Conveniently located right in the centre of Kilkenny (and with secure free parking for residents) this boutique hotel is named after the Earl of Pembroke, for whom Kilkenny Castle was built, and is just a stone’s throw from the Castle and other Kilkenny landmarks including Butler House and Gardens and the National Craft Gallery.
The tone of this contemporary and well designed hotel is set at the smart entrance, with potted plants outside and a large window giving onto the street – and, as a patron of the Butler Gallery, the Pembroke is used to showcase a selection from their permanent collection.
It would make an equally good base for business or pleasure and the very pleasant bar area is a popular place for reading newspapers or meeting for coffee in the morning and the (there is complimentary wireless Internet access throughout the hotel).
The spacious modern bedrooms have well finished en suite bathrooms and are very comfortable, with king size beds and air-conditioning, flat screen TV and all the usual amenities (iron & ironing board, trouser press, tea/coffee making facilities, hairdryer).
There’s ample workspace for business guests in all rooms, while superior rooms also have some little extras such as bottled water, robes and slippers.
Stathams Bar & Grill
Entering from the hotel lobby or from the street, you find a very pleasant wood panelled room with the bar at the rear, and a wine rack and shelves stacked with wines and artisan foods (chutneys, jams, sauces) and food magazines.
There’s a lovely blown up aerial photograph of Kilkenny on the wall and, with large windows that open back, the room is airy and full of natural light. Large polished tables laid with good cutlery and glassware, bode well and so does Head Chef Neil McAvoy’s prominent mention of food suppliers on menus.
Neil, a Kilkenny native and former winner of the Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year award, took over the kitchen in spring 2011, having established his reputation as Head Chef at Kevin Dundon’s Dunbrody Country House in Co Wexford.
A skilful and dedicated chef, he is known for his commitment to sourcing the best local produce – something is no shortage of in the South-East, and particularly Kilkenny – and preparing it with care.
A la carte dinner menus offer a well balanced choice of about five starters, seven main courses, four chefs specials and six desserts and – although you may expect popular ingredients, notably the beef for which Kilkenny is famous, to star – fresh fish and seafood from Kilmore Quay feature strongly too and you can be sure of interesting, tasty dishes that are beautifully presented but not too fussy.
Service is friendly and willing and an excellent drinks list complements the menu well – with about 15 well chosen wines by the glass and 44 wines listed (plus sherry and brandy, and a large range of cocktail, and spirits), there is plenty to choose from.
A wide ranging lunch menu is also offered, plus light food for morning coffee or afternoon tea.