One of the country’s oldest hotels, this much-loved quayside establishment in the centre of Waterford has many historical connections - with Bianconi, for example, who established Ireland’s earliest transport system, and also Charles Stuart Parnell, who made many a rousing speech here.
Since 1979, it’s been owner-run by the Cusack family, who have restored the old building to its former glory and take great pride in its constant renewal. It has that indefinable ambience of the well-run privately owned hotel, the sense of being cosseted in an old fashioned way unlike the slick informality of modern “concept” establishments – and the charming, polite, helpful and well trained staff, many of whom are local, inspire regular praise.
It’s a large hotel, bigger than it looks perhaps, with fine public areas including a spacious bar/lounge where both residents and locals congregate, and very comfortable and well-appointed bedrooms, all with well-designed bathrooms (with both bath and shower), bottled water and very good quality biscuits with the tea/coffee tray.
An excellent breakfast will include Flahavans porridge (the nation’s favourite, produced locally), served with honey and whiskey or Baileys if you like, and lovely home made toasted brown soda bread and home made preserves with your cooked breakfast.
Whether for business or pleasure this is a lovely place to stay and it makes very comfortable and friendly base for touring the area - how many hotels today would inspire comments like this: “I loved the Granville; having tea and a sandwich in the afternoon I was asked by a caring local bar lady: ‘more tea dear?’”
And, aside from being very conveniently situated for exploring this interesting city on foot, the many activities available locally include boating, fishing, golf, walking and horse riding. The off-season value breaks are very attractive.
A lovely period room, set up classically with pristine white linen, makes the perfect setting for diners to enjoy some excellent cooking by longstanding Executive Head Chef Stephen Hooper and his team – and his attractively presented menus offer plenty of choice and very good value, making it popular with local residents as well as hotel guests, so reservations are essential.
Although peppered with some modern fusion dishes, the overall style is proudly traditional. Ingredients are locally sourced (herbs, for example, come a very short distance indeed - from the hotel's rooftop garden) and include some specialities – so, for example, you’ll find the unique ‘Waterford Blaa’ bread roll offered alongside the home baked brown soda bread, and a Waterford black pudding and apple salad features regularly among the starters.
Quality meats, poultry and seafood are all abundant in the area and this is reflected in simple cooking that showcases the ingredients – a special of monkfish scampi, for example, may be the star dish of the evening. The perfectly cooked crisp fried chunks of wonderful monkfish tail are served with chive and white wine sauce as a dip: so simple, so delicious.
A well compiled wine list with tasting notes matches the menu well and also offers good value. But, as elsewhere in the hotel, it is the service that really makes a visit here memorable. As one guest put it recently “Mature Irish staff with young local staff were what Irish hospitality used to be all about - chatty yet not intrusive, charming and full of local recommendations for us to do.” Delightful.