannon was nothing more than plain mashed potatoes.....nothing else in them at all. Rather disappointing as I'd had some really good Colcannon at other locations in the country during our visit.
The hotel bar: Very nice place. They need to have someone in the hotel who could come in and help the bartenders when large groups come in. The wait was sometime a very long one.
The entertainment was fair. The karaoke guy the first night didn't have much of a voice. The Irish seem to love American Country Music. I'd have liked to hear more Irish music.
The last night we were there, the hotel bar was taken over by a bunch of NYC police who were there for some sort of sporting event. Boy, were some of these guys jerks. Rude and mouthy. I'll let it go there. Then at 4:00 am, one of jerk cops decided to start playing bagpipes outside of the hotel. He came to an abrupt halt in mid song after a while, so I assume that someone in a room told him what they thought of it or someone from the hotel intervened his early morning serenade.
In summary, I'd say that this might be a better place to stay if you were in the newer part of the hotel. The old part was not a pleasant experience. I guess that this is what I'm the most upset about. It's advertised as a 4 star hotel. Should be advertised as a 2 or 3 star at the most.
Keep in mind that my ratings below are based mainly on this idea that a 4 star hotel should be better that what we got. These are just averages since some of the hotel was great, as well as the staff, but the rest of the rating comes from the bad part of the experience and the few people there who just made the experience less than enjoyable. If you stay there, definitely ask for the new part of the hotel or go somewhere else. Some of what my rating is based upon is also from the members of our family who were there on the trip and from others in our group. Believe me, there are some stories, but I will not comment on their experiences, just mine. I will just say that there were several people who had to have rooms changed with our group because the rooms were not fit for use.

Room Tip: Stay in the new part of the hotel or find another hotel.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank cigar614
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksons H, Manager at Jackson's Hotel, responded to this review, October 23, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to leave a detailed review of your stay at Jacksons Hotel. We did our upmost to solve any issue that was brought to our attention during your stay with us. We had no spare extension leads on the evening that you required one but we went out first thing in the morning to purchase more to fulfil your request.

I do sincerely apologise for any other issues that you encountered during your stay with us. We have taken all your comments and feedback on board and will use them to constantly improve our service.

I am delighted that you enjoyed our breakfast and lounge bar and hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you back to Jacksons Hotel again.

Kindest Regards,

Jennie
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (445)
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English first
Carlow, Ireland
Level Contributor
52 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed October 14, 2013

From the start on Friday afternoon until check-out on Monday morning it was an overall more than pleasant experience. The staff bent over backwards for us. Especially the barman in the ballroom on Friday night. My husband loves his Guinness when on a break. The barman went all the way to the front bar to get the drink.
Also the food was enjoyable. Weather carvery or the gala dinner, everything was absolutely spot on. It was plentiful and tasty and always served with a smile.
The staff in the leasure centre couldn't do more for us. Again very friendly and always smiling. We really felt home away from home.
The only downturn was that our room was cold at night and in the morning, it could also do with a bit more lighting and the shower took a long while to warm up. (No. 162)

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Bianka M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksons H, Manager at Jackson's Hotel, responded to this review, October 16, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for reviewing Jacksons Hotel on Trip Advisor. It was our pleasure to host the recent line dancing weekend that took place and we would like to thank all of you for choosing Jacksons Hotel. I am delighted that you had an enjoyable stay with us and our barman will be thrilled with your kind comments. It is also wonderful to read that you felt at home within our establishment.
I do sincerely apologise for any discomfort that you experienced in room 162. I have informed our head of housing keeping about your issues which will be rectified immediately.

Hopefully we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back to Jacksons Hotel again next year.

Kindest Regards,

Jennie
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Level Contributor
19 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed October 13, 2013 via mobile

We're regular visitors to Jackson's, and just back from another short break. The rooms are excellent, and the great breakfast really sets you up for the day. Very busy when we were there with visiting NYPD GAA team and two coach loads of visitors from USA, but service and smiles from staff never wavered. Full marks as always.

  • Stayed October 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank UlsterFry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksons H, Manager at Jackson's Hotel, responded to this review, October 16, 2013
Dear Guest,

It is wonderful to read your comments of Jacksons Hotel on Trip Advisor and thank you for sharing. I am delighted that you had another enjoyable stay with us and that our level of service was still up to par during business times.

We look forward to welcoming you back to Jacksons for another short break in the not to distance future.

Kindest Regards,

Jennie
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belfast
Level Contributor
23 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
Reviewed October 13, 2013

This would be my third at Jacksons this year. I must say I cannot fault this hotel for its hospitality, great staff and good food. If you have a pet this is the hotel for you in Donegal. Go on try it:)

Room Tip: Ask for a room in the new part but it's a bit of walk to the reception and restaurant
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Belfast-trekker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksons H, Manager at Jackson's Hotel, responded to this review, October 16, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures and wonderful comments of Jacksons Hotel on Trip Advisor. It is fantastic to hear that you cannot fault us for hospitality.

Hopefully we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back a few more times this year.

