This family-owned and managed hotel is in a lovely quiet location, convenient to Killarney town, yet - thanks to a long tree-lined avenue and parkland which stretches down to the water - it has a charmingly other-worldly atmosphere.
The original house was built by the Herbert family, Earls of Pembroke, in the 17th century, and accommodation is divided between fine old rooms (including some suites and junior suites) in the main house, and more contemporary rooms in a modern extension; an atrium joining the two sections makes a pleasant conservatory seating area (complete with grape vine), opening onto the lakeside grounds.
This Killarney hotels got many attractive features, not least its generous period sitting rooms and open fires, and a characterful cellar bar (unfortunately spoilt a little by modernisation - bright downlighting, poor acoustics) with a real old-fashioned wine cellar.
Banqueting (80). Free Broadband wi/fi. Children welcome (under 3s free in parents' room, cot available without charge, baby sitting arranged.) No pets. Garden, walking, fishing, tennis. Golf nearby.
Rooms 38 (28 with separate bath & shower, 15 no smoking). B&B from €80 pps.
The Herbert Room Restaurant:
The classically elegant restaurant is situated on the lake side of the house and the setting is perfect for fine dining. It is an old fashioned dining room in the best sense of old fashioned, with a solid feel to it, high ceilings and beautiful old paintings. Well appointed tables with starched table clothes and napkins complete the scene.
The Head Chef is David Norris who, although closely associated with the area, has earned a national reputation for his outstanding cooking - real food with great flavour, cooked with finesse. He offers classical table d’hôte and à la carte menus, with an emphasis on seasonal local produce, and all baking, preserves and desserts are made in-house.
Menus - which include cheese on the tabled'hote, with no extra charge - are well balanced, with a slight bias towards fish dishes, which David Norris cooks and serves beautifully and with great care. A cold starter of crab will really taste of crab, as it is not served too chilled (more unusual than one might think); a delicious main course of perfectly cooked seared salmon escalopes is served simply on diced tomato with capers, a few served whole and others chopped and blended with olive oil; fillet of turbot may be served on a bed of black olives - unusual, but it works. Non fish eaters will be equally well pleased with dishes such as breast of duck served rare on a bed of cabbage and raisins, and there is always at least one vegetarian option on each course.
Seasonal desserts might include a luscious poached pear with a homemade parfait, and details throughout are exemplary - melba toast comes with the starters for example, and the excellent breads selection includes an unusual fig bread which is really delicious. Coffee is as it should be, strong and hot.
Service is professional and timely and, although visitors may be disappointed if waiting staff don't engage in a bit of banter, a meal here is certain to be most enjoyable (even at quiet times) thanks to the excellent food, the classy ambience - and the beautiful outlook on bright summer evenings.
Prices are reasonable for the quality offered, and a good breakfast may also be expected to be a highlight of a stay here.