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Cavan Crystal Hotel – Hotel Review

Cavan Crystal Hotel – Hotel Review

Cavan Crystal Hotel
A Modern and Impressive Hotel in Cavan with excellent service and a large restaurant

 

About the Cavan Crystal Hotel

Cavan Crystal Hotel is in the heart of the stunning Lake County in the Midlands of Ireland. The Hotel is nicely situated near many different tourist attractions and is the closest four-star hotel to Cavan Town. I walked it myself a few times with no issues and is only a few minutes from the town.  You can also relax in the award-winning Zest Health & Fitness Club which features an 18-metre Swimming Pool, Steam Room, Jacuzzi, Sauna, and a fully equipped Gym – this access is complimentary when you book a stay at the hotel. You can also enjoy a wide range of delicious food from the Bar Menu or a cocktail or other libation in the Atrium Bar! 

The Cavan Cavan Crystal Hotel is only 1 hour and 10 minutes from Dublin via the M3 Motorway and also includes beautiful Gardens & Children’s Playground, Complimentary Wi-Fi, and free on-site parking for all guests.

My Visit to the Hotel

Having won a trip to the Cavan Crystal Hotel on Pigsback, I was looking forward to visiting Cavan for the first time but I was dreading such a long trip. It took over 5 hours (including a stop off for lunch) to get to the Cavan hotel. When we arrived the girl on reception, Orlaith, actually remembered speaking to me on the phone earlier (very impressed with service at the hotel in general). The hotel foyer is bright and nicely decorated in modern clean designs.

The rooms are large with bigger than standard bathrooms, fruit baskets and robes were in the room (not sure if these were standard) but overall the room was very nice. Newspapers were left outside your door the next morning and a turndown service was provided around 7 pm which was not availed of. (it was a nice touch though). Overall I’m not a fan of turndown service, it just seems a bit like “servant turn down my bed for me” and I’m sure the housekeeping staff has better things to be doing than opening people’s beds.

The Opus One restaurant has a wide selection of quality dishes, from duck and venison to seabass and vegetarian options. The starter and main courses were excellent with 2 small complementary intermediate offerings between starter and main and also main and dessert. One criticism of the restaurant, however, the menu does not change, so if you are staying here for more than one night you may run out of options. I personally think that a restaurant needs a selection of daily specials, especially for those staying at the hotel for repeated days. We only ate here once as a result.

The leisure center and gym are good, with a large pool, sauna, jacuzzi, and steam room – however, it can get crowded at times (especially if there are lots of children). However there is very little privacy from the gent’s dressing area and when the pool door opens, make sure you are not getting changed nearby otherwise … oops!

There is a Spa at the hotel but strangely this is not open on Sundays, probably the main day people will be relaxing and will avail of such a service. Note, this visit was a few years ago and perhaps a revisit might be warranted to see if things had changed.

Pros: Great service, great food, attentive staff and nice rooms, comfortable sleep.

Cons: The Evening Menu in the Restaurant does not change, the spa is not open on Sundays, Bar area can lack a bit of atmosphere.

Overall: 7.5/10

Related Links :

Cavan Crystal Hotel

Pigsback

Bellinter House Hotel & Spa – Hotel Review

Bellinter House Hotel & Spa – Hotel Review

I had some business in County Meath and having looked at all the options Bellinter House Hotel was perfect for what I needed. I prefer quieter hotels and because Bellinter House sits on the south bank of the River Boyne this was perfect as a location. This beautiful Georgian mansion was built about 1750, about 7 years before Mount Juliet where I once worked. Richard Castle designed the house for John Preston, grandfather of the first Lord Tara. This 18th-century Georgian house is located in the heart of the Boyne Valley, about 30 minutes from Dublin, and for me, it is just over 2 hours from Waterford.

I have stayed here 5 times now and every time I have had a wonderful stay. The staff are wonderful and the house is set on beautiful grounds it looks wonderful in the mornings when you are heading to breakfast.

The Rooms at Bellinter House Hotel

Bellinter House Hotel has 41 bedrooms and there are several different room types in Bellinter House each with a different style. I have stayed in the Deluxe Rooms which are located in The Ruins beside The Bathhouse Spa. The room has lovely touches like wood floorboards, vintage furniture, and some extra touches that add character. The rooms have everything which I need and on my second visit to the hotel, there were chocolates in my room with a nice hand-written message. My only criticism is that the lighting in the room is a little dimmer than I would prefer. The rooms have nice showers and on one occasion I had a very nice deep bath, however, I was so busy on that evening I never had a chance to try it.

 

Dining

I ate a few times in The Library, The Study, or the Drawing Rooms. I have had the Burger which is served with chips and it was amazing. I also had the fish and chips which was very good also. 
Breakfast is served in Preston’s from 8am and it is one of the best breakfasts I have had. The only thing I would personally like is a slightly earlier breakfast service.  

 

Hotel Location

Bellinter House is located approximately 7kms south of Navan town in Co. Meath and about 40/45 minutes from Dublin airport. For me, it was only 23 minutes from The hotel has plenty of parking on the grounds.

 

Bedrooms at Bellinter House Hotel
Sunrise at Bellinter House Hotel
Food at Bellinter House Hotel

Conclusion

It is my defacto hotel to stay in County Meath and I hope to continue to come here for all my future stays in the Meath area. The staff are wonderful, the sleep is peaceful, the rooms are comfortable, the breakfasts are fantastic, the food is delicious and the area is just so quiet and peaceful. Just perