Ardagh Hotel Clifden
A gem on Ireland's west coast
The short version
Location: could not have been better. Staff: professional and helpful. Owners: Truly first class – nothing was too much trouble. Food: Outstanding in freshness, preparation, choice and presentation. Welcome: warm and genuine. Room: clean, spacious and wonderful view. Cost: very reasonable for all that was offered. The downside: nothing whatsoever, everything was five stars all the way.
The long version
This was a really last minute decision for us. We had been working in Dublin for a couple of weeks and suddenly found that we had a long weekend to ourselves with little else to do – other than find somewhere comfortable on the west coast to relax and unwind. Thanks to the efficiency of the internet we soon had a range of suggested places to stay. Within a few minutes we had booked ourselves into the Ardagh Hotel, near Clifden, little knowing what we were letting ourselves in for.
The drive across Ireland was interesting, but gave us little in the way of clues as to what we might expect to find on our arrival. We were certainly not disappointed, in either the countryside, or our chosen venue. Let me start with the hotel; it was easy to find and looked impressive from the exterior, with plenty of parking. The co-owner, Monique, was waiting to greet us and, within seconds, had grabbed hold of my hefty suitcase and was lugging it up the stairs for me. We had booked an ordinary room at the back of the hotel, which was only to be expected given the lateness of our booking. I was truly astonished to find that Monique had upgraded us to a small suite at the front of the hotel.
This was a lovely room with acres of space and all of the facilities you would normally associate with a five-star city hotel. Above all, we had a massive double-glazed picture window which afforded us the most incredible views of the bay opposite. It really was quite a revelation.
After the long trek from Dublin, neither my partner, nor I had any energy to go out and seek food, so we took a chance and booked a table at the hotel’s restaurant instead. Having bathed and changed, we sauntered down to the bar for a pre-dinner drink in the bar. I doubt that there was a drink that they could not have provided, so we opted for the comfort of our usual tipples and began reviewing the night’s menu. This was torture; it is not often that I find myself with such a choice. I settled on mussels followed by lobster. I cannot remember the last time that I was fortunate enough to savour such fresh food, cooked to perfection. The wine list was an equal trial, given the spread of choice and what was delivered to the table was superb. Exactly the right temperature and served to perfection.
The waiting staff were truly professional and “mine host” was everything that you would expect from a quality country house hotel. Nothing was too much trouble and our every whim was catered for. As though the food and drink were not enough, the evening just got better and better. At a little before 9pm the Venetian blinds were drawn up to reveal a magical and awe inspiring sunset which lingered for ages, before finally disappearing over the horizon. We took our coffee and after dinner drinks down in the bar, which was accompanied by some scrumptious petit fours.
The stay just continued to get better and I found it refreshing to find a hotel where such a myriad of languages were spoken, where friendliness and comfort are bywords and food and drink of the highest standard. The hotel was only bettered by the location – this part of Ireland is just so beautiful. A long weekend was not enough – we will be back, and soon !!!
Unique Quality: First rate staff
Free room upgrade
Fantastic views (especially the sunset)
Great food, especially seafood
Just relax and be pampered
Directions: Between Clifden and Roundstone
Beware - you may be ripped off
I would like to preface this review by pointing out that I have never, thank God, had occasion to write a review like this before and sincerely hope that I will never have occasion to do so in the future. I would sincerely caution any traveler to think long and hard before staying in this hotel.
Our party of two couples decided to book a weekend away at short notice. Due to being heavily pregnant we didn’t want to travel far, so looked at a number of possibilities close to home in the Mayo/Galway area.
We frequently take weekend breaks in Ireland and holiday abroad along with traveling for work. We average approximately 60 – 80 nights per annum in hotels of one decription or another. Whilst we usually stay in either 4/5* locations, we did as we usually do and rang a number of different hotels in the area of our choice and got quotations for rates. We then checked these rates against those available on the internet and used trip advisor to check out reviews of the hotels.
On this occasion my husband rang the Ardagh hotel and was quoted for 2 superior rooms arriving on the Friday night and departing on the Sunday with breakfast included on both mornings and one evening meal. The rate quoted was €189 per room. Considering the high rating in trip advisor together with this very reasonable price we decided that although it was only rated a 3* the overall package was very attractive.
My husband rang back the following day to confirm the booking and spoke with the same receptionist who confirmed on three occasions, over the phone, that the rate was €189 per room, not per person and not per room per night. We left a card number as a deposit and as it was so close to the day, made the mistake of not requesting a confirmation email.
We arrived on Friday evening and despite having requested 2 twin rooms we were shown to one twin room and one double which were admittedly reasonably large.
Our first impressions of the hotel were that it was quite dated and in need of refurbishment, but we were prepared to live with this given the price we were paying. We had dinner in the restaurant Friday evening and have to admit that the food was good.
