We stayed here in for a week at the end of June as my partner was attending a conference here.
We had been looking forward to the stay (especially me, as I didn't have to attend the conference and was going to be free to enjoy all the facilities)
We were somewhat surprised when we phoned to book the room, that the specially negotiated conference rate was €40 per night more expensive than the non-conference rate for exactly the same room! We double checked this as it seemed so unbelieveable!
We checked in on a Monday evening at around 5pm and while check-in was simple, the male receptionist forgot to give us our room-card-key and we assumed that the chap bringing our cases to our room had it! That was only a very minor hiccup though.
An hour or two later, we decided we would dine in the bar as we just wanted something light and quick to eat. We were eventually offered menus and promptly ignored after that, and it took 20 minutes more before someone actually took our food order even after telling the waitress that we were ready to order!
We both chose fish and chips (at €18.50 each!) and this comes wrapped in what seems like a piece of A4 size photocopied paper of what appears to be newspaper articles about Lyrath. So well hidden are the chips in this piece of paper that I didn't see them when our plates arrived and I actually remarked "well, at least the chips are to come yet", only to discover that the tiny presentation on our plates included not just the miniscule fish portion but also a handful (literally) of chips very well concealed in the paper!
The following night, we dined at Yindees restaurant upstairs as we were meeting friends for drinks in the bar afterwards. Yindees is not cheap fare but both Sylvia and especially Charles were extremely attentive and friendly waiting staff in complete contrast to our previous night's experience in the bar.
We joined our 6 friends in the bar and ordered a bottle of white wine. The waiter had managed to change this to a bottle of red wine by the time it reached our table!
It turned out that we were all drinking the same wine at our table and when we tried to order another bottle, we were told that while they had more of this wine, it was not available chilled and we would need to choose something else. I would expect that any competent bar tender ought to be able to keep track of what wines are low in the refrigerator and restock them in advance; I would also have expected that a hotel claiming to be 5 star ought to have a rapid chiller in their bar so that its customers are not disappointed.
Breakfast is available as a buffet and offers the usual fare of cereals, fried food, fruit and cold meats. Our first morning, when we arrived to the breakfast area, it was unstaffed for about 15 minutes.
We found a waitress named Sylvia to be very efficient and friendly. While breakfast was pleasant when we were there at around 8am, on one morning I arrived down at around 9.30am and found that the buffet was looking rather bare.
My partner had conference lunches provided at the La Perla restaurant and based on her experieces there, we felt no need to try there for dinner.
I attempted to check out the spa on the Tuesday morning and while it appeared to be open, I could find no member of staff just after 9am, either upstairs at reception or downstairs in the treatments area. I gave up waiting after about 10minutes.
The gym at the time was open only from 8am-12.30pm and reopened at 4pm (til 8pm). When I had read the hotel brochure, it appeared that these were the Winter/Spring opening times rather than the times available for the Summer season. Despite the poor weather, I had assumed that the last week of June was more likely to be Summer rather than Winter/Spring!
The gym itself is basic and the changing rooms are compact. The pool, whirlpool and steam room are adequate, with towels and swimming caps provided.
I should point out that I arrived at the gym that first day at perhaps 12.25pm not realising that it was due to close very soon and the chap who was on duty didn't point this out to me and waited for me to finish my workout and swim without any fuss at all. It showed a level of service that was very much lacking in other areas of the hotel. I didn't get his name but he definitely deserves praise for being friendly and helpful.
It does seem odd that the gym of a supposedly 5 star hotel closes for the afternoon, and not at all what I expect from such hotels.
The hotel room overlooked the pond-garden area at the back of the hotel. It also offered a view of the conference area and the spa infinity pool as well as a clear view into dozens of other hotel rooms. We could clearly see other guests in their rooms and felt we had to close our curtains to have any privacy.
The room comes equiped with a decent sized safe (which could accomodate my full size laptop) as well as trouser-press/ironing board and iron and tea/coffee making facilities. We didn't use the minibar.
