Just after Christmas, myself & himself decided to go on a break away till after the New Year with the kids. We decided on Letterkenny in Donegal as we had never been there before. We searched Trivago (love that site by the way, you get the best deals!) and found Clanree Hotel in Letterkenny was available.. It seemed a lovely family friendly hotel and it was the only hotel I could find with pool for the kids which is all they were interested in haha!
So we arrived in the afternoon and were very impressed with the look of the place, the big stairs decorated for Christmas were beautiful.
The room was nice and spacious which is always a must with kids for all the extra bags and other junk. Though I wasn’t impressed with how the wardrobe layout was…hanging space where the safe was in the way?? Like why…I love a good shower in a hotel but this one disappointed as it kept going cold and the water was pure brown. We were told it was the bogs or something…I dunno about country bog water, I’m a Dublin gal, but it just looked yuck! Oh and the door wouldn’t close right….totes dodgy room we got I think.
Anyway we went to have food in the bar in McGettigans that night and it was beautiful! They have really good food I must say. I hear they have a food place in Temple Bar too which I’m dying to visit
Later that day we went to go to the pool but that was closed for renovations, it was due to be open again the next day around midday I think but it didn’t open up till late evening the next day. Eventually we did get to go and the pool was nice and warm. They also had a kids section with shallow water. We were a bit disappointed that there were no toys for kids to play with especially since it was a family hotel.
As the lead up to New Years Eve came the hotel got busier with families, couples etc. Most evenings when we went down to get a meal with the kids the place was packed so there were no seats to have dinner. One evening we were actually left sitting at the side of the stage with the kids having their bowls of ice cream! That was so awkward as you can imagine. It was bad form as there were PLENTY of seats available but we were told they were reserved….and mainly they were reserved for all the locals and friends of staff by the looks of it. We were under the impression it was a residents bar but obliviously it wasn’t.
So then came New Years Eve and the kid were super excited!
They had a balloon drop set up in the bar that day so the kids were dying to see it but to all the parents surprize the bar kicked all kids out (ok yes it’s the law but come on!) they teased all the poor kids with the balloons and we all know how much kids LOVE balloons!
I wouldn’t have minded as it was packed inside but the hotel did absolutely nothing for the dozens of parents left out in the lobby with bored kids. No balloons, no music, no colouring pages….nothing and this is a family friendly hotel?
We were talking to a few parents too and they were just as upset as us. All the kids wanted was a few balloons and music.
My 3-year-old screamed when he realised he couldn’t get a balloon. I tried to run in and get him one but all the drunken adults took them or stood on them (damn you drunken child free adults:P) he bawled in the new year I suppose you could say :/ Only for a lovely lady seen what was happening and grabbed a balloon for him (thank you so much!!) I think I’d have grabbed one off someone just to stop his cries, it broke my heart and I wasn’t the only one with kids upset looking for a simple little balloon.
You would think a ‘family friendly’ hotel would have some balloons and music for the kids on New Years Eve knowing the kids wouldn’t be allowed in the bar and knowing they had families staying with them I’m very shocked a manager wasn’t on the ball and didn’t think of that what with it being a ‘family friendly’ hotel.
I did take up a lot of these issues with the manager when we checked out a day early out of pure annoyance. Between the bar always being reserved, no accommodating the kids on NYE and to be honest the hotel was dusty and holes in the walls and wires hanging out in places I was pretty p’eed off at this stage…and this is a 4 star hotel,we’ve stayed in better 3 stars being totally honest.
We were told, they were doing renovations. Like eh….we would have liked to have been told that before staying with you then we could have booked elsewhere!
Then regarding the kids on NYE it was basically oh well we never said we were having an event or party. I told him they are a family friendly hotel and really could have done something small.
Those small extra touches to make your stay enjoyable are what makes a hotel special. He said they have family rooms so that’s what makes them a family friendly hotel………alrighty then.
So all in all I couldn’t recommend this hotel to a family. Seems nice for couples with no kids but how they can call themselves a family friendly hotel really baffles me….oh wait they have family rooms that’s why.
Want to know the worst part? They didn’t have hot chocolate….during the Christmas season….in a ‘family friendly’ hotel… waaaah!
If you are looking for a nice family friendly hotel, I will say this, we stayed in The Hodson Bay Hotel years ago with the two eldest kids and in comparison to The Clanree Hotel it was the definition of a family friendly hotel. They had a NYE ball for the kids, a kids playroom, a baby room and I remember them going out of their way to get colours for kids if they seen they were bored it was just great for kids thinking back. Pretty sure they had hot chocolate too haha!
If you have any good family hotel recommendation for us to try please let me know in the comments where you enjoyed!! Yaz xo