Stunning Parkland Setting
When choosing a Kinsale hotel, I was almost swayed towards one of the old favourites enjoyed by generations of Irish sailing enthusiasts (or, that saying, generations of Irish gourmets and hardy drinkers). However, having considered all the options I decided that I would break the mould and book the relatively new Carlton. Part of a chain that has recently blossomed all over Ireland, I had been delighted with the Dublin Airport Carlton last year and was hopeful that its Kinsale flagship would live up to reputation.
Let me say that I experienced ups and downs here but the downs were all to do with personnel and service.
For a four star hotel, the setting is incomparable. I found myself driving along perhaps a mile of tree shrouded sun dappled driveway which curves around an imposing rock and waterfall centerpiece in front of the modern glass and stone built hotel. There was plenty of parking and a couple of disabled spots right in front of the door.
Our room wasn't quite ready (this was 3.30pm) so we waited on the sunny first floor deck and gazed at the harbor below, sipping our drinks and coffees and reading the paper. We didn't have long to wait before we were shown to our triple room. I had specifically booked for three adult females (two of whom are in their 70's) and had requested three single beds (and was assured I would have them). First disappointment - a double bed and a child sized camp bed. Mum and Aunt insisted that I shouldn't complain so at that stage I didn't.
The bathroom is modern with both a bath and a separate shower. The towels were thick, fluffy, and plentiful but there was just one set of toiletries for three people.
The beds were very comfortable. There were two armchairs and an ottoman, tea & coffee facilities (replenished daily), a small old-type television, and a nice view of the waterfall.
I grabbed my swimsuit and made my way to the indoor pool. This area is really lovely, with the 20m pool divided into sections - two lanes for swimming, a child's section, and a larger section for different types of relaxation jets. There's a separate jacuzzi, a sauna, and a steam room plus rain forest showers. I wanted to swim but found I couldn't as people are inclined to take over this area and claim it for their own.
That night we enjoyed a nice meal in the hotel restaurant and I will review that separately.
On returning from a day out on our third day (heading into third night) we found we were locked out of our room. Shock/horror - it seems we were booked for three nights under two reservations....one reservation for two nights and one for one night. They literally could not book us straight through for three nights and had to re-check us in for the third night. Not on in my opinion.
My other big "thing" about this hotel is that while I booked by phone, the requested email confirmation took almost 2 weeks and seven solid days of phone calls to arrive.
I made my complaints known to the very nice and pleasant manager on the third night.
Unique Quality: The hotel is scrupulously clean with wonderful spa-like scents everywhere you go.
The views of Oysterhaven and Kinsale bay from the first and second floor decks are incomparable.
The staff are eager to help and very friendly.