The bathroom had a full size bathtub with a separate walk-in/wet-room style shower. The toilet is a separate cubicle off the bathroom. Only a single container of shampoo, shower gel and body lotion were provided and these were only replaced when completely empty. While the toiletries themselves were nice, the frugal restocking policy didn't feel very 5 star.
We also needed to phone reception to have lightbulbs changed in the bathroom and to provide a hairdryer which was absent. Even then, only one of the two bulbs blown was replaced.
We used the teapot provided to make some tea one evening and this was not cleaned the next day when the room was being serviced.
I would expect that blown bulbs, stale tea in glass teapots, missing hairdryers and the random sock under the bed from a previous occupant should have been noticed without us having to bring any of this to anyone's attention.
As for Wi-Fi access in the rooms! It was completely unavailable in our room. There is a "hotspot" area near reception but I found there was no Wi-Fi signal available here either. Reception provided a cable so that I could plug in my laptop but even with that, it failed to connect at least 50% of the time. There is a business centre available at certain times.
There are extensive grounds but the gardens directly adjacent the hotel were disappointing and uninspired, and seemed rather unfinished.
The hotel is poorly signed for first time visitors travelling from the south and when there finally is a sign, it's literally just before the hotel entrance.
The hotel is located further from Kilkenny city centre than the impression given by the hotel website and one definitely will need a taxi if one intends venturing into Kilkenny with the intention of having a drink.
There was a wedding reception at the hotel on the Friday and there appeared to be an increased number of staff on duty, including the much hyped top-hatted doorman.
Some of these guests managed to wake us up in the middle of the night as they ran up and down the corridor banging on doors and yelling at each other and at around 5am, they set off the fire alarm.
While I appreciate that the hotel may not be directly responsible for this behaviour, I think that perhaps if the residents bar is going to stay open through half the night, then perhaps some common sense about serving obviously intoxicated people should prevail. I also feel that some member of nightstaff should have been on duty to make sure these guests didn't disrupt the sleep of others.
I also noticed that less than half of the male toilet facilities were working that Friday night.
The valet parking advertised on the hotel website suddenly appeared on Saturday morning.
Check-out on the Saturday morning was busy and at no point did anyone ask us if we had enjoyed out stay, nor could we find any form of satisfaction questionaire.
I suspect that those staying here at the weekend have a different experience to ours, as it really did seem like the place was transformed on the Friday and Saturday, with extra staff to be seen everywhere as opposed to the ghostlike absence of staff during the week.
Based on our experiences here, I think this hotel does not deserve to advertise itself as anything more than 4 stars (at a stretch) and really needs to rethink its pricing and staffing policies. It definitely did not offer us value for money. (Did I mention the extra delivery charge for room service?!)
My sister stayed here a month later for a midweek break and had a very similar experience to ours.
All in all, an overpriced disappointment and we will not be back.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated on 170 acres of parkland, Lyrath Estate Hotel is only 5 minutes from Kilkenny City. It offers luxurious air-conditioned rooms, an award winning spa, an outdoor infinity pool, and a selection of bars and restaurants. Guests can enjoy a peaceful night's sleep at Lyrath Estate Hotel as rooms are soundproofed with each having beautiful views overlooking the estate with not a car in sight. Each guest bedroom includes complimentary Wi-Fi and a 43 inch flat screen television. The Oasis Health Club boasts a gym, steam room, swimming pool and Jacuzzi. The Oasis Spa offers a thermal suite, sauna and steam room with a range of indulgent treatments, with advance booking recommended. Contemporary Irish cuisine is on the menu at La Perla restaurant using the finest local ingredients. Tupper's is a traditional Irish bar located at the heart of the hotel where you can enjoy a quiet drink & delicious bar food. Yindee's serves authentic oriental food whilst there is a range of beverages available at the sophisticated X Bar. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Lyrath Estate Hotel, Spa And Convention Centre
- Lyrath Estate Hotel, Spa & Convention Centre Hotel Kilkenny
- Lyrath Hotel Kilkenny
- Lyrath Estate Kilkenny
- Lyrath Estate Hotel Convention Centre