A few miles out of town, this famous low-rise hotel, dating from the ’60s, enjoys stunning views of the lakes and the mountains beyond and also overlooks Killarney’s two 18-hole championship golf courses.
This Killarney Hotels now one of the country’s most luxurious hotels and it is a very special place. While the exterior will probably always be a subject of debate, the interior - which includes 24 failrly recently added junior suites, a palatial glass-fronted two-bedroom penthouse suite and a luxurious spa & wellness centre - is superb.
Stylish, contemporary public areas are airy and spacious, with lots of marble, original artwork, and a relaxed, open ambience. From the foyer, arriving guests catch a glimpse of the stunning view that invite exploration - perhaps into the chic bar which links up with a terrace and the swimming pool area (lots of lounging space for sunny days), or up to the first floor open-plan Heights Lounge, where a day menu is available, and a delicious traditional Afternoon Tea is served (2-5.30pm).
Accommodation is seriously luxurious, in spacious rooms with balconies and lake views, large sitting areas, plasma screen televisions, video, DVD (library available) and a host of extras. Bathrooms are equally sumptuous, with separate shower and all the complimentary toiletries you could wish for.
The 10,000 sq ft spa is among Europe’s best and offers a Thermal Suite available to all hotel guests and a number of treatments for mind and body including the unique
Precious Stone Therapy; designed especially for the Spa it offers total relaxation of mind, body and spirit in a precious stone cabin.
At the heart of all this luxury is caring hands-on management and outstanding staff who make everyone feel at home. And you will leave on a high too, as breakfast is another especially strong point. [*Aghadoe Heights was our Hotel of the Year in 2005.]
Conference/banqueting (120/190); business centre, secretarial services, video conferencing, laptop-sized safes in bedrooms, free broadband wi/fi. Destination Spa. Leisure centre (swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, fitness room), hair salon. Garden, tennis, walking. Children welcome (Under 2s free in parents' room; cot available, €25, baby sitting arranged).
Rooms 74 (24 suites, 6 junior suites, 10 family rooms, 10 ground floor rooms, 1 disabled, all non smoking). Lift. Turn down service. 24 hour room service. B&B €145 pps, ss €70. Open all year.
The Lake Room:
The restaurant is on an upper floor, integrated into the Heights Lounge area, with distant views over the lakes and mountains; it is a bright and elegant space, with beautifully appointed tables and fresh flowers providing an appropriate setting for the dining experience expected in a hotel of this standard.The pianist from the adjacent Heights Lounge can be heard tinkling the ivories most evenings.
Cooking is in the classical tradition of the hotel but with a lighter, more contemporary tone which is more in keeping with the atmosphere today.
Seafood features strongly on the à la carte menu, with starters including favourites such as pan fried scallops and several fish dishes among the main courses. Summer examples might include fillet of halibut with roast asparagus, cherry tomato cassoulet and vanilla butter or perhaps pan fried Atlantic cod with cucumber and ginger dressing, orange poached chicory and crispy scallop.
Meat lovers will also find plenty to choose from as the abundance of local produce ensures that the menu includes dishes such as slow cooked loin of lamb with herb and garlic crust, mousse of Mediterranean vegetables and olive tapenade, and perhaps medallions of Kerry beef fillet with black truffle ravioli, fondant potato, baby vegetables and blackcurrant jus.
Desserts are impressive– a passionfruit Genoese cake with mango jelly and pineapple chiboust, or perhaps a chocolate tasting plate offering a variety of temptations such as mousse, brownie, truffle, vanilla foam and strawberry.
Service is invariably solicitous and an extensive and informative wine list includes a champagne menu, a strong range of classics, a good choice of wines by the glass and plenty of half bottles.
The Heights Lounge
An excellent classic cocktail list, a Champagne and Prosecco menu and good wines by the glass are among the the delights of the Heights Lounge. Floor to ceiling windows afford wonderful views over the McGillicuddy Reeks and with comfortable furniture and the best possible service, this is the ‘height’ of comfort. Morning and afternoon snacks, sandwiches and salads, and sharing plates are available from 11am.
Traditional and vegetarian Afternoon Tea are served in the Heights Lounge from noon every day. White gloved service, polished silverware and crisp cloths add to the indulgent atmosphere. Finger sandwiches, both open and closed, scones, muffins and desserts are accompanied by a selection of teas or coffees – or perhaps a glass of bubbly.