Since starting Mum Tribe Ireland I am constantly asked for hotel and travel recommendations, as a couple who traveled a lot before we had our son, it was hard for us not to enjoy a break away. We assumed that it would be a lot of work and most hotels weren’t child friendly – well we were wrong!
I detail our visits to child friendly hotels on Instagram stories, so make sure you are following me here.
Clonakilty Park Hotel
West Cork will always have a spot in my heart. We went to Clonakilty for our first Wedding Anniversary and loved it, so when the opportunity arose for me to collaborate with the Clonakilty Park Hotel I jumped at the chance. As usual I will always be totally honest with my reviews and collaboration information. We were gifted a two night stay in an interconnecting family room plus complimentary access to the soft play area in the hotel. All other costs were covered by ourselves.
We visited from a Friday to a Sunday and were there to avail of the fantastic family friendly activities the hotel has on offer during peak periods. Families of all ages and stages can enjoy themselves here, we tried out almost every activity and had a great time. I even commented to my husband that you could easily spend a week there with the in house entertainment and everything West Cork has to offer.
First things first, lets talk about the accommodation. The hotel is large and has a lot of different options. As mentioned previously, we stayed in an interconnecting room. I personally loved it, because our little one still naps, we were able to put him down for a peaceful sleep while we watched tv and had a cuppa. There’s tea and coffee facilities in all rooms plus DVD players – ideal for nights in or some chill out time for the kids. It was great at night time too, he went to bed and we could stay up and relax. Rooms are also equipped with a fridge which is invaluable for families. I will say one thing, while the common areas of the hotel have been refurbished to a very high level – they are stunning – it’s important to note that the bedrooms have yet to be remodeled. Saying that they are absolutely spotless, I came back to our room while housekeeping were there and I saw how thorough they were. For me, that’s a huge plus.
There are also self catering apartments and houses on the grounds which are a brilliant alternative to a standard hotel room if you want more space or freedom to cook for yourself. They come equipped with everything you could think of – fridge, freezer, microwave, kettle, tea and coffee, crockery and cutlery plus ironing boards and plenty of fresh towels and bed linen.
As you all know, my family and I love to eat out, and the food at the hotel is excellent. We dined in the Twist Bistro & Bar for dinner. There was plenty of options to choose from. Burgers, pasta, pizza and salads plus a lovely kids buffet which was full of treats like pizza slices and chips but also really nice wholesome options like chicken curry, pasta and meat with veggies. Our son was able to refill is plate as much as he wanted, so he tasted pretty much everything that was on offer! For dessert they have jelly, ice cream and little brownies.
After dinner we headed to the hotels in house kids disco. As you can imagine most of the guests were families so it was full of buggies and parents glad of a minutes break. The disco runs during peak seasons only so best to check if its on before you book. My son is obsessed with music so he loved dancing under the disco lights. There’s a bar in the function room for parents but one downside was its not as stocked as the main bar – it was fine for us but I did see some people bringing drinks upstairs.
If you want a break away that’s full of activities for the kids then this hotel is a great option. They run a Kids Club during peak seasons, our son was just three and children need to be four to participate so he didn’t get to experience that but he did get to go to the soft play area that is really well laid out for children. There is a small baby/toddler area that he was well able to get around, but he was a bit too small for the older area – I would say its perfect from four upwards. Dougal, the hotel mascot paid a visit to the children in the area which was really lovely too.
We also visited the pool, and ill be totally honest here, it wasn’t great – the pool itself is really big and has a lovely kids splash pool but our son just isn’t into swimming pools – no matter how hard we try to get him to enjoy them! He had enough after about 40 minutes but I would say if your kids are water babies they would love it. There’s a Jacuzzi for adults and an area of the pool with hydro bubbles that everyone can enjoy. Unfortunately the sauna wasn’t working when we were there so my husband couldn’t try it out. The changing rooms are big with a travel cot you can pop babies in while you get organised. One thing they didn’t have was bags for wet swimwear, they do have a machine to dry your togs but if you prefer to bring yours home and wash them i’d recommend you bring your own bag to wrap them up.