Kindest Regards,

Jennie
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Yonkers, New York
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed October 12, 2013

The wonderful staff could not have made us more welcome, and could not do enough to make our stay perfect. The rooms were extremely comfortable and well designed. The exercise room had the most modern equipment. The dining experience was excellent and the cost quite reasonable. The soups were superb, breakfasts were excellent, both the buffet and the hot selections, specifically prepared to order. I would recommend this hotel to anyone who is visiting the Donegal area. Its location is centrally located and is convenient for traveling in the area.

Room Tip: I would ask for the new section of the hotel. Also keep in mind this is a smallish family run hotel...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank YonkersCitizen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksons H, Manager at Jackson's Hotel, responded to this review, October 16, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you kindly for your wonderful review of Jacksons Hotel on Trip Advisor. Our staff members are thrilled by your comments and I am delighted that they made you feel so welcome during your stay with us. It is also fantastic to hear that you truly enjoyed our food and dining experience and thank you for recommending Jacksons Hotel to other travelling guests.

We hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you back to Jacksons Hotel again in the near future.

Kindest Regards,

Jennie
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
20 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed October 3, 2013

Stayed here for a couple of nights in September, generally good value and room was clean and tidy with Tv, tea and coffee making facilities and en-suite. Slight mistake was made when it looked like we were getting a double room instead of the twin room we were expecting, they have them alongside each other on the online booking site. Room was also quite a bit away from the reception on a new extension that they have at the hotel, so a bit of a walk. Location is nice beside the River Finn with a walk back up to where the two towns meet, Ballybofey and Stranorlar. Gym was quite good though could be a bit larger with swimming pool, sauna and steamroom beside it. Restaurant was also decent with good food, though maybe a bit small too if large crowds are in. Definitely would recommend it for a short break.

Room Tip: Try to get a room near reception as it's a good walk to the rooms on floor 4 and 5.
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Robbie036
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksons H, Manager at Jackson's Hotel, responded to this review, October 11, 2013
Dear guest,

Thank you for choosing Jacksons Hotel for your recent stay in Donegal. I am thrilled that you had an enjoyable stay with us and we look forward to welcoming you back to Jacksons Hotel in the near future.

Kindest regards,

Jennie
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Derry City N.Ireland
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed October 1, 2013

We recently spent a weekend in Jacksons Hotel as we were guests at a wedding reception in the hotel. The hotel has a long standing reputation and their name is closely linked with the very busy Donegal town. On booking the break we were promised a room with a view in the new part of the hotel as the reception we were attending was in the ultra modern function room in this part of the hotel.On arrival we were allocated as promised a room with a view however this was located on the third floor in the old part of the hotel. The room was quite basic but quite large and very clean. The view from the window was in view of the River Finn and the car park. In general the room met our needs for the weekend although it was quite a trek through a maze of corridors to the function in the new part of the hotel. The only downside of the accommodation was the bathroom which was quite dated and in need of refurbishment to bring it into the modern era.

In sharp contrast to the traditional old hotel area the new wing was ultra modern with all mod cons and in this area the bedrooms were very modern indeed, indeed you would nearly think you were in another hotel the differences between modern and traditional were like day and night.

The food served at the function was first class and could not be faulted indeed it was excellent cuisine. Staff were very professional,friendly and helpful and indeed the service enhanced the dining experience.

The hotel would be a good base for the visitor keen to sample the delights and sights of Donegal arguably the most beautiful county in Ireland.

In the old original Jacksons Hotel in the reception area the welcome smell of the open fire adds to the atmosphere with very comfortable seating areas and the hotel bar welcoming guests and visitors alike. At the weekend music is available in the bar thus creating a very good and relaxing atmosphere before rfetiring for the night. The food in the hotel is generally very good but for those wishing to sample other restaurants in the area I would recommend Zafran Restaurant in Stranorlar which is just a leisurely stroll from the hote. Food served is first class and represents value for money particularly the early bird menu.

Overall our stay in the hotel was very pleasant and no doubt we will probably return in the future.

Room Tip: Depending on choice request a room in new wing of hotel
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Derrytilidie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksons H, Manager at Jackson's Hotel, responded to this review, October 11, 2013
Dear guest,

Thank you for taking the time to review Jacksons Hotel on Trip Advisor. I do sincerely apologise for not allocating you one of our deluxe rooms. I have checked this with reception and it was our error, please accept our upmost apologises for this over sight.

I am delighted that you enjoyed the wedding that you attended in our hotel, our staff, food and your overall stay with us. We hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you back again soon.

Kindest regards,

Jennie
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Jackson's Hotel

Property: Jackson's Hotel
Address: Main Street, Ballybofey, CO Donegal, Ballybofey, Ireland
Location: Ireland > County Donegal > Ballybofey
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Ballybofey
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Jackson's Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 138
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled in the bustling town of Ballybofey, Jacksons Hotel is an award-winning Hotel on the banks of the River Finn and Drumboe Woods. Renowned for its hospitality and great food, Jacksons is the ideal base for touring Donegal and the North West of Ireland. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Jacksons Hotel Ballybofey
Jackson's Hotel Ballybofey, Ireland - County Donegal

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