As regards the rooms a few things that I would like to point out;
- The plumbing seems to be in a very bad state of repair and it was extremely noisy to the point that you can feel the shuddering when the toilet was flushed. The taps in the bathroom continually increase in pressure from the moment they are turned on which causes a lot of splashing and means that you have to turn them on and off when using. The sinks are too high and too small and very awkward to use. There was a pungent smell from the bathroom which seemed to emanate from the toilet and would fill the room unless the door was kept closed.
- The walls are extremely thin and you can hear flushing toilets and conversations from other rooms.
- There was ivy outside some of the windows of the hotel and this had the unfortunate effect of attracting many spiders and, more annoyingly, wasps in through the open windows.
- The beds were really hard and uncomfortable with very dated bed clothes.
- One room had a very small portable TV and there were only four terrestrial channels available – on three of these the reception made them unwatchable.
- There are no lifts in the hotel.
- There is a Staffordshire bull terrier wandering freely around the hotel (inside and out) and whilst he seems friendly, this breed is notoriously unpredictable.
Overall, for the rate we were quoted, we would have overlooked many of the niggles above, after all, it is not reasonable to expect 5* quality at 3* prices. We were, however to get a nasty shock when we went to check out on Sunday morning.
I went downstairs to settle the bill for both rooms as my husband was on crutches, and found one of the proprietors (a gentleman named Stephane Beauvet) behind the reception desk. I requested the bill for both rooms and was asked why I wanted them both! A little taken aback, I explained that I wished to settle the bill for the other party (my parents) as a treat because it was nice to be nice.
He abruptly changed the subject and asked when I was due. Feeling increasingly uneasy I replied October at which point Mr Beauvet proceeded on what I can only describe as a rant telling me how he and the other proprietor were now separated, how they had an 18 year old son in a top boarding school, how he was “f***ing old” because he was “f***ing 50 years of age”. He then proceeded to go into graphic detail about his wife’s labour and how she was shouting “do not cut, do not cut” and then the noise of the cutting and when the baby finally came out how he shouted that it had “f***ing balls”.
Finally, Mr Beauvet did produce the bill, the total for the accommodation came to €756.00 which was €189 per person and not per room as we had been quoted. As I was feeling both very uncomfortable and very intimidated at this stage, I gave my credit card and settled the bill and went upstairs to my husband. My husband was furious and went down to reception to query the bill. He was informed that the rates are always quoted per person sharing and not per room.
My husband was informed that the receptionist who had originally quoted him the rate was in England for the weekend and wouldn’t be back until Tuesday evening. My husband re-iterated the fact that he was told no fewer than 3 times that the rate was per room. Mr Beauvet refused to entertain this point and went on to say that the receptionist would deny quoting per room as if he admitted this, the money would come out of his wages.
We decided to load up the car and leave. Before departure I personally went back in to try and reason with Mr Beauvet and to request a breakdown of the drinks bill for the stay (the hotel does not give itemized bills instead opting for a handwritten invoice with numbers). Whilst waiting to speak with Mr Beauvet I heard him inform other guests that it had been a quiet season.
My pleadings feel on deaf ears being told pretty much word for word what he had informed by husband. He was reluctant to provide me with the requested breakdown and when finally did so, I found I had been over charged. Admittedly it was by only €1, but at this stage it had become a point of principle. I asked for the refund to which he replied that “it was only €1”. I demanded the money and he said that he only had €2 coins at his disposal which I took and left.
My husband phoned the hotel on Tuesday evening to speak with the receptionist who admitted, after much arguing, that he may have mistakenly quoted the rate per room as opposed to per person. He apologised for any confusion and informed my husband that he would speak to the proprietor and my husband would be called at 5pm on Wednesday evening. Needless to say, the phone call never materialized so my husband phoned back and spoke again to the receptionist who now changed his story and flatly denied ever quoting per room.
All in all, our experience in the Ardagh hotel is one which we will be in a huge hurry to forget. The proprietor’s attitude and conduct is beyond the realm of acceptable and it was patently clear to us that he had no interest whatsoever in customer satisfaction he simply wanted our money. We feel thoroughly disgusted by our experiences here and will never recommend this hotel to anyone. As you can see from my previous reviews, I have never given a review like this in my life but I feel that I have to warn people very strongly against staying at this hotel.
Had it not been for Mr Beauvets disgusting and repulsive behaviour, there is an argument that the hotel may have been worth the €378 we were originally quoted, however, when taking account of all the faults, I would rather contract a tropical disease than to pay €756 for accommodation and service like this. I earnestly and strongly urge you all to stay somewhere else in Clifden after all, and as stated to Mr Beauvet – we had been quoted less to stay with 4* establishments in central locations elsewhere.
Unique Quality: Views.
Nearby Ardagh Hotel Clifden
Amenities at Ardagh Hotel Clifden
- Room Service
- Beverage Selection
- Free Parking
- Pets Allowed
- Kids Activities
- Continental Breakfast
- Bar / Lounge
- Free High Speed Internet
Clifden Travel Forum
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