Life's a beach at Kelly's resort in Rosslare
One of the most popular child-friendly hotels in Ireland, Kelly's in Rosslare has plenty to make other holidaymakers feel right at home too, writes Barbara Collins
THERE are some hotels whose reputation goes before them; they are destinations in themselves. Kelly’s Resort and Spa in Rosslare, Co Wexford is one of those. It has a name for luxury and superb customer service – so much so that you think it can’t live up to the hype.
It is also known for being one of the most family-friendly hotels in Ireland – which must surely mean headaches for anyone who is staying sans offspring? No; it turns out that the hype is justified and that Kelly’s caters for everyone – even loved-up couples.
I was there recently with my husband and two children. The weather was cool and wet, so we were hoping there would be enough to amuse the little ones. Often, family holidays can turn into endless games of I-Spy and cartoon watching as the rain pelts down outside – which you can do at home any time.
We arrived mid-afternoon just in time for afternoon tea. This is laid on every day as part of the full-board package. There was a platter of mini-gateaux and scones, pots of tea and made-to-order proper coffees. What a start to a holiday.
The bedroom had a double bed and two singles for the children. They loved the sliding mini-screens to separate their sleeping area. There was also room for a table and chairs and a decent-sized bathroom with bath and shower. We had patio doors, which meant the crazy golf and Blue Flag beach were seconds' walk away.
Surely it was a master stroke to put the hotel right on Rosslare Strand. It is one of those beaches made for horse-racing, building sandcastles and strolling along. Only the very brave swim out of season, but there were a few who took a dip in the cold, clear waters before dashing out again pretty quickly.
By this stage it was time to give their children their dinner. Kelly’s lay it on at 5.30pm so they can go to Kids Club afterwards and let the adults have theirs in peace. This also means that those who don’t have children with them can enjoy their meals too.
There is the option of the Ivy Room restaurant which children can go to, but they seem to prefer the food in the bar. Ours certainly did. There was lasagne, fish, chicken goujons, mashed potatoes, chips and a variety of vegetables and salad. Fruit fought with ice-cream and ice-lollies for dessert and, this being a holiday, the ice-cream won.
The mini-disco from 6-7pm tired the little ones out while we parents could relax and watch them from a short distance.
The kids club is split into under and over-fours and runs until 9pm. This was a fantastic facility. The rooms were bright and cheery with trained staff on board. Our two were happy to let us sign them in while we went to La Marine bistro. It was fully booked and after trying the food we could see why.
We shared a crab starter and followed with Wexford lamb and a rice pudding. We were also able to have a glass of wine knowing we didn’t have to drive and that the children were safe.
If we had been on our own we could have gone to the bar, relaxed in one of the sitting rooms or waited till the band started playing and danced the night away. There was live music scheduled for the whole weekend and we didn’t hear any of it – this is not one of those places where soundproofing is an issue.
My Irish News was waiting at the door for me the next morning before breakfast in the Beaches restaurant. The children and I had smoothies and scrambled eggs with the most yummy brown bread. (There is also a breakfast buffet in the bar. The pancake machine is a particular hit.)
After breakfast we headed to the pool. There is a separate children’s pool and if yours are old enough they can go with the kids club. The big adult’s pool has a gorgeous view and plenty of comfortable loungers.
That evening, we had dinner at Beaches. It was as good as the bistro the night before but our three-year old decided she wanted to join us. They brought her in to us – she was good as gold and her brother was happy watching a movie at Kids Club.
The next morning I had booked in a facial at the spa. The thermal suite is one of the best I have seen. The pool has seawater and there is a monsoon shower and mud bath as well as the usual steam room and sauna.
We were happier still after Sunday lunch. It was buffet style and the place was full but everything ran like clockwork. They have service off to a tee here. No wonder there are so many repeat customers.
B&B & Dinner: From €132 per person, per night.
Full Board – all meals: From €142 per person, per night.
Prices include – all facilities, afternoon tea and cakes, complimentary tea and regular coffee throughout your stay
NB The La Marine Bistro is not included in the Full Board option