Creating happy memories for their guests.
Whenever the subject of a good hotel for a family stay comes up in a conversation invariably Kelly’s Hotel in Rosslare is mentioned. That’s because Kelly’s Hotel is not just a good a hotel – it is a great hotel. It has entertained guests since they opened their doors in 1895. Bill Kelly now wears the mantle of his father, Billy, and grandfather before him; with Bill’s own children now involved. The Kelly’s are professional hoteliers and this is patently obvious. They know the hospitality sector; they know their clientele and most importantly they know how to deliver. This is a hotel that attracts guests from 0 to 100 years of age. I can say this with some authority as my own mother stayed there when she had reached the magic age of 102 and loved it. The real magic is that everybody is happy whether they are singles, doubles or families or whatever their age.
So let’s take a close look at what Kelly’s are offering to make it one of the most iconic hotels in Ireland. Its location is unbeatable, adjacent (and I mean right beside) a beautiful beach near Rosslare in Wexford; an area known as the ‘sunny south east’. I have to be honest and say that during my recent stay there was nothing sunny or warm about the weather. This was going to be a tough test and one that would put Kelly’s Hotel through the hoops as it was busy busy busy…. (even though it was a Tuesday in early April). How would they cope with so many guests needing indoor activities? The answer is with aplomb and with no sense of panic or lack of things to do. Our family spanned the three generations with me as the older generation; the daughter and her two children. We needed something for everybody and this was achieved in spades.
Bedroom: We were allocated a family room which consisted of a double bed and little alcove with two proper size single beds for the two little ones. The bedroom was well equipped and the bathroom, whilst slightly old fashioned, was spotlessly clean with excellent fluffy towels.
Dining: We arrived in time for lunch which was a casual affair with most guests dining in the lovely bright and airy Ivy Room located with a close up view of the sand dunes and nearby stormy waves. The Ivy Room has a central stage area with dance floor and surrounded by a combination of sofas and coffee tables and regular tables, so handy for those who just want a snack and still catering for those that need a proper table. It also has a very trendy bar. A nearby spiral staircase leads to a smaller area – almost a crow’s nest with tremendous views. Despite being busy the whole area was very spacious and I could sense that everybody felt that they got the type of seating where they wanted it. The Ivy Room is also where afternoon teas are served. The buffet layout for both lunch and afternoon tea was marvellous with no queues and an extensive selection of food. The grandchildren also dined there at 6pm which meant that the Beaches Dining room was effectively reserved for adults, which is a blessing, considering so many family groups go to Kellys. There is also the option of the more informal La Marine Bistro. We dined in The Beaches that evening. It was full, except for three empty tables and I noted that these were just beside the service area so I could see that a lot of thought had been put into filling the best tables first. For starters I enjoyed some excellent plump Glenbeigh Mussels with a tomato and herb sauce. For mains I opted for the Roast Pheasant with crispy Bacon which was cooked to perfection; i.e. moist with lots of flavour. The wine list is very extensive with a strong emphasis on French wines. It didn’t take much persuasion for me to have dessert which was an Apple Crumble Pot with Vanilla Ice Cream – the pot with lots of apple and smooth tasty vanilla ice cream.
The activities we enjoyed bearing in mind that we were under the influence of the 6 and 8 year old’s preferences were swimming (twice) and the crazy golf. The swimming pool is a really good size; it comprises two pools; the smaller one being set at 30ᴼC for smaller children; and where many parents were enjoying the safety of bringing baby for its first swim. The other larger pool was a little cooler and excellent for those wishing to swim as a form of exercise as well as fun. I was delighted to see that strict rules were in operation, including the wearing of hats. With so many enjoying this activity it is vital to feel that the hygiene is of the highest standard. Then there was the crazy golf and it was a 7 out of 10 on a crazy scale as there was a gale blowing and the odd blast of rain accompanying it. However, the 6 year old was happy out and has great hand/eye co-ordination. I was just happy to still have my hair intact on my head! The tennis courts were obviously empty as was the pirate ship play area; but I could see that on a fine day they would be thronged and generating fabulous memories for the little ones.
I think I found a few of the keys to Kelly’s success during my visit. The main key is generating great memories, particularly for their younger clients. They grow up and bring their own children to Kelly’s Hotel; thus the baton is passed on. Another key is the high standard of accommodation, cuisine and public areas. There are so many nooks and crannies where you chill out with a book and not be one bit bothered by the hive of activity in another area. One of my favourite places is the Gallery adjacent to the Reception where the furnishings are so inviting; comfy sofas in striped bright green and white balanced against occasional tables dressed with fuschia coloured orchids. Of course one cannot forget all the art adorning the walls throughout the building. It is well worth buying their book ‘For the Love of Art – The Kelly Collection’. Their art works collected over decades is worthy of any art museum/gallery with works by outstanding artists such as Maurice McGonigal, Mainie Jellet, Mary Swanzy and Norah Guinness.
We are Kelly aficionados as, in the case of my family, we have had four generations stay there and no doubt this tradition will continue for the future.