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“Just go there - it's fab”

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Ballynahinch Castle Hotel
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Recess
Certificate of Excellence
Ireland
Level Contributor
24 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Just go there - it's fab”
Reviewed November 19, 2012

No need for too many words - it's just fab every time. Atmosphere, smell of the timber fires, good food, stunning setting etc. It just seems to have that mix that make places special - they know how to treat customers.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank LoveGoodHotels7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
521 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 359 helpful votes
Reviewed November 18, 2012

This destination has some really major things going for it : its Connemara setting in woodland is magnificent, the main building has considerable charm, and there are impressive riverside views from many of the bedrooms. Above all, its core staff go out of their way to try and ensure that your stay is extremely pleasant !

We regard coming here as a "special treat" - it's not inexpensive, but if you put yourself on their E-mail list, you can spot "special offers" as we did on this occasion. As part of this "spoiling ourselves" outing we opted for one of the higher-graded rooms, to ensure an excellent view over the river.

As we expected from previous visits, we got a warm welcome at Reception - Freddie, Anna & Kathleen are all great "front-of-house" ambassadors for Ballynahinch Castle and look after guests so well throughout their stay !

Our bedroom was of a very high standard, as was the bath / shower / dressing area - unlike some other places, there were good-quality bathrobes (we'll pass-over the "dissolve in your hand" facial tissues !) Adding to that feeling of being "at home" we docked our iPod, turned-on our favourite music, and settled into the comfortable armchairs for some pre-dinner reading - relaxation starts here !

For dinner you can choose between the dining-room and the bar - we opted for the main restaurant. As before, we found this to be a somewhat mixed experience : the room is fine (dress warm !), the service is attentive, but the actual food & wine part is not quite what you might hope for in a destination of this overall quality.

The Dinner Menu has 5 courses (Eur 60) - our view is that they do too many courses without doing any of them particularly well. The presentation of Starters & Mains we would describe as "fussy", adding little / nothing to the guest's enjoyment of the dish, and any positive effect on flavour is really very hard to find. There are problems with the warmth of the plates presented, and unless we missed it, desserts are all cold - why ? (by the way, we are neither "meat + 2 veg" plodders nor Michelin foodies, but we enjoy a range of different cuisines - Ballynahinch honestly baffles us with what it delivers !)

We also found the Wine List a bit frustrating. They don't overdo price levels, but we were surprised that there were not more "New World" wines offered - only 6 from 30 Whites & 6 from 48 Reds. Room for improvement here, perhaps....

On the other hand, the Dining-Room performance at Breakfast is excellent (get there early and you may enjoy a window-table with magical river views). Most likely you will be greeted by the very pleasant Pat or Brid (mas mian leat is feidir to chuid Gaeilge a chleachtadh lei - Gaeilge binn blasta aici - maith thu Brid !), and enjoy a wide choice of juices, cereals, breads etc. Unlike many places, they don't do the dreadful "stewed" hot buffet but instead take your served-at-table order from a choices list that includes fish, as well as the usual eggs, bacon, sausages etc.

What else can we add ? Well, there are some great walks in and around the hotel, aided by the very helpful leaflet available at Reception. And reinforcing that emphasis on guest-friendly staff, you can always have a chat with the Bar-Chief, Des, who aside from being a fount of knowledge on the locale, can readily hold forth on American History & Politics ! (Beware, if you're a Guinness drinker, the tendency of bar staff to rush pulling & delivering your drink - just tell them to "let it settle" - there's no pint like a well-settled pint !)

All in all, this is an extremely attractive destination (if you want to read the full background to Ballynahinch Castle, look-up Tim Robinson's great book "Connemara - listening to the wind") The Hotel's current General Manager, Patrick, is a very personable and dedicated leader of its hardworking team. We will be back, hoping that the dinner-time experience will be better.

