Situated on the Dublin Road a stone’s throw from the Bon Secours Hospital, the Connacht Hotel plays host to a vast number of visitors to Galway each year. Set back from this busy street and nestled in a leafy suburb, it has the advantage of being just minutes from the centre of the city.
This is a well established hotel, it first opened its doors in 1969 as The Galway Ryan. It was considerably smaller then with 96 bedrooms, a restaurant, and a bar, it had become well known as a family getaway destination with generations returning time and time again. The addition of a swimming pool cemented its family friendly reputation. In 2004 the hotel was extended further with more than 200 extra bedrooms and apartments added. In more recent years the addition of a large aerobics studio, fitness area, and holistic treatment centre extended the market further. Last rebranded in March 2013 as the Connacht Hotel Galway, it remains under the same owner/management. Its popularity now extends right across the corporate, leisure, bus tour, and hen and stag party markets.
The hotel has varied onsite dining options. There is relaxed elegance in Rueben's Restaurant. Bar Solo has both warm cosy alcoves for that intimate chat and more lively open spaces and a courtyard. Whether you are looking for lunch for the children after a splash around in the toddler pool, a light bite with only your laptop for company, or are in need of ballast before an epic night on the tiles you will most likely find what you are looking for at The Connacht.
Full table service and ample choice make it a popular lunchtime meeting place for those working locally and with locals from the many surrounding estates. In the bar, smartly dressed staff preside over the spacious room and the new, improved, summer lunch menu represents choice and value. It is broken down into starters, salads, and sandwiches, with more substantial main courses, served from 12.30pm to 3pm daily and there is a bar with a nice wine list, good cocktails, and the usual hot beverage options.
The sandwich section caters to a full range of appetites, from a 6oz steak sandwich on ciabatta with mango relish, salad, and fries at €12.95, to a more unusual open sandwich of smoked hake and prawns with piri piri dressing at €8.75. The salads wander happily across continents for inspiration. Shredded duck and noodle, chickpea and harissa, or squid and couscous, all salads are available in starters or mains sizes.
Mains are anchored in crowd pleasing gastropub favourites such as pizza, burgers, bangers and mash, and fish and chips. The very best thing on the menu is hidden in the short starter section, the buffalo-glazed wings. A radioactive, glowing orange, plated on pretty blue distinctive delph, these packed quite the punch. Sweet and spicy, crunchy and soft, quite possibly the best hot wings ever — wing aficionados form an orderly queue, you must try these. The menu of desserts is short and sweet, a cheesecake, gateaux, or roulade are priced at €5.20 apiece. There is also a selection of scones, muffins, and other baked goods.
The 360 room hotel is at near or maximum capacity all through the year. A hotel of this size and reputation is likely to have an army of 900 souls under the extensive roof on any given night. This is a powerhouse of a hotel kitchen which continues to please with the competent, uncomplicated, cooking of its varied, well priced, lunch menu. The team have recognised that an emphasis placed firmly on customer service, choice, and value will ensure their popularity. The staff are personable and efficient and make Bar Solo a very welcoming retreat. Whether staying for business, pleasure, or holidaying with the family, the Connacht Hotel ticks a lot of boxes.
The Connacht Hotel, Dublin Road, Renmore, Galway. Tel: (091 ) 381 200. Web: www.theconnacht.ie