Review: This Kerry hotel is the perfect escape from winter madness
Short breaks in Ireland
Tralee's elegant Rose Hotel is the perfect escape from the winter madness, says a smitten Catherine Devine.
Set the mood
As you walk into the Rose Hotel, you are instantly transported into a place of elegance. The stunning four-star hotel has recently been refurbished and oozes class from its glamorous Rose Room restaurant to its cosy lounge bar.
The hotel is the base for the Rose of Tralee festival, and numerous past Roses can be seen enjoying dinner and drinks in the hotel. The staff are very friendly and are on hand for anything you may need to... the stage is set for switching off!
For my guilty pleasure, I left my boyfriend at the bar to enjoy a few pints and some football as I had a facial at the Serenity Spa.
It was a tranquil haven as Storm Brian ripped through the Kingdom. I soon forgot about the battering winds as I slipped into the relaxation chairs with a range of refreshments.
I was put off by the intimidating-looking machine involved in the Elemis Bio-Tech facial (treatments start at €99), but it did help with my sensitive skin.
For a real treat, the two-night spa break for two people with a bottle of Prosecco on arrival, dinner, breakfast each morning and a choice of spa treatments at the Serenity Spa.
Spa Escapes start from €480.
The Siamsa Tire (siamsatire.com) national folk theatre in Tralee is steeped in history and culture, and offers a range of shows for both adults and children.
We wanted to try something different, so we took a dance workshop there. There were groans from the group of lads as they heard we were learning Irish dancing steps to 'Shoe to the Donkey'... but before long everyone was roaring laughing as we got the hang of the steps.
Despite our questionable dance moves (there was a lot of bumping and tripping), it was an excellent team bonding activity. The workshops are definitely suitable to beginners.
The theatre also offers digital animation workshops, music workshops as well as a range of performances from touring groups. Workshops range from €30 and show tickets from €15 upwards.
The hotel is also located beside the Aquadome water park, which is perfect for a family fun activity.
The Rose was purchased in June 2015 by American husband and wife Dick and Eibhlín Henggeler, the parents of 2011 Washington DC Rose Dorothy 'Dott' Henggeler, who passed away tragically in 2014.
Since Dott's sad passing, the Henggelers - who have extensive family connections in Kerry - have become closely involved with various Tralee causes, and is the base for events during the Rose of Tralee International Festival.
As a result the dining bar is called ‘Dott’s Bar’, which is a tribute to the late Dorothy.
Dinner at the Rose Room restaurant left us all pulling out our phones to Google dishes and ingredients on the menu. From a velouté sauce with a starter to a Sole Meunière for a main, there were plenty of options that left non-foodies scratching our heads in confusion.
While some names may have stumped us, however, the food was beautifully presented and reasonably priced for the quality and service. Main courses ranged from €23 to €29.
At a table of up to 20 people, there were no complaints.
To add to the relaxation and elegance of the Rose Hotel, we treated ourselves to afternoon tea. Complete with Prosecco, sandwiches, scones and deserts we felt like royalty as we enjoyed the fancy lunch. It starts from €18 per person.
Get me there
The Rose Hotel is less than a five minute drive from Tralee's bus and train stations, making it accessible to those who don’t want to take their cars. We took a train from Dublin, with return price of €40 and paid €6 for the two of us to get to the hotel.
Dinner, bed and breakfast package for one night starts at €119, while packages can be updated to include spa breaks and afternoon tea.
Contact 066 719-9100; therosehotel.com.