Situated in its own grounds, a short stroll from the town centre, the Treacy family’s luxurious, well-run hotel is deceptively modern - despite its classical good looks, it only dates from the 1990s.
However, it has already undergone more than one transformation - indeed, constant improvement is so much a theme here that it can be hard to keep up with developments as they occur. The exceptionally welcoming atmosphere strikes you from the moment the doorman first greets you, as you pass through to a series of stylish seating areas, with open fires and invitingly grouped sofas and armchairs; the same sense of comfort characterises the Garden Bar and also the quiet Library.
Elegant public areas are punctuated by a sweeping staircase leading to bedrooms luxuriously furnished in two very different styles. Spacious traditional suites have a private entrance hall and an elegant sitting area with a fireplace, creating a real home from home feeling; all the older rooms are also furnished in a similar warm country house style.
However, the junior suites offer a dramatically contemporary style - thoughtfully and individually designed with a real wow-factor, they have air conditioning, well-planned bathrooms and the many small details that make a hotel room really comfortable.
Housekeeping is impeccable and the staff are committed to looking after guests with warmth and discretion.
Amenities include not only a health & fitness club with 20m swimming pool, but also one of Ireland’s most highly regarded health spas, offering eight treatment rooms, outdoor hot tub, plunge pool and jacuzzi; the menu of treatments offered is seriously seductive and it may well happen that some guests never feel the need to leave the hotel at all during their stay. [Park Hotel Killarney was our Hotel of the Year in 2002.]
Conference/banqueting (150/150); free broadband wi/fi; secretarial services, video conferencing. Spa. Leisure centre (swimming pool, sauna, plunge pool, jacuzzi, gym). Library; billiard room. Garden, walking, cycling. Children welcome (under 2s free in parents room; cots available without charge, playground, crèche, baby sitting arranged). No Pets.
Rooms 72 (3 suites, 30 junior suites, 4 family rooms, 1 for disabled, all no-smoking). B&B €175 pps (€125 low season), ss €175; no sc. Lift. 24 hour room service. Turndown service. Air conditioning, safe, ironing facilities; in-room tea/coffee making available on request. Closed 24-27 Dec.
The Park Restaurant:
This large and opulent room has the essential elements of grandeur - the ornate ceiling, glittering chandeliers, white clothed tables and gleaming silver - but has been lightened by a contemporary tone in the furnishings. Odran Lucey, who has been head chef since 1999, has earned a reputation for this restaurant as a dining destination in its own right, making it a great asset to this fine hotel.
His menus are appealing and, although not overlong, they offer plenty of choice and are well designed - individually priced dishes allow guests to have a five course dinner (as part of a package), or make à la carte choices. The underlying style is classical but this is creative food, cooked with panache.
A typical main course of pan-fried fillet of Irish beef, wild mushroom pithivier, red onion marmalade and sauce béarnaise demonstrates skilful blending of traditional partnerships and innovative thinking, and good judgement comes into play when it comes to a real classic - Dover sole - which is cooked classically, ‘meunière’.
Although the style is broadly international, it’s very much food with an Irish flavour - seen in named ingredients like Ted Browne's Dingle Bay crabmeat, Skeahghanore duck from nearby in West Cork, Kerry lamb (and some meat suppliers, such as Cronin's Irish beef) name-checked on the menu and, since the recent development of the gardens shared with The Malton hotel next door, seasonal home grown produce is an important part of the mix.
Courteous, knowledgeable service and the presence of a pianist, who plays throughout dinner, add to the sense of occasion.
A wide-ranging wine list includes many of the classics, and not only a fair choice of half bottles and half a dozen by the glass, but also a trio of wines by the glass at a fixed price (prosecco, red or white and Monbazillac; €22 for three). An interesting feature of the restaurant is an open wine cellar, which guests are free to browse.
*Odran Lucey is also responsible for the excellent bistro-style food served in The Garden Bar where - as elsewhere in the hotel - children are made very welcome; also a special Afternoon Tea (with or without a glass of champagne), in the Drawing Room.