I recently travelled to the River Court Hotel to celebrate my mothers 80th birthday with 10 of my siblings. This was a rare family get together with some members travelling from overseas. We had heard great reviews of the hotel and were looking forward to enjoying top class service during our 2 day stay.
On arrival we were too early for check-in but the lady at reception took our details to contact us once the room was ready and stored our luggage until then. We returned at 1.30pm having gone for lunch and proceeded to check in to the room which was bright and airy.
That afternoon we went to the hotel bar to enjoy a few pre-dinner drinks. We ordered mojitos but were told "We don't have any mint leaves" at which point I volunteered to purchase some. The response to this was "Just give me a minute and take a seat outside" which we duly did. The barman then reappeared with the cocktails in hand, leaving us wondering why he couldn't have done this in the first place.
When ordering a second round of mojitos, we were told by the bar manager that he didn't know how to make them and would have to get someone else to do so. After 15 minutes we were served our drinks.
Dinner was booked for 8pm in the beautiful dining room. The table was set for 12, with another table in the room set for a larger group of 16. The room was well appointed with comfortable leather seats at all other tables, including the table for the other large party, however we were seated on standard banquet chairs which looked out of place and gave the impression that we were less valued. When this was pointed out to the staff, they did change the chairs, but I feel that this should have been done from the start. The delph at our table also seemed to be very basic in comparison to the elegant, china-like settings at other tables.
The food during dinner was ok, with my salmon and stuffed crab tasting like water. The only saving grace was my hake which was delicious.
On the second day of our stay, we returned to the bar at 3.15pm and requested two mojitos from the bar manager. We were told that there was a wedding arriving to the hotel at 4pm and so there were no cocktails being served until after then. Clearly, they were understaffed, but it appeared that the wedding party was of more importance than our custom and that we were not valued guests. When I tried to order the cocktails later that night I was again told by the bar manager that cocktails were not being made, however a guest further down the bar was drinking a Black Russian. I found this to be setting a double standard for guests again, similar to the service during the meal the night beforehand. Having spoken to my siblings it seemed that the majority also had some grievances, such as being ignored at the bar for such a length of time that they left and visited a bar across the road; ordering sandwiches at 7pm and being told to go to the BBQ instead; as well as other complaints about the standard of food during dinner on the Friday night. When we told the Assistant General Manager of these complaints he offered us a round of drinks with his compliments and apologised for the level of service we had received.
Overall, we enjoyed the ambience of the hotel and felt that it offered bright, airy, comfortable accommodation with fantastic views over the Castle and River. Staff overall were friendly and helpful, however, the bar staff seemed stretched, poorly trained and less accommodating than staff elsewhere in the hotel. Being in the hotel to celebrate a milestone birthday, we were expecting a greater level of service and hospitality as we wanted to spoil our mother on her 80th birthday and have her leave feeling like she had received the royal treatment. Instead, she was upset at feeling like a less than important guest due to the table settings at the dinner and the level of service received. This was not the experience we wanted her to have.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Award winning Kilkenny River Court Hotel, superbly located on the bank of the River Nore in the heart of the medieval city of Kilkenny. Nestled in a private courtyard, secluded from the bustling and winding city streets, the Hotel is overlooked by Kilkenny's majestic 12th century castle. On arrival you will feel a sense of belonging as our experienced team welcomes you to Kilkenny's finest four star hotel. The Hotel is the ideal setting for corporate events, weddings or special family events. Our prime city centre location also includes ample secure on site parking facilities. Dining outlets at the Hotel include the AA Rosette winning Riverside Restaurant and Terrace Kitchen at the Riverview Bar complete with its own 'al fresco' terrace dining experience. ... more less
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