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Slieve Donard Resort and Spa
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3,287 - 3,292 of 3,359 reviews
Reviewed 3 October 2007

THE GOOD POINTS;
Great looking 5 star hotel in a very scenic location,
the pool and spa area are well designed clean and a pleasure to relax in, the Lighthouse lounge also is worthy of the hotels 5 star status.
our family room was clean and spacious very nicely decorated and furnished, the on suite bathroom was superb in every way.
THE BAD POINTS:
some areas of the hotel are shabby and unpleasant the main hotel bar is well worn and has little or no atmosphere and the service is poor,
some members of our large party were very disappointed with their rooms which were small old and shabby ,
the food was quite good but was not restaurant quality however the prices for food and drink were extremely high, this hotel thinks it is located in London or New York judging by the VERY HIGH drinks prices,
THE WORST POINTS:
I found the majority of staff members to be surly arrogant and unfriendly they behave as if you the guest are in someway beneath them, I am a friendly outgoing person and any attempt at banter and conversation with the bar staff was met with blank looks and bad manners,
all of the eastern european staff I had dealings with were very helpful and friendly, what does this say about the native employees do they feel the job is beneath them in some way
or are they just bad mannered,
Nice hotel but I won't be back.

  • Stayed: September 2007, travelled with family
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2  Thank Stagefright
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 September 2007

This hotel was recently voted the top hotel in Northern Ireland. If this hotel was operated by one of the big players such as Four Seasons it could compete with the likes of Glen Eagles as one of the best hotels in Britain. It is set in one of the most breath taking locations in Ireland with wonderful views of the sea and the Mourne Mountains. The hotel itself is a fantastic example of Late Victorian/Early Edwardian architecture on a truly grand scale with a fabulous restaurant, reception area, ballroom and some stunningly located bedrooms (more of which later!)
Unfortunately the hotel is presently owned by a local company with grand designs but no real clue about what it takes to operate a hotel of this potential.
A lot of money has been spent on a major refurbishment and to their credit they have kept most of the original features. However they get top marks in the blandness category. The walls and ceilings are a sea of magnolia and they have a hideous white marble reception floor finished off with a display of very sad artificial flowers gathering dust in the middle of the lobby. It couldn't have taken too much for the owners to look at the web site, say, for Inverlochy Castle, to see how a hotel of this potential might look.And what hotel worth its salt these days has artificial flowers in the lobby? A clue to the horrors to come I'm afraid....
I'll start with the bar. It's gloomy, badly lit and boringly laid out with a generally grubby feel to it. Apparently Charlie Chaplin stayed sometime in the '20's and the bar is an 'homage' to his stay. Well, there are few naff statues of him, the kind of things you would see in a second rate curio store. The staff are mind bogglingly clueless. I had to wait ten minutes to get served in an empty bar with 4 staff on duty and was finally served a drink with one lonely little pebble of an ice cube. I was met with a look of incredulity when I asked for more ice and some lemon and then charged £8. One last thought about the bar. At £8 a drink I don't want to have to watch a tv on the wall tuned to the sports channel.

Don't eat in the restaurant at all costs. Take a taxi to Dundrum, about 10 minutes away and go to The Bucks Head for a superb meal. Voted one of the top restaurants in the Uk you'll have to book a few weeks ahead. And try to get a table in the front part of the resaurant as the back part can get a wee bit noisy.

We ate in the hotel one night and enjoyed the farcical nature of it, waiting over an hour to be served, the pretention of being served canteen food presented under big silver domes and school dinner puddings. Wouldn't do it again though.

Breakfast is a rugby scrum. Be prepared to fight in the queue to lay claim to your rubberised bacon and eggs dying a death underneath the heat lamps. Then you can return to your table and enjoy your pot of instant coffee.

The rooms vary geatly. Best floor is the second. Room 208 has 6 picture windows and breathtaking views. Room 212 is very good as well. Decoration bland and ordinary but beds are a good size and very comfortable. You want these rooms for the view. Third floor is good too but fourth floor the rooms have quite low ceilings and much smaller windows.

Don't get a room at the back of the hotel unless you enjoy the smell of cooked cabbage wafting up from the kitchen or like being serenaded by the laundry department.

Room service has a service charge of £5 per person. We decided to have our predinner drink in the 'room with the view 'rather than the dingy bar, 4 of us, so had an extra £20 added on to the already exorbitant bar price. Then waited. And waited. Forty minutes later the drinks arrived
On the subject of extra charges the hotel offers internet acess in the lobby only, at £1 for ten minutes. Unbelievable.

The best thing about the hotel is the spa and lighthouse lounge were the food is reasonable. The spa is very modern airy and beautifully finished. The view, although slighly hampered by the car park, is stunning.If you're lucky enough to be staying during a full moon the sight of it rising over the ocean on a clear night and drifting towards the Mournes is truly magical. And the spa is much quieter in the evenings.

One last thing. Weddings. There is at least one wedding every day of the week except Sundays. We had two on the first night of our stay including a group of gypsies from Co. Clare who spent the latter part of the evening ripping up plants and falling over eachother at the front of the hotel or chain smoking at the entrance.

I would definitely reccommend to anyone in terms of location and character but PLEASE Mr Mandarin Oriental or Mr Four Seasons could you not buy it and make it what it should be!!!!!

  • Stayed: September 2007
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10  Thank Irishflute
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 September 2007

I can echo most of the other comments on the site about the food - it is dire but you only have to have dinner if you are on half board. Go B&B (or arrange to have your evening meal in their pub) and the experience is completely different. The hotel is right next to the town of Newcastle, right on the sea shore, at the foot of the Majestic Mournes, next to a 5 mile white sand beach and has a wonderful spa with excellent treatments and well trained staff.

For dinner, you can go to Dundrum up the road where there are some well renowned sea food restaurants with loads more atmosphere.

I was almost put off going from the comments on this site but I am so glad we did go as it was great. In fact the only dinner we did have was so bad, if was comical!

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled with family
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2  Thank mumof2London
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 September 2007

As I come from N Ireland I knew the Slieve Donard had undergone extensive refurbishment recently. In light of this I decided to revisit an old favourite hotel. The setting remains as beautiful as ever. The entrance and public rooms and accommodation have been revamped to a high standard.

It's just a pity that the overall effect is ruined by the dreadful quality of food provided. Everything seems to be pre-prepared in large quantities and chilled or stored until some poor soul has the misfortune to place an order. There is a degree of cynicism about the way food is prepared and presented, as if the chef(!) is trying to see how little effort can be exerted in each case.This is not cooking, but mass catering.

It is astonishing that a hotel of this standard can have the effrontery to serve food which would disgrace a seaside B&B. The attitude of the waiting staff is offhand and dismissive. The response to complaints is typically a shrug of the shoulders with the implication that the speaker has no right to be so fussy.

My advice to prospective guests is to avoid eating in this hotel.

Stayed: September 2007
4  Thank Springer_7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 September 2007

We recently stayed at the Slieve Donard for a family wedding.
It is probably one of the best hotels Ireland has to offer. As i have stayed in quite a few that are meant to be 4*. Yeah right! Not in comparison to this Hotel. The rooms are very spacious. The spa is beautiful, & as for the pool , it was very relaxing. Overall I could not fault this Hotel. I could go on & on...Its a bit of a Trek from Southern Ireland but well worth it.

  • Stayed: September 2007, travelled on business
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5  Thank Charlie045
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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