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Reviewed 28 August 2014

My fiancé and I purchased a travel package that included stays at four different castles throughout Ireland. Dromoland was the third castle that we visited and were blown away as we drove our little rental car through the front gates. Our excitement grew as we followed the meandering driveway through the golf course and up the majestic edifice of the stone structure. The beauty of the grounds was almost overwhelming as we passed the lake, circled the castle and parked in the rear lot. We quickly grabbed our bags and walked through the courtyard and into the beautiful front doors of the fantasy like castle.

Unfortunately, this fantasy ended as soon as we passed through the threshold of the lobby. We were immediately met with the dated décor and the attempt to convey a medieval feel with tapestries and suits of armor everywhere. However, the feel was less medieval and more Disneyland. I half expected a bellman to arrive dressed as knight and whisk our bags away to our room. I can only describe the castle’s interior like being in the Overlook Hotel from the movie “The Shining.” I had hoped that this antiquated look was only to be found in the lobby, but it was consistent throughout the entire hotel.

After a bit of a wait, we were able to check in. Our porter promptly came to help us to our room and gave some extensive history of the castle. After some twists and turns, we were shown our room, which was nice but not outstanding. We laughed out loud when we saw the bed…or beds. Yes, my new fiancé and I (she has said “yes” two days prior) would be forced to sleep in TWO twin beds that had been shoved together in the middle of the room. Plus, each bed was sheeted individually!! We pulled the sheets out to make a single sleeping area, but were annoyed when the maids re-sheeted the beds the same as before. I found this kind of ridiculous.

With the bedroom situation being what it was, we decided to write it off and go to dinner. We went to the restaurant to find that it was a formal dining room that required a dress shirt and slacks. Being that I did not have such clothes, we decided to grab a drink in the bar and eat in the more relaxed sitting area. While at the bar, I ordered a Side Car. What I didn’t realize was that the menu had one page for regular drinks and another for top shelf drinks. As it turned out, the sidecar that I had ordered was 80 (yes EIGHTY) euros! I know that this was a result of my own negligence, but I was surprised that the waiter did not point out the cost when I was ordered. This drink coupled with dinner came to over two hundred US dollars. I approached the bartender to see if there was a mistake on the bill, only to have him reply, “I suppose that it wasn’t quite worth it then?” To which I said, “Um, not even close.” We left quite upset and feeling a bit taken.

When we got back to our room, we looked up all the activities that the hotel offered its guests. This list was long and attractive as it included archery, horse back riding, golf and even falconry. However, each activity was quite expensive, and there was a fee just to watch the falconry. We both decided, from that point, that we would not give Dromoland another cent of our money.

The next day, we drove in to the small town just outside the property walls. There, we found a small café where we both dined for less than twenty Euros. The food was delicious and the service was delightful. From there we took a walk and found an awesome public park with a playground that brought out our inner kids. If you can find it, I highly suggest it. We did walk the grounds of the castle as well. The property was very pretty and we took many photos on our stroll.

That night, we took a drive north on the highway a few miles to a small town with several dining options. Here we had steak and chicken dishes for a third of the price of the Dromoland restaurant. Plus, all the drink prices were clearly marked and on the same page. Being Sunday night, many businesses were closed, but the little town looked like a lot of fun.

By the end of our stay, we were anxious to leave this place behind us. I suppose the most disappointing part of our stay was the sheer potential of Dromoland. The exterior of the castle and the grounds make it a very beautiful and impressive property. The dated decor, the dreary feel, high cost, and mediocre service really hurt our overall experience. For these reasons, we would not describe the hotel as “5 stars” if asked. Instead, we describe it like an amusement park and call it Dromo-Land.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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9  Thank Daniel H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 August 2014

A splendid couple of days! Our family arrived in the pouring rain. But the entire staff made our visit friendly, warm and relaxing. The grounds are spectacular, and the food is amazing. Service was superb.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Craig & Yumi S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mark_Nolan_GM, General Manager at Dromoland Castle Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 1 September 2014

Dear Craig & Yumi

Thank you for posting your review, we are delighted you and your family enjoyed your recent stay with us and hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you back to us in the not too distant future.

Sincerely

Mark Nolan - General Manager

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Reviewed 26 August 2014

What an amazing experience. The staff go out of their way to make sure they can assist you with any request. It was like a page from the PBS show Downton Abbey . We highly recommend the falconry as you get to hike through the grounds while you watch these amazing creatures soar in flight . Our dinner at the Earl of Thomand was divine . What a perfect way to end our 7 day Irish vacation !

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank Eric D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mark_Nolan_GM, General Manager at Dromoland Castle Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 27 August 2014

Dear EricD

Thank you for posting your lovely review. We were delighted to welcome your family to stay with us and hope that we have the pleasure of welcoming you back in the future if you are traveling in Ireland again.

Best Wishes

Mark Nolan & All The Team

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Reviewed 26 August 2014

Went to Dromoland for afternoon tea one sunday this year and it is an understatement to say i was disappointed! Had been wanting to do it for ages and was really looking forward to it.
I understand that taste is very subjective but the basics were lacking in the poor display of food served to us that day.
To start, the cucumber sandwich ( how original!!) were like they had been waiting on a tray for hours and were simply not fresh. The bread was stale. The smoked salmon sandwiches also stale were very basic and not what you would expect from a 5* hotel, neither were the third kind of sandwiches!The sampler cakes would have been passable if they had been fresh and cold, not like something that has spent the day on the kitchen counter.
The only positive were the scones, tiny but delicious.
At €75 for 3 what we got was far from being up to standard.
The staff was not particularly nice or helpful, but condescending and obnoxious!

Not what you would expect from a 5* hotel!

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
    • Service
11  Thank Lily380
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mark_Nolan_GM, General Manager at Dromoland Castle Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 27 August 2014

Dear Lily380

We are very disappointed with your review but do appreciate your feedback.

We are very proud of our Afternoon Tea offering and in fact we are in the process of developing it further. I am very surprised that you would have been served anything less than fresh sandwiches and pastries but will bring this to the attention of our Chef.

I will not tolerate condescending or obnoxious staff, now or ever, and am amazed at your comment however in an effort to learn from your feedback I would like the opportunity to discuss this further with you and would kindly ask you to contact me off line on mark.nolan@dromoland.ie

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely

Mark Nolan - General Manager

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Reviewed 26 August 2014

Visited for a wedding and ended up staying the night as a treat.
Service could not have been better and our 5 year old son was spoilt rotten by all the staff who took the time to make sure he had the best visit from endless supplies of ice lollies by the lady at reception to teddy bears and children's dressing gowns in the room. They even remembered his name wherever he went in the hotel.
Golf course was fantastic as were all the facilities the hotel had to offer.
The wedding was done amazingly and we had a great time on all the little visits we made in the week leading up to it.
It was expensive and the wedding bar bill was horrific, but I can guarantee, you get what you pay for.
I only wish I had taken the lady's name who showed us to our room and made my son feel so welcome as she deserves a special mention.

Room Tip: We were close to the wedding venue part of the hotel in a deluxe room and it was perfect with very little noise.
  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
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Thank TheChisletFamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mark_Nolan_GM, General Manager at Dromoland Castle Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 27 August 2014

Dear ChisletFamily

Thank you for taking the time to post your review. We were delighted that you stayed with us and it was a pleasure to spoil you all! I will share your comments with the entire team so your lovely comments will reach the intended staff member who showed you to your room.

I hope we have the pleasure of welcoming you back to visit us again in the not too distant future.

Best Wishes

Mark Nolan - General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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