This rambling old place is very dear to me, and represents some key memories and moments in my life. Therefore I cannot write an objective review, but I really want to write a quick piece on this 'grand dame' of provincial hotels.
The Clubhouse Hotel in Patrick Street Kilkenny represents the old-school way of doing hotels in Ireland. There's no shining foyer, no marble floors, no clean lines, no chrome, no lifts. What the Clubhouse has is old-style charm, and it has it in spades. The building goes back for goodness knows how many years, and has been added on to in a rather haphazard way as time rambled on. Up the steps covered by a wrought-iron and stained glass awning, the bar and restaurant takes up most of the ground floor, with the reception area up the stairs on the first floor. Old light fittings, fussy wallpaper, rugs everywhere, ancient bakelite wall switches, wooden doors with thick chipped paint and dented brass knobs. A collection of Punch cartoons adorns the walls that twist into a maze of corridors connecting the ballroom, meeting rooms, broom cupboards, doors marked 'Private' - you could not recreate this place if you tried.
I last stayed in the Clubhouse in the early 00s, so I can't really comment on the rooms, other than to say that back then they were large, comfortable and quite outdated.
I have often eaten in the restaurant downstairs - good, wholesome food with something for everyone on the menu. This is another spot where elderly people come to enjoy an afternoon out. I've written before about the unstated assurance of a place where the young at heart congregate - always a sign of good food, good service and good value.
So many different groups in Kilkenny use the meeting rooms and the bar that the name 'Clubhouse' is quite apt. To me the hotel is an integral part of the city, and I hope it remains open to all for many years to come. It was here we stayed one weekend over 10 years ago, exploring Kilkenny for the first time. When we decided to move to the region, the Clubhouse was the venue for the auction where we bought our home. Later, the Clubhouse was the meeting point to make new friends and start to really enjoy life in the South East.
So if you're looking for a good place to stay in a great city, where character is more important than presentation and where you can be sure of a warm welcome, you won't go far wrong with The Clubhouse.
Location: just off the main drag.
Food: standard fare
Rooms: clean but tired decor
Overall: Could do with makeover, it has a history which is not exploited enough i.e. once was a gentlemans club house.
This "vintage" (aka old) hotel is extremely well located for enjoying Kilkenny. It's a 5 minute walk to the castle, shopping areas, and night life. They also have a really nice pub and free parking.
The problems here, though, are really bad.
From the moment you walk in you will notice a musty/moldy smell which gets much worse as you move through the hallways to your room. Once inside our room we had to leave the window open to try and air things out and yet I still had to load up on allergy medications to stop sneezing and I actually felt asthmatic after staying 2 nights.
We were a party of 4 and a baby and the unfortunate odd-man out had to sleep on a ancient cot with something akin to plywood supporting part of the mattress. The other beds were quite adequate.
Breakfast was really bad. Scrambled eggs appeared to be prepared from a box. I had the Plaice fish one morning and had to send it back as it didn't taste fresh at all. The Irish breakfast was acceptable if you opted for something besides scrambled, but even then the chef more often than not overcooked the yolks.
The last day we were there, the waitress placed a steaming hot pot of tea right next to where my 9-month old was sitting in his high-chair during breakfast. None of us realized the danger from the placement of the tea. My nanny actually unwittingly poured a cup for my daughter and placed it right back where it came from next to the baby. A few minutes later, the baby grabbed the tea pot and it dumped on top of him. Luckily he wasn't permanently injured, but the management response to the incident was piss-poor.
The manager refused to believe that the waitress had put my son in danger by placing the pot next to the baby. His reasoning was the waitress raised 5 kids and I guess none of them ever got burned. He believed that my auPair was entirely at fault since she poured a cup and to his thinking must have moved the pot closer to my son. The pot, however, was sitting on a plate in the original spot that the waitress placed it, so I just have no idea where his logic comes from. Accidents happen... I get that. I really just wanted to know that the waitress would be disciplined for her part in the accident. I left without any assurances that would happen.
I will not return here.
Definitely not the worst hotel I've been here. Not sure on the quality of hotels you'd expect outside of a big city in Ireland, but this was already. Rooms are quite small and the showers are pretty weak.
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