The playground is great, it overlooks the pool area and is modeled on a large wooden ship. There are swings, slides and a look out deck which is lovely. My husband and son got to experience it fully while I did an insta story of the hotel accommodation and they both said it was great fun.
There are lots of other things to do that we didn’t have time to experience, like the on site cinema, teen games room and adventure center that are perfect for older children.
We were invited to the Clonakilty Model Village and it was so lovely, it has something for all ages. The staff there build the model towns and trains in their workshop, and painstakingly recreate different locations in Ireland. The level of detail was fantastic, and our son absolutely loved the trains and even had a chance to sail a model boat in their mini lake! We also went on a tour of Clonakilty town on their road train. It was so lovely and a great way to learn about the history of West Cork. There’s a lovely little cafe, indoor soft play area and train themed park on site too so you could spend a nice afternoon there.
I love the fact that Clonakilty is only forty minutes from Cork, if you went the self catering route at the Clonakilty Park you can stock up in Dunnes Stores and Lidl nearby. Or if you wanted to eat out there are loads of lovely little restaurants in the town. One thing I wish I had given myself more time to do was shop, the boutiques are gorgeous! I popped in to Whitefawn but I had a toddler in tow and I didnt get to buy anything but I’m definitely going to head back down some day on my own and pick up some bits for myself. I also found the BEST salvage shop that had everything you could imagine – old alters, manequins, vintage suitcases and gorgeous furniture. Pre-baby I absolutely loved to visit places like that and bring something home to upcycle. So i’m definitely going to try and get something for myself next time i’m down west.
Would I stay in Clonakilty Park again? Hands down, yes. It has everything we like as a family. Good food, lovely staff, clean and comfortable rooms, loads to do in all weather conditions and its not too far to travel. I’m really looking forward to seeing the revamp of the bedrooms and self catering apartments too. I absolutely love what they have done in the bar, reception and bistro so once the full revamp is complete I think its going to be a go-to destination for us.
I don’t have many negatives, the only thing I would flag with anyone wanting to book is the fact that some of the kids activities only take place during peak periods but I can understand why – obviously there is a cost involved for the hotel to hire a bouncy castle or have a DJ host a kids disco. I don’t think it would be a huge drawback though, there’s still plenty of year round activities to keep adults and kids entertained.
My son has an egg allergy, and one thing I have spoken to the hotel about is clear labeling of the kids buffet for allergens. They have a lot of information about gluten but not a lot about egg, now this is a personal point because we have to be so careful but I know there are other parents out there who have the same issue so I don’t think it is any harm if they can pop up another allergy sign there. To be fair, the staff had no problem checking ingredients of everything and the adults menu was clearly labelled but its only a small, easily addressed point.
Overall, we had a really lovely break away. We all slept well, ate like kings and queens and had so much to do! I will definitely go back. To find out the latest rates and information for Clonakilty Park Hotel click here.
Fitzgerald’s Woodlands Hotel Adare
There are so many fabulous hotels across Ireland that cater for families, but one that stuck out in my head was Fitzgerald’s Woodlands House Hotel in Adare, Co. Limerick so it was an easy decision to collaborate with them on the first installment of #mumtribetravel. To be totally transparent, the Woodlands gifted us part of our trip in exchange for an honest review, but I based our experience on how we found the hotel and its facilities rather than on what was gifted to us as part of our stay.
From start to finish, the staff at this hotel have been an absolute joy to deal with and made our trip one to remember. I’ve traveled all over the world for business and pleasure but I have yet to encounter a hotel where every single staff member has been as courteous and helpful as the team at the Woodlands.
