A very servicable four star hotel stands in a magnificent location on the banks of the Shannon a few miles from Athlone.
The hotel is well used for weddings and is big on the conference trade. It would be a quite acceptable base for touring but don't expect anything special.
The view from the hotel is however on the impressive side, with a small marina emptying out into the Hodson bay. As part of the river Shannon it is peaceful and attractive - especially in the setting sun. It is just a pity that some idiotic architect decided to build a car park between the Hotel and the lake. Some formal gardens would have given a real 'wow' factor.
The newly built spa and leisure centre was large and well appointed. I must also mention their rather silly and blatently sexist leisure centre slogan of "The men strong...the women slender"...uuuummm
I usually find Radisson Hotels to be pretty good, but as I had read a number of very critical reports of this particular one I didn't know what to expect. Indeed, so critical were some of the reviews that I tried to get alternative accomodation at the last minute. I was glad to be able to prove most of those negative reviewers wrong.......
We arrived by car and I immediately found parking right in front of the hotel - it's free for residents.
At reception we were greeted with genuine smiles from staff who were eager to help. There was no problem cancelling our dinner reservation in the hotel and going elsewhere.
Our suite was on the first floor and was more in the lines of a junior suite than a full executive suite, which was what I had booked. Nevertheless, it was very spacious and furnished in a modern manner. As you walk in the door there is a very large, tiled area with frosted glass wardrobes, tea and coffee maker, seperate Nespresso machine, safe, iron, ironing board etc. It is not a hallway, but rather a spacious dressing area.
The bedroom is large with a king sized bed at one end, twin armchairs and a coffee table set into the bay window, a music and entertainment area with flat screen tv and seperate Hi Fi, a marble topped desk, and other occasional furniture. I was more than a little impressed at the decanter of Irish whiskey that sat on our riverside table - it was compliments of the hotel. I pulled back the brightly coloured gauze curtains and looked out over a stunning vista of the River Shannon and the marina below, the lovely Church of Saints Peter & Paul, and Athlone Castle, both across the other side of the river.
The bathroom contained twin sinks, seperate walk in shower, plenty of towels and toiletries, and even a little yellow Radisson rubber duckie.
Having explored the room and enjoyed a glass of that very nice whiskey, we wandered down to the riverside bar. The evening was lovely so we sat outside sipping Mojitos. We could have been anywhere in the world.
The taxi that arrived to take us to dinner that night was right on time and, when we returned, the manager on duty (Carmel) remembered us from check in and stopped to ask how our evening had been. We were so happy with the hotel that we decided to stay on another night.
Breakfast the next day was good, but not fantastic. I have had better in other Radissons. The self service area is a bit crowded and they run out of simple things like fried eggs or boiled water in the urn. I didn't let it put me off. It set us up for a really lovely day exploring Co. Westmeath. We arrived back to the room at 4.15pm that evening, planning to have a shower before departing for Wineport Lodge Restaurant at 5.15pm. We were anxious to arrive at that eatery very early so that we could relax in the setting with a nice drink. That's when things started to go wrong. Our room had not been touched since the previous night - no clean towels, no toiletries, etc. I was mad. I rang their one touch service and insisted that they bring clean towels immediately and then clean the room. I explained the urgency. Thirst five minutes later no towels or persons had arrived at the room. I phoned again. The housekeeping service arrived too late and we left for dinner feeling stickey and annoyed.
When we arrived back to the hotel there was a fruit bowl and a note of apology from Carmel, the Duty Manager. Carmel deserves a medal as she's always smiling and woring hard to see that people are happy.
We left after breakfast the next day, and overall we were happy. We didn't have time to use the spa or the pool, but we intend to come back to try them.
The staff here are fantastic. Service is excellent. Finally, the riverside location and views and city centre location are hard to beat.
I had dinner here, but wished I was staying. Almost naturally, a hotel of this nature is bound to be booked out unless you've reserved your room well in advance.
