To kick start our 2024, we found ourselves – for what was very much functional rather than necessarily enjoyable reasons – needing to stay up in Galway for two nights, with an unusual twist; our furry canine compatriot would have to accompany us. That requirement hastily whittled the options down for us to either The Ardilaun Hotel, not far from both where we needed to be and Galway city centre – or a Travelodge.
I find if you’ve stayed in one Travelodge, you’ve kind of stayed in them all and so, feeling like a bit of character and an independent property, we went with The Ardilaun Hotel.
Again, I’ll just preface this review by saying we were slightly constrained – we had our ageing, quite vocal elderly dog with us for what was our first ‘family’ hotel stay, so that instantly narrowed down our room selection to a Garden Room, and also added a considerable amount of stress; and secondly, this trip had its own reason, so it wasn’t as if we were going around trying to sample every bit of the hotel and the surrounds.
First impressions at the Ardilaun were super positive – we were all invited to check-in at reception (at first, I assumed I might need to loiter outside with the dog), and were quickly attended to and shown to our room.
The reception area, which also doubled up as our dining venue by virtue of the pup’s presence, was spacious, airy, and suitably calm throughout our stay – an absolute Godsend when you’ve a dog likely to kick off a round of vocalising at the first sight of another dog, or smell of a sausage.
Our room was very spacious, and as you’d hope with a dog in town, came with direct access out to a little patio, and then out into the gardens.
There was a double bed and a single bed, along with a desk, couch, and – a very nice touch – a bowl and treat presented for our very own furry ringleader.
Overall, a very well presented – and spacious – room for guests and their smaller family members to spend time, and rest.
Into the bathroom, and there were the usual features – all spotlessly clean. A shower and bathtub, with good pressure, and along with wall-mounted toiletries and all the towels you could need.
As I say, this was an odd trip borne out of need more than desire and so we ended up actually ordering room service both nights – I suppose this is something perhaps a little unusual for the Ardilaun as the menu had to be brought to us from the bistro as opposed to having a copy available in the rooms.
Having said that, the food was really fantastic. Of course, it would’ve been lovely to have made it up to the bistro and enjoyed the food along with the atmosphere of – what seemed to be quite – a busy venue, but it tasted great. I went for a pretty typical Fish & Chips the first night, followed by a burger the second.
The salmon meanwhile also looked, smelled and tasted great. Come to think of it, it was so good that no meal could be enjoyed without having to dedicate ourselves to keeping the dog quiet at the same time.
While we didn’t get a chance to check out the leisure facilities, we did take a number of walks around the property – out the back, especially, benefits from a very private and peaceful garden. Of course it’s always difficult to make something seem spectacular in the dead of winter, but I can only imagine how lovely it all looks in summer.
As I say, breakfast – when accompanied by an elderly Pomeranian – is enjoyed in the reception area. If I’m honest, service the first day was really spectacular; our server couldn’t have been more pro-active and helpful, bringing us the menu and constantly coming back to check if we enjoyed our meals, could he do any more, etc. A real asset!
The second day, the staff seemed very overwhelmed (it was a Saturday, insofar as that makes a difference) and the buffet itself seemed to be struggling to keep up. Our server did apologise, explaining it was very busy and she had forgotten to bring our tea/coffee – but for example, the menu was never offered (if we hadn’t already known to ask for it). A very minor thing, but as always, consistency feels so important.
In terms of feedback, I came up largely short – if we needed to stay in Galway with our pup again, I know we’d pick The Ardilaun again in a heartbeat. I did contact them afterwards to let them know of two other issues – there is apparently a room service charge of 6 Euro imposed on ‘low cost’ orders, but it isn’t actually written anywhere nor were we advised of it when we ordered a dessert. Again, consistency – nobody wants to be surprised at check-out, and for me personally, billing issues at check-out always leave a bit of a sour taste, especially over something like 6 Euro.
As I say though, I know we’d be back if the need arose again – and if travelling to Galway, this is a great place for you and your pup to treat yourselves!