Room Tip: Check if your room will have a River view - consider an upgrade to get one.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Gooner10_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed November 16, 2012

We had a fantastic weekend here, perfect getaway for a couple to spend a nice relaxing weekend. I couldn't fault the food, I am a picky Vegetarian and the very helpful waitress spent time with me making up a dinner plate of lovely food especially for me! I was really impressed. The bar was relaxing and I enjoyed the Guitar player they had on the Saturday night. Over all I loved this Hotel, if I had to criticise I would have loved if it had a pool but other than that I couldn't fault it! We'll be back, thank you

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Michelle C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sospel, France
Level Contributor
75 reviews
70 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
Reviewed November 11, 2012

The walks around the hotel are lovely. This is a beautiful spot to rest and recharge. The hotel is pleasant, but certainly does not merit a 4-star rating in terms of service, comfort or facilities.

The building needs renovation inside and out. External walls are plastered with a rather dreary, 1950s suburban pebbledash - rather lowering the tone of what purports to be a castle...

There were no vegetarian options for dinner, and zero interest on the part of the reception staff to enquire if the kitchen could accomodate two vegetarians. They looked at us as if we were creatures from another planet when we told them we were vegetarians. We ate in town.

The hotel has a rather squalid looking 'pub' area - not very inviting.

Breakfast was good.

Room Tip: Pay extra for a room with a view over the lake, though the price hike is steep.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank JeremyCondor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed November 9, 2012

We enjoyed our stay here, especially the beautiful view of the river. The food in the restaurant was delicious, service was very slow however. The room was spacious and bed was comfortable. The staff was friendly. The value wasn't there for us but we had a nice time.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank AmySpencer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin
Level Contributor
33 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed November 9, 2012

I think that the old line is relavent here when you go to Ballynahinch Castle you will meet old friends you never met before. The service is faultless, everyone gives the friendliest welcome that they can without being overbearing. The food is delightful, and sokething I look forwards to experiencing again soon. The environment around the house can only be described as spectactular! We went out for a walk on a particularly bad weather day, it was still worth it, and coming back in to the fires burning was also another special touch. If I had any criticism it would be that I feel that some of the rooms need some updating, which I imagine is difficult in the current economic environment, but would be welcome soon.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank MarcusDublin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pawcatuck, Ct USA
Level Contributor
262 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
Reviewed November 8, 2012

Traveling to Ballynahinch castle a number of times only to have lunch or a pint in their
wonderful pub, I finally stayed there, and it was all that I expected. As I parked, and open the boot,the staff was apron us assisting us inside. the staff at registration were most helpful. The rooms were wonderful, and the beds were very very comfortable. The option to use a heater for the bathroom mirror was a kick. No disappointments here. We hiked the many trails on the grounds. I would have liked to taken the tour, but due to my schedule I was unable, but I recommend. Do not go to Connemara without stopping here, have a pint, relax. Oh, by the way this is one of the bigger place to go fly fishing in season. I would return.

Room Tip: I went in low season, rooms were half price, quiet, very relaxing. The price fix dinner is wonderful...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Fordan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ballynahinch Castle Hotel

Property: Ballynahinch Castle Hotel
Address: Ballinafad | Connemara, Recess, Ireland
Phone Number:
Location: Ireland > Western Ireland > Province of Connacht > County Galway > Recess
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Recess
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Ballynahinch Castle Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 48
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Luxury 4 star hotel located on a 700 acre estate with 48 bedrooms & suites overlooking the river, mountain or both. The Fisherman's pub serves lunch and dinner by the open log fire, dinner is also served in the award winning Owenmore Restaurant. On site, miles of scenic river & lakeside walks, bicycles to explore the area, fly fishing and clay shooting. Locally we have a boat trip from Roundstone fishing village which includes a trip to a deserted island & lobster fishing and great hiking. Connemara National Park, Connemara Golf Club and Clifden are all a short drive as is the ferry & airport to the Aran Islands. Ballynahinch Castle is the ideal base for touring Connemara and the Wild Atlantic Way. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ballynahinch Castle Hotel Ireland/County Galway - Recess

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