The long, curving driveway to this new hotel takes you through open meadows surrounded by mature trees, all part of the 530-acre Balyna Estate and a great mental divider, as you leave behind the busy road (and life) and look forward to the relaxation ahead.
Although you pass the luxurious 10-bedroom Victorian manor Balyna House first, (available for exclusive use), the hotel is uncompromisingly modern. It looks a little stark (with new apartments directly opposite the front door, which seems a strange decision with so much space available), but it is quite a low building and not unattractive so it should soften with landscaping in due course - the gardens around the back of the hotel are interesting, which bodes well.
Staff are very friendly and relaxed, setting a welcoming tone from the moment you arrive, and an impressively spacious, comfortably furnished reception area is hung with large atmospheric artwork and has access to the Waterways Restaurant Up a fine staircase, the stylish first floor Sundial Bar, offers a casual menu; with large windows overlooking the golf course and plenty of comfortable seating, it’s a very pleasant place to relax and enjoy a bite.
Accommodation is mainly in the new hotel, in comfortable understated rooms with easy-on-the-eye coffee and cream décor, clean, simple bathrooms and, perhaps, access to a patio; however, in addition to the ten period rooms in Balyna House (house parties/ events only), there is some very appealing accommodation in 2- and 3-bedroom units behind the hotel, in converted outbuildings. These little gems are like tiny townhouses and can be used as hotel rooms or for self catering - and only just across a sweetly landscaped courtyard from the hotel.
With its lovely location so near to Dublin, this promises to be a great short break destination and a leisure centre is due to open shortly after the Guide goes to press.
Conferences/Banqueting (250/180); free broadband wi/fi; laptop-sized safes in bedrooms; golf (18), archery, clay pigeon shooting, croquet, cycling, fly fishing, garden, walking. Equestrian nearby. Children welcome (under 12s free in parents' room, cot available, baby sitting arranged).
Rooms 64 (2 suites, 6 shower only, 21 ground floor, 2 disabled, all no smoking); Lift, 24hr room service; B&B €72.50 pps, ss €35. Closed 25 Dec. Heli-pad.
This pleasing ground floor restaurant is set up in an attractive contemporary style and it opens on to the pretty courtyard, where Caribbean barbecues are held on Friday nights in July & August.
With crisp white linen and comfortable high back chairs, good lighting and gentle music it has apleasant atmosphere and quite extensive à la carte menus offer upbeat versions of many favourites - the house speciality is surf’n’turf and there is a choice of four other steaks, served with hand-cut chips, home-made onion rings, mushrooms and bake stuffed tomatoes; other choices are well balanced between fish, meats and poultry, with at least one vegetarian dish included.
Sunday lunch is very popular, and an early dinner menu is especially good value. Service is friendly and willing. A wide-ranging wine list offers several half bottles and some quarter bottles.