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“Magical”

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Ballynahinch Castle Hotel
Certificate of Excellence
A Hillside In Wales
Level Contributor
79 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
“Magical”
Reviewed August 19, 2008

This has to be one of the best places I have stayed. A lovely property and top quality service with no pretensions.

Even though many of the staff are now from mainland Europe they have captured the essence of Irish hospitality; friendliness, warmth, interest in their clients (which appears to be genuine and is certainly not 'forced' in any way) and extremely efficient. This is how Ireland was before the current days of major tourism and hotel chains that only care about the bottom line. (I've been going to Ireland at least twice a year for over 35 years so feel qualified to comment).

A river runs beside the property (which can mean midges in late afternoon/early evening: small biting flies, so pack some midge repellent). The restaurant looks down onto the river below. It's magical and romantic - and rains fairly frequently so if you're a sun-worshipper perhaps you should think twice about this spot.

The grounds are extensive and lead into the breathtakingly wild scenery of Connemara. It's true that the mountains are not as high as in many countries and the sea isn't as blue and the valleys are not as wide or deep but it's Connemara, it's unique in my experience (I don't just go to Ireland, I travel widely) and it is very, very special.

The property is not a real castle, it's an impressive house with twirly bits (technical term!). Personally I don't care that a former owner had delusions of grandeur, the current owners provide an experience to be treasured and remembered with nothing but fond memories.

I stay in a luxury room which is large and comfortable, I've never seen a standard room but I've never heard anybody complaining about the room they are in.

Most people seem to stay for one, two or three nights – which really isn’t long enough to explore the area and unwind but the up-side of a short stay is that the restaurant offering doesn’t have time to become repetitive. The food has always been excellent but on the third night it does become a case of déjà vu. It isn’t identical every night but the differences are small. This is the only problem I can find with Ballynahinch Castle and it’s one that does not, for me, detract from the overall experience.

Breakfast is as substantial as you want it to be and if you specify how you want things done - “soft eggs” - “small bowl of porridge” (if you don’t specify a small bowl you get enough for an army!) - “crisp bacon rashers” - that’s what you get.

On my first morning there this year I laughingly told the waiter that I like things done in a very particular way and as long as he took note I’d be happy. His smiling answer was, “That’s what we’re here for, to keep our guests happy and make sure they have a great stay with us.” How refreshing. Even better, they really did meet all my requirements and they did it willingly and cheerfully.

You can easily reach one of the beautiful sandy beaches which are not too far away, perhaps 20 minutes, from memory, and the trip through nearby Roundstone Bog is stunning. Clifden, the capital of Connemara, is easily reached via the main road from Galway. the Roundstone Bog road or the coast road (a.k.a. ‘The Brandy and Soda Road’ as the effect of travelling this winding road was supposed to be equal to the effects of a stiff drink, sadly many of the scary bits have been straightened out and it’s not as much fun as it used to be).

If you enjoy scenery, good food, good service, elegant décor and comfort I’m sure you’ll be happy here.

  • Liked — Good quality, confortable furniture - especially the bed
  • Disliked — Nothing to dislike.
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank groeslongirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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New York
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed August 18, 2008

We arrived at Ballynahinch Castle Hotel as 2 very weary travelers and were immediately delighted to be upgraded to a luxury twin room. It truly was luxurious with a lovely view of the river. We took a short hike along one of the many walking trails to the lake before returning for a delicious meal in the dining room. Our room had twin beds with very comfortable bedding. There was a large bath with both tub and separate shower. There was a separate dressing room and a sitting area with loveseat and coffee table in the room. There was a lounge with free internet access as well as several comfortable lounges to sit and have after dinner drinks by a blazing fire. This would be a great place to come for a truly relaxing vacation full of pampering. Unfortunately we could only stay one night.

  • Liked — Beautiful Surroundings
  • Disliked — Felt obligated to have bellman take our bags
  • Stayed August 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank NewYorkCathy82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 21, 2008

Pulling up to Ballynahinch after driving from County Mayo, we were delighted to get to spend a night in a "castle". Unfortunately it is not a castle, it is a manor house. The front of the hotel looks nice, but not worth the money. Then you walk the grounds and realize the money has to be spent on landscaping. Ballynahinch has absolutely magnificent grounds.

We had a beautiful room with a gorgeous bathroom. The shower pressure was AMAZING! Even better than the shower, was the food! Our dinner was incredible! Of the 10 nights I spent in Ireland, this was, by far, the best dinner!

Yes, I could say that the lobby was very outdated and smelled musty, but the hotel was delightful so I can overlook that. It was very quiet and does not have a nightlife, so if that's what you're looking for, do not stay at Ballynahinch.

  • Liked — The food!
  • Disliked — The price!
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jenzo1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Long Beach
1 review
Reviewed July 20, 2008

Yeah, so it's a manor, not a castle, but I'm certain you'll forget this the moment you arrive. This place and the grounds are gorgeous. The service is impeccable; attentative but not the slightest bit stuffy or annoying as many have pointed out. My wife and I loved it and lamented we didn't spend our entire two weeks in Ireland here! Many places to enjoy and explore. We'll definitely return. The only negative was that the cost of the dinner meal in the formal restaurant was exorbitant (~$500USD for four with a modest bottle of wine); part their doing and part exchange rate, admittedly. It's very difficult to live up to the expectations of such a price ,and while reasonably good, the meal fell short. The only other option is to eat in the pub. Breakfast was great.

  • Liked — Incredible property and grounds
  • Disliked — dinner price
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Brian C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
565 reviews
95 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 249 helpful votes
Reviewed July 6, 2008

We spent 2 nights at Ballynahinch and we should point out that the lay out and appearance and some aspects of the hotel were a bit disappointing.
Disappointing aspects
1.This is not a castle more an old Manor house.
2.We had to descend 5 seperate sets of stairs and go past the Back of the Pub bar and down a narrow corridor to get our room so we felt a bit out or it.
3.The furniture in the public areas are well past their use by date.
-the leather chairs at the check in area are well past it,as is most of the lounges through out the hotel.All the padding is gone and they are verging on shabby.Not what you expect from a castle....
4.Where are the Irish staff ?
Positive aspects
1.Supurb location overlooking the river.
2. Meals in the Main dining room were excellent.
3.Attentive staff.

Overall the place needs a bit of a re fit and maybe a name change.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Shabby furniture
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank djhallett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bermudagurl
1 review
Reviewed July 5, 2008

My husband and I stayed here for our honeymoon and were not dissapointed at all! We were upgraded to one of their three luxury suites upon checkin! The stay was amazing and the room was wonderful! We ate at the hotel dinning room once because it was really expensive, but the food was divine! Breakfast was wonderful and they called us one morning because we overslept and sent it up to us via room service! We loved Ballynahinch and cannot wait to go back there someday!

  • Liked — Everything!
  • Disliked — Nothing!
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank bermudagurl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
44 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed June 24, 2008

My husband and I stayed at the Ballynahinch Castle Hotel and it was our favorite hotel in Ireland! It was old and beautiful, would highly recommend it. The view of the river is great and the grounds are beautiful. I would recommend eating at the pub rather than restaurant.

  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank jesslca321
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 7 Specialty Lodging 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 450 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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