While dining here you are welcome to explore all of the public areas - warm modern interiors with comfortable lounges and bars, little nooks where you can sit quietly, stunning grunds right on Lough Ree where you can moor your boat and step ashore for a leasurely dinner.
I believe that the hotel was built as an adjunct to the restaurant, which was already immensely popular. The hotel has lived up to the reputation of the eatery.
I did not see the rooms but I long to come back and stay, based on the service we got in the restaurant.
There's also a full spa plus a hot tub on the roof.....
If you set your sat nav for "Hudson Bay", which everyone calls this place, you will not find it. The name is "Hodson Bay". I was lost until I decided to forget the sat nav, or Daisy as I call the female voice that guides, and sometimes misleads, me.
While we were in the area, my borther suggested that we should drop by this hotel as he had stayed and loved it.
Basically it's two hotels on one site - the original older four star property and the birght new glass and chrome five star structure complete with leaisure centre, swimming pool and spa.
Overall I liked the place, although I was left with some mixed feelings.
The situation of both hotels is fabulous - directly on the shores of Lough Ree. We went for a long walk along the banks of the lake and breathed in the fresh air. There were lots of water craft moored here with others sailing, fishing, and water skiing.
We then decided to have coffee and first went to the five star area. There's a juice bar and coffee dock in the reception area here. It was very modern and uncomfortable, plus the coffee machine wasn't working. As it occupied the entire reception space, it really took away from the five star aspect of the hotel.
We wandered across to the four star area and found a lovely quiet conservatory, well stocked with the Sunday papers, in which to enjoy our excellent and freshly brewed cafe lattes.
This hotel is very family oriented. I noted that there were activities for children organised throughout the day.
The location on the lake is also perfect for sailors or water sports enthusiasts.
After exciting in-town driving on narrow roads and more hubcap damage, we locate our lodging, the Bastion Street B&B, owned by two close guys, Vincent and Scott. Upon arrival, Vinnie is watering his flowers out front. He tells us this is the nicest day they have had all summer (this on September 7. The sun was shining, skies are bright blue, and temperature is at least 70 degrees! The next morning returns to Irish, cooler and foggy for a few hours. Our B&B was a record for the smallest room ever! There was no air conditioning (no need in Ireland!), and one window facing the street traffic. I started dreaming of a Radisson Hotel we saw earlier. In an attempt to refresh and regroup, I take a shower, but the stall is so small that you cannot turn around in it. So one day I washed my front and the next my rear side. To power up the shower, you also had to go out into the hallway to flip the switch. Joan says the place is just fine, but she could turn around in the shower.
Vinnie and Scott tell us of a Thai restaurant one block from the B&B that was awarded the 2007 best Thai restaurant in all of Ireland. We loved the place. Another restaurant was run by Romanians (who also came to Ireland for a better life) and we enjoyed a filet of Irish beef in a green peppercorn sauce and an appetizer of mushrooms in a garlic sauce there. Breakfast at Vinnie’s was an assortment of Irish breads (Irish Barm Brack, Fruit Soda, apricot and sesame), fruits, marmalades and cereals.
The An Cearnog pub right behind Athlone castle has 15 rooms en suite.
I stayed there for 3 nights and it was verry good.
Nice,big and clean rooms.
Bathroom with shower and bath.
Paul,the boss is a great guy,verry friendly and helpfull
A nice pub,and you don't have to go far to get to your room after a night of drinking :-)
The Radisson Blu in Athlone has a perfect location on the River Shannon near the centre of the town. Our room was comfortable and had a stunning view of the river. Although the building was modern and nothing special architecturally, it wasn't out of place in its surroundings. The staff were friendly and the hotel lobby was well appointed. So why wouldn't I give it 10 out of ten? The breakfast was exceptionally poor. Why do 4 star hotels so often have 1 star breakfasts?! Having said that, this was one of the poorest of a bad lot. The quality and condition of cold meat and cheeses was poor; I would definitely advise room only if available. So, if you can avoid the breakfast, this is a lovely place to stay in Athlone.
This grade of hotel, usually quite expensive, was very reasonable for the dates we booked through Booking.com.
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