Tuesday 12 December 2017

Review: Muckross Park Hotel & Spa

This Killarney five-star can be gaudy at times, but sweethearted staff, a quality restaurant and one of Munster's best gastro pubs make a wonderful weekend break.

Muckross Park Hotel
Muckross Park Hotel
The relaxation area at Cloisters Spa at Muckross Park Hotel, Killarney
The Cloisters Spa at Muckross Park Hotel, Killarney
Bill and Jackie at the Muckross Park Hotel in 2012. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Muckross Park is the perfect location for country idyll, and for getting reacquainted with the family, your taste buds and with a part of the world previously unexplored by many. Any opportunity to visit the mystical, magical land of Killarney should be gladly taken... plus, the adjoining Molly Darcy’s Pub won Best Gastro Pub in Munster, 2014.

HIGHLIGHTS: The staff, the staff and the staff. This bunch are so accomodating you’d swear they just stepped off the set of a Discover Ireland TV commercial. The Yew Tree restaurant is exceptional. Expect twists on the classics, an inventive showcase of Kerry produce and a resident pianist providing the soundtrack. Elsewhere, the spa management are more concerned about staying at the cutting edge of the health and beauty industry than profit margins. And you can spot this level of integrity a mile off. 

LOWLIGHTS: The hotel was previously owned by Bill Cullen and Jackie Lavin, so certain decor touches hark back to the unwarranted extravagance of the Celtic Tiger.  By the same token, the couple created the ambience of the hotel — one of warmth and generosity — and that spirit is very much intact, despite the new owners.

BEST FOR: Slightly older customers/golfers. If you’re looking for somewhere to send your parents, this is the spot.

CONCIERGE'S CHOICE: This is where the team at Muckross Park really come into their own. They have connections with all the major tour guides in the area and they can organise everything from a jaunting car trip to Torc waterfall to kayaking on the lakes.

NOT FORGETTING: Most hotel PR waxes lyrical about the ‘vibrant’/’buzzy’ atmosphere in their pub or bar. Having visited Muckross Park, we’d have to concede that this award-winning pub is indeed hopping come nightfall. If you’re after a more traditional experience, they run nightly shows featuring Irish music and dance (Tuesday - Saturday in July and August)

ASK FOR ROOM NUMBER: 131 (the Belfry Suite) if you’re in the mood for romance — it has a spectacular four poster bed. Room 189 (the Tower Suite) if you’re entertaining — it has a balcony and bar. And Room 123 if you’re celebrating a recent win on the gee-gees — that one’s the Presidential Suite.

RATES: Two-night activity packages including breakfast start from €220pps. The ‘Lovers’ Escape’ package: two nights B&B, dinner in the Yew Tree, two lemongrass massages (50 mins) and a choice of activities, including champagne afternoon tea, costs €350 pps.

CONTACT: 064 662 3400 / muckrosspark.com

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