So lets dive in to our trip and why we enjoyed it so much! We are based in Cork so the trip was pretty straightforward to Adare, which in itself was great. We were worried that our son would be bored on the drive so we timed it that he had his afternoon nap while on the road, and it worked! He woke around thirty minutes left in our journey and I dished out plenty of snacks, stickers and toys to keep him occupied until we arrived.
The location of the hotel is ideal if you want to base yourself somewhere for your trip that you are happy not to leave, its surrounded by green fields and fresh air. I’ve been working so much at the moment it was wonderful to just switch off and enjoy each others company for a few days.
We arrived about five minutes before the bride and groom of the day got to the hotel. Which in itself was a treat for me because I love weddings and everything they entail. The hotel was absolutely packed with super glam wedding guests and they had the most gorgeous afternoon tea and prosecco wall set up so I was impressed from the get go!
Check-in was quick as our room wasn’t ready so we went to Timmy Mac’s Bistro for a bite to eat. If you love farmhouse chic then this little gem is for you. Think vintage bikes suspended from the ceiling, an exposed brick fireplace with a cozy stove, shabby chic decor and tasty home style cooking. What I really loved about the Bistro were the staff, we were served by Callum who couldn’t have been more accommodating. We had told the hotel in advance about our sons egg allergy and he was able to check the kids meals ingredients and came to the table armed with a colouring book, crayons and juice so our toddler was very impressed! We ordered pizza and fajitas, both were delicious. My husband said the pizza was so filling he couldn’t manage all of it so Callum wrapped it up for him (something that the staff are more than happy to do – ideal if you have kids who are slow eaters or who you know will eat later on – funny story our toddler polished off my husbands pizza in the jacuzzi bath, talk about living your best life!).
I had a spa treatment booked but knew that I’d be late for it because we all know the struggle of trying to get a toddler to eat when there are so many interesting things to do and see around them, so the staff were able to push out my appointment which was so good of them. I left my husband to run up to the room and get ready and I’m SO glad I was able to take in the room alone.
We had a fabulous suite which consisted of a main bedroom/living room area with everything you would expect from a quality hotel – tv, kettle, ironing board, safe and fridge. The style was so glam, mirrored furniture, crushed velvet, glittering sequin throws and crystal lights. The shape of the room is fabulous with three large windows which let in such fantastic light during the day. There was also a twin room off the main area where our son slept in the travel cot the hotel provided. Plus the most beautiful bathroom with said Jacuzzi bath, an illuminated mirror that I need in my life and the most gorgeous walk in rainfall shower.
The hotel kindly left some welcome gifts for us, beautifully wrapped cookies and a bag of Voya goodies from the spa that I could enjoy from home which were so appreciated. I chat a lot about self-care but sometimes I forget to take my own advice!
My husband and son arrived to the room so I headed to the Revas Spa for my treatment. Word to the wise, it’s part of the hotel but there is a very short distance you need to walk across that’s outside so keep that in mind if the weather is cold or wet (it wasn’t an issue for me but it’s always good to know these things in advance!). The spa is beautiful, with lots of their favourite products for sale in the lobby area and its designed with relaxation in mind. The therapy room was warm and inviting with a beautiful illuminated ceiling and relaxing music. My therapist was called Michelle who gave me a full body aromatherapy massage that was so thorough and relaxing. I hold a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders and she really worked on those areas to give me some relief! After my treatment she brought me to their relaxation area which are a mixture of day beds with canopies or nestled in alcoves that I loved! I’ve often been to spas where the relaxation beds are incredibly close to others so you may feel totally blissed out but you are right next to someone who’s catching up on the gossip with their bestie (I’ve been that person too! No judgement here!). The spa even has its own salon which I didn’t experience but when I go back I’m definitely going to book in for a blow dry! I floated back to our room, and returned to two sleeping boys who were as relaxed as me.
