My head bobbed up and down in the water – it had been a while since I’d had a good swim! Behind me Mam floated along, her hair expertly tucked into her swimming hat. We had both agreed with each other that we would do five lengths and then treat ourselves to the Jacuzzi. This was the life!
The Westgrove Hotel & Conference Centre is located in the small village of Clane, Co. Kildare. With 96 rooms, it’s accessible to most of the county’s famous amenities including Punchestown, Mondello, Kildare Shopping Village Outlet Centre and the Curragh (we were actually amazed how close to Dublin we were too!).
Aiming to provide a “perfect haven” for leisure and business travellers, we were lucky enough to be offered a complimentary stay in one of their executive apartments, which also included dinner and breakfast.
Normally we don’t mind sharing a twin room, so it was a nice bonus to be able to stay in an executive apartment. Swit swoo!
The building itself is huge (and oddly enough, connected to a Supervalu), and we made our way there on a weirdly windy, but mild sort of day.
Check-in at the Westgrove is at 3pm, and we arrived right on the money with the goal in mind to dump our bags and then head to the pool.
Located on the second floor, we couldn’t get over the space we had in our room. What we particularly loved about the apartment itself was that even though it wasn’t ultra-modern décor-wise, it was still very comfy and functional, and of course came with solid Wi-Fi!
The two rooms also meant that Mam and I could get away from each other if we were getting on each other’s nerves (a rare occurrence, but a possibility none-the-less).
This is exactly what we needed as a mother-daughter duo and as travel bloggers.
Both Mam and I are pool addicts and by that, I mean we absolutely love water, so we were delighted that the pool was open until 8pm on a Sunday! For obvious reasons we didn’t take photos at the pool, but we could easily do our lengths and bob around without having kids splash in our faces.
After our swim, it was time to head to dinner in the hotel’s Italian restaurant Assaggio. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, their goal is to provide diners with good food in a casual setting. Each dish in the restaurant is designed by Executive Chef John Carolan and his team. Their Early Bird Menu is €20, available Sunday – Thursday from 5-7pm. Here’s what we had:
While all the dishes tasted very good, the star dish for us wasn’t in fact the main dishes, but the accompanying creamed spinach that really enhanced our risotto and spaghetti.
It was deliciously divine with a creamy texture and lifted the meal so that the mains weren’t as heavy. It sounds weird recommending spinach but it was really good!
For dessert, my eyes were too big for my stomach so I had to get a doggy bag of the cheeseboard to bring back to our room but Mam thoroughly enjoyed her tiramisu. It was a very successful and delicious meal, and the staff were a delight (we never got around to actually asking why there was an Italian theme though!)
Worth mentioning, that on the way back to our room we came across the hotel’s mini-library which had a system where when you take a book, there’s an honesty box to donate €2 to the Jack and Jill Foundation. With a background to the foundation displayed for the guests, it was a lovely addition to the hotel but was slightly hidden where it was placed (the area is quite dark).
After spending a bit more time wandering around the hotel, we both agreed that this is an ideal spot for large weddings, as there’s so much space for guests and they wouldn’t be falling over each other for room. Each floor has so many places to sprawl out and lounge in, and there’s a lovely terrace too, for those who need some air.
Settling down for the night in our robes and our glasses of wine, it was just wonderful to be able to really kick back and relax and do nothing.
The beds were comfy, but not too soft, and offered ample space to spread ourselves across and ease into sleep.
The next day we got up early, as we planned to head to the Irish National Stud, and met up with Catherine, the Sales and Marketing Manager. She was very receptive to our feedback, and we were very grateful for her openness.
So here’s the nitty gritty:
We thought the apartment was great and huge, but we would’ve loved if there had been plugs available for both beds. The plug in the sitting room was on the desk far from the bed, which meant you couldn’t charge things near you.
In the sitting room bedroom, while there is a light over the bed, there’s no switch nearby so it was a bit confusing for Mam during the night as she had to feel her way along the wall before she got to a light switch. Something that’s particularly unsettling when you’re not used to a room!
The food in the Italian restaurant was overall great but the breakfast was very average for us. It was a buffet style for the cold offerings and then there was a chef serving up hot food. I was in the mood for a poached egg but he said that it would take 10 mins and for me to come back, so I changed my mind and got scrambled like Mam. Unfortunately, we didn’t enjoy the eggs at all, they were very synthetic tasting and quite salty, which is a shame because we had such a great meal in the restaurant the previous evening. Here’s hoping they take our feedback on board! That being said, the staff were really friendly, so it was quite easy to forgive the minor slips.
- Décor: The hotel itself has a cool feeling to it, there’s a gorgeous staircase in the centre of the reception area that is perfect for wedding photos. It’s overall a bit dark with rich browns and purples, but has brighter colours in the rooms with yellows, and the restaurant boasts a flurry of reds. The executive apartment definitely could have done with a bit more personality in terms of decoration as it feels purely functional.
- Facilities: There’s a gym, spa, swimming pool, library, bar, restaurant and conference centre. The swimming pool was great with clean locker rooms, changing rooms and showers. There’s a Jacuzzi, steam room, kiddies pool too but no sauna sadly.
- Room: Spacious, clean, functional with pretty soundproof windows. You can hear what’s going on in the corridor, though, and there were a few kids who enjoyed running up and down. Probably not a regular occurrence ,though.
- Staff: Very friendly and professional, genuinely seemed interested in you as a guest and wanted to help.
- Food: Apart from breakfast, overall very good. Which surprised us to be honest because we find that sometimes hotel restaurants prefer to serve generic food without too much care. We liked the variety on the menu for dinner and there were a few things that we could’ve chosen. If we were coming back, we probably wouldn’t order fish because the hotel wasn’t by the sea.
So would we come back? We would but with a group instead. There’s so much room in the hotel that it could be great fun to book a few apartments and head out to explore the area, or even have a spa weekend.
What the Westgrove Hotel can definitely take pride in is in their staff. They’re really on the ball when it comes to customer service and make you feel right at home. We had a great time.
Prices for the executive apartment range from €105 to as much as €165 depending on the season and the availability. For more information, you can check out their website here. You can connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat.
Our stay at the Westgrove Hotel was complimentary and we also received a free dinner, and breakfast as well as a welcome pack that included chocolates. No money exchanged hands. Many thanks to Catherine for organising our stay. In this review, we have shared information that has already been fed back to the hotel.