Home from home for the mid-term break — Parknasilla
By Naoise Coogan
The Ring of Kerry is renowned for its exquisite beauty and dramatic scenery, however it could also be considered a hostile landscape and not all that accessible to wandering tourists.
Therefore there is no better way to explore the difficult terrain of the ring of Kerry than from the luxury base of Parknasilla Resort and Spa.
Located about 45 minutes from Killarney, just a couple of miles from the village of Sneem, Parknasilla is a home away from home for your family break, offering five star luxury in contemporary and cosy surrounds.
Boasting 83 bedrooms and suites, 24 luxurious two bedroom self catering lodges, and 38 three bedroom self catering villas just off the main building, the accommodation is perfectly suited for a family holiday in Ireland.
Parknasilla offers a wide selection of activities to keep the whole family entertained, including a 12-hole golf course.
The spa and leisure centre has been recently developed and now has 13 treatment rooms, a thermal suite, and relaxation areas overlooking Kenmare Bay. There is a stunning heated swimming pool with wall to ceiling glass walls also overlooking Kenmare Bay.
We took a trip to this hidden gem with our three-and-a-half-year-old and were welcomed by extremely friendly and professional staff by the fireside in the foyer.
Our room was spacious and catered well for the three of us. There were lots of luxurious extras such as bathrobes and slippers, Elemis products in the bathroom, tea and coffee making facilities, plasma screen TVs, and our room had breathtaking views of the surrounding parkland of the resort, which directly overlooks the bay.
The pizza restaurant catered well for children with a kids’ menu and a pizza menu for adults. We chose to eat here on our first night and relaxed in the informal lounge areas afterwards with a drink.
The following morning, after a great night’s sleep, we had breakfast looking out over the bay and grounds of the resort in the big bay window of the dining room. If the weather had been right (and it rarely is in Kerry!) we could have eaten out on the terrace in the open air. Anything is possible for breakfast — the ethos is ‘ask and you shall receive’ in Parknasilla, and even our fussy three-year-old was satisfied.
After lounging with the newspapers for a while, we took a walk around the many winding paths that lead onto the sea front and stoney beaches that lap up onto the resort front. Each little cove is linked by a wooden footbridge that was of immense interest to our little one. There are lots of little secret gardens and walkways that end all of a sudden but you are never too far from the comfort of the resort.
After a light lunch in the bar, we took to the pool and spa where I had a luxurious facial treatment and promptly fell asleep in the serene relaxation room.
My husband enjoyed the outdoor hot tubs before the ever-present stunning views and the thermal suites which include sauna, steamroom, foot spas, and relaxation area. Our daughter swam in the pool which was a perfect temperature for our cold climate.
That evening we treated ourselves to a babysitter and took to Pygmalion restaurant for our evening meal. The service, to begin with, was exemplary, but the food was even better. With lamb, duck, mackerel, and scallops on the entree menu, we did not know where to begin.
The main courses include several types of fish including turbot, halibut, and monkfish along with beef, lamb, duck, and risotto.
We had a lovely bottle of white wine and some fruity desserts to top off our meal.
Speaking afterwards with the head chef Peter Brennan, we learned that he was a Kilkenny man. He is a long way from home but still manages to get back every few weeks to see his family in the city and to catch some of the hurling matches throughout the summer.
Peter Brennan has racked up his experience over the years, having worked in Mount Juliet prior to taking up his position in Parknasilla some three years ago. He demands the best and he gets it from his team of chefs in the kitchen.
All in all we had a wonderful experience at Parknasilla. The hotel promotes relaxation and luxury in one perfect package. The lodges located on the grounds are perfect for families if self catering is what you like. Sneem village has all you will need to stock the fridge.
We will return some fine day, and for those looking for a mid-term break as a couple or as a family you will not find much nicer than Parknasilla. This October mid-term, a five-night treat is available from €999 for a family of four at a family lodge in the Halloween-themed Parknasilla. Your little horrors will be met with special Halloween treat bags on arrival before they can go off and have a scream watching scary movies and pumpkin carving — meaning that you still get to spend some quality time with your significant other.
Check out the website on www.parknasillahotel.ie for more details.