Sunday, April 17, 2011

Earls Court House in Killarney

Since hotels in European countries almost always include breakfast as part of the cost, some are being included here as personal recommendations for places we have enjoyed staying. If asked where to stay in a particular place that we’ve visited, the information would have to be gathered and presented in a reasonable fashion. Inclusion here makes it possible to really go over every detail, and not forget to mention something. It can also be easily linked in an email many more times than I would want to have to explain it verbally. If anyone visits Killarney, Earls Court House Hotel seems to be the perfect place to stay. It’s an easy half mile or less walk from town and all the noise associated with close proximity to pubs is eliminated, affording one a peaceful night’s sleep.

We booked the hotel because of the name and the fact they were running a special for three nights. When in London, we like the atmosphere and diversity of the Earls Court neighborhood. There’s not much diversity in Ireland unless you’re in Dublin, so we really went for the price. With the special we were able to upgrade from a standard room to a deluxe king, in hopes of having a bit more space. As the photos can attest, we had plenty of space in this nicely furnished room and more than enough in the adjoining bathroom that offered a shower, whirlpool tub, a gracious double lavatory and of course the “water closet”.

Each room offered its own charm, with different colors and furnishings. The room in the photo on the left was a standard, but still a comfortable size. The one depicted on the right was one of the suites and it certainly showed in the four poster bed and wardrobe closet. Lovely furniture in each room was antique and not reproduction. Since I was planning on writing a Trip Advisor review, I asked to see several rooms in each price range and admit I was surprised to see such individuality, instead of cookie cutter rooms with standardized furnishings. The larger rooms even had gas burning fireplaces for a bit of romance.

Another of suites made quite an impression with its bright red orange walls and club chairs. I’m not certain it would be soothing for sleep, but I’d stay in it gladly. This family run, 4 star hotel is uniquely personalized and each room makes one feel as though they are staying at a friend’s country estate. The bed was very comfortable with nice linens and extra pillows; splurge quality at reasonable prices. We do not hesitate to recommend this hotel to friends and family, and have since learned that a friend’s parents visit this hotel every few years.

Killarney is quite the tourist center and has become over built for my taste. I can still envision the bluebells that nestled under the trees lining the lake, on Muckross Road heading out of town. Those fields are now occupied by more tourist hotels, making it nearly impossible to see the lake. Where once private pastures surrounded the old manor house turned B&B, Coolclogher Farm, where I stayed on my first trip to Ireland, there were now more hotels enshrouding the property. It was barely visible, but I had such fond memories of having stayed there, that I looked for it and was ultimately successful in finding it. I will never forget looking out the window on my first morning in Killarney and seeing black and white cows grazing on the front lawn. It’s regrettable that people new to the area will not have that same pleasure.

Earls Court House also provides a computer for the exclusive and free use of guests, something I especially appreciate, since I don’t have a laptop, nor would I want to bring one on vacation. Guests are also welcome to afternoon tea or hot cocoa in the lounge. They just need to ask at the front desk. The public rooms were really comfortable, warm and inviting and many of us enjoyed using them. Tours are easily arranged by the hotel for guests and I decided the try the Ring of Kerry tour, since all that was necessary for me to do was show up.

Now for breakfast. Once home, after writing my own and reading other reviews of the hotel, I saw many glowing remarks about the breakfast and I concur with all, but the one rant about burnt toast. With all the attention to detail that this hotel displays, I do not believe they would serve that. Everything in the dining room was perfect while I was there. There were many surprises beyond the typical bacon and egg breakfast one expects while visiting the British Isles, yet little about it was typical; portions were overly generous.

On offer were lovely cakes and Irish brown soda bread, marmalade and fruit preserves, and best of all, freshly cooked Irish oatmeal with cream, or a selection of cold cereals. I couldn’t even imagine selecting cold cereal with the availability of the oatmeal, but perhaps it was meant for children, since this seemed to be a child friendly establishment. Fruit, juices, coffee and tea rounded out the meal.

Lightly toasted white bread was served with the scrambled egg and smoked salmon. Egg dishes were served to order as well as “pancakes”. With three days we were able to try just about everything.

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