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.