We all had a great nights sleep and were ready to face the next day with enthusiasm. We returned to Timmy Mac’s Bistro for breakfast where they had something for everyone. The usual cooked Irish Breakfast was buffet style, but the chefs were on hand to whip you up an alternative dish from their breakfast menu. There was also an area for cereals, juice, bread and cakes, plus a gorgeous continental breakfast selection and a pancake machine! Such a brilliant idea for a family friendly hotel, there were queues each morning for kids and their parents who had plates piled high with them. I have to say the food was so good, my husband had scrambled eggs and they were so fluffy, while my toddler commented on how yummy the sausage and pudding was – but the stand out for breakfast for me was the tea! The tea of choice is Barrys which we all know is a staple in my house, and its served in gorgeous shabby chic tea pots. It was so good we went through two pots that morning.
After filling our bellies we got wrapped up and headed to the Petting Farm which is on the hotel grounds. It’s small but was perfect for my two year old to feed vegetable scraps from the kitchen (such a thumbs up in my eyes – sustainable and environmentally friendly) to goats, birds and bunnies. We also strolled around the grounds and found their lovely fairy trail which was magical for my little one to explore.
You definitely wouldn’t go hungry at the Woodlands, we were booked in for afternoon tea but were so stuffed from breakfast that we moved it out an hour and I’m glad we did. We spent some time relaxing in the room watching Tiny Pop on tv – kudos to the hotel for thinking ahead and catering for little people! After thoroughly relaxing and re-heating after our trip outside we went to Fieldings of Adare for our Afternoon Tea which was served by Monica who was so lovely.
Nothing was too much to ask, our toddler had his own egg free afternoon tea, the pastry chef is vegan and Italian so you can only imagine the gorgeous treats he had. He absolutely loved the cake and every time he saw something new on his spread all he could say was ‘WOW’. Our own afternoon tea was wonderful, with delicious seafood pastries, mini sandwiches and quiches hot out of the oven. There were fluffy scones and the most divine mint chocolate cheesecakes, tartlets and cakes. It was SO good! Fieldings of Adare is such a beautifully presented room and I think it would make such a lovely venue for a birthday, baby shower or girlie get together, in fact I think it needs to host a #mumtribemeetup soon.
We returned to our room so full and content I did something I haven’t done in a very long time, both my toddler and I napped while my husband watched sport on tv – what a win-win situation! Afterwards we went to the hotel pool for a bit, unfortunately my son was not impressed because he’s a toddler and suddenly decided he didn’t want to go swimming the second get got there! But I did see lots of children having swimming lessons, the showers and changing room were clean and the gym next door was fully equipped for guests.
We returned from swimming and got ready for dinner in Timmy Mac’s bistro again. Our son absolutely devoured his roast chicken, I had the same and my husband had a steak baguette which he said was delicious. The food is really wonderful at the hotel, there’s something for everyone and they serve family favourites which makes all the difference if you are staying with a child.
We also booked a babysitter through the hotel called Megan which we paid directly for. She had worked in the hotel previously as part of their kids club and was garda vetted with first aid experience, which is an absolute must for me. She arrived once our son was asleep so we were able to go to the hotel bar for some much-needed child free time together. It makes such a difference when you can relax knowing your child is being looked after by someone capable and experienced. I had so many questions from followers on Instagram about the service, you can book a babysitter through the hotel and pay them directly like we did. You can specify when you want them to arrive and detail anything that needs to be done. Our details were pretty basic, just ensure he was comfortable and if she needed us we were only a short distance away.
All in all our trip was fantastic from start to finish, the staff, the location and the facilities were exactly what we were looking for. There’s something for every age group and Adare village is only a few minutes away by car. Travelling with kids can be stressful but when you get to a hotel that has everything you need, and are so enthusiastic to help you enjoy your stay it makes such a difference.
I’ve had such a massive response to our stay, with lots of you asking for the hotels rates, this is their Easter/Summer family room rates:
2 adults + 1 child from €125
2 adults + 2 children from €145
2 adults + 3 children from €155
To find out more about Fitzgeralds Woodlands House Hotel & Spa click here.