This beautiful hotel dates back to the 16th century, and is situated on its own 310 acre wooded island (complete with 18-hole golf course), reached by a private ferry.
The hotel combines the elegance of earlier times with modern comfort, service and convenience - and the location is uniquely serene; its quietness (and the golf facility for off-duty relaxation) makes the castle a good venue for small conferences and business meetings, but it is also a highly romantic location and perfect for small weddings.
All guest rooms have been refurbished recently and, although they inevitably vary in size and outlook (and may have some of the little quirks that are typical of old buildings), all are very comfortably furnished in a luxurious country house style, and discreet, well-trained staff look after guests magnificently.
And you may be sure of an excellent breakfast, offering a well presented buffet with fresh juices and prepared fruit, yoghurts, muffins, smoked salmon, local cheeses, Waterford Blas (the local bread rolls), and cooked offerings of Flavahans porridge, excellent dry cured bacon and sausages in a full breakfast, or other hot dishes including omelettes and scrambled eggs & smoked wild Irish salmon and breakfast service is excellent too.
*Waterford Castle was the winner of our Irish Breakfast Awards in 2008: Best Hotel Breakfast category, and also the National Winner.
Conference/banqueting (30/120). Golf, archery, clay pigeon shooting, fishing, tennis, walking, gardens. Pool table. Children welcome (under 4 free in parents' room; cots available; bay sitting arranged).
Rooms 19 (5 suites, 3 junior suites, 2 family, 4 ground floor, all no smoking). Lift. 24 hr room service. Turndown service. Room rate from about €195. Open all year.
It is always a very special event to go across on the little car ferry to this island hotel, where the peaceful grounds and the Victorian Gothic Pile which is the Castle work as an aperitif for Michael Quinn’s beautiful natural food.
The staff are friendly and welcoming, even the pianist raises a hand of welcome in the handsome and atmospheric dining room with its richly panelled interior. Appointed to the highest standard, it makes a magnificent setting for outstanding food which displays in every course Michael’s Euro Toques and Slow Food background, is intelligently sourced and spankingly fresh and local.
A set dinner menu offers outstanding value for the quality of the experience, and is also considerately priced by course, allowing for a semi à la carte selection; it is not long, with just half a dozen choices on each course, but each concisely worded dish tells the story of its origins: O’Flynnn’s beef tongue and cheek salad; seared Kilmore Quay scallops; tian of Mrs Bates crab; Paul Crottty’ organic chicken breast; local cheeses, including Knockalara Sheep’s and Crozier Blue.
Dishes especially admired on a recent visit included a starter of scallops, seared to a caramel crisp on the outside and meltingly soft in the centre, the garnishes (hot tomato salsa, orange segments, avocado purée hazelnut oil) a delicious, unobtrusive foil to their sweetness; a little chef’s treat was an Irish twist on the French rillette: shredded beef tongue and cheek, but held together only by its natural gelatine rather than by fat; with a nice bite of horseradish and salsa verde on the side, it was a beautiful local success.
A main course of turbot with asparagus was simplicity itself, the asparagus allowing the turbot, sea fresh and cooked à point , to shine through.
But it was the Chocolate Plate, however, that stole the show, so do not miss this treat. (“It even surpassed a chocolate plate eaten in Arzac’s 3 Star establishment in San Sebastian” Wow.)
Good coffees and petits fours round off a meal here and, with warmly professional service and a good wine list to match the superb food, the experience is sure to be memorable.