This famous hotel has an attractive exterior, with its name emblazoned in blue and white stained glass above the entrance and flags hanging from poles, giving it a cosmopolitan look. Under the current ownership since 2004, proprietor Ciaran Fitzgerald continues to do everything possible to restore and build on its once great reputation.
Due to the nature of the building, public areas are quite compact, but a major refurbishment programme has seen a complete redesign of the bar, which now has a much more open contemporary feeling, and the lower deck of the restaurant, to create a cocktail lounge incorporating a residents’ lounge where afternoon tea can be served during the day.
All the bedrooms have double glazing to offset the street noise that is inevitable in a central location and, although not large, both the rooms and their neat bathrooms make up in thoughtful planning anything they lack in spaciousness - and there is extra accommodation available a few doors away at The Old Bank House (see entry), which is in common ownership.
*The Blue Haven Food Company offers a range of quality products, which are stylishly presented and available on site and online - along with a small collection of clothing and accessories.
Conferences/Banqueting (80); free broadband wi/f, secretarial services. Children welcome (unders 8s free in parents' room, cots available, baby sitting arranged). Room service (limited hours). No pets. Street parking. Rooms 17 (4 shower only, 3 single, 17 no smoking). B&B €100, ss €40.
The Blue Haven Restaurant aims to offer more than the usual hotel dining room and a meal here can be very enjoyable; at its best it can hold its own in a town renowned for its exceptional choice of eating places.
Like the rest of the public areas, the restaurant has had a makeover - and the cocktail lounge on the lower deck, plus the atmospheric new décor, creates a more glamorous atmosphere.
A lobster tank at the entrance to the restaurant sets the tone for menus that have an emphasis on local fish and seafood, balanced by steak, chicken and vegetarian dishes - and there is a separate children’s menu too.
In the Guide's experience, the cooking can be uneven, but care is taken with presentation - and an extensive wine list and good service contribute to a pleasant evening. Guests also enjoy the atmosphere of the adjoining bar, where an appealing menu is offered and there is live music at certain times.
* Just around the corner at The Glen, the lively café-bar Hamlets of Kinsale (021 477 2939) is in common ownership with The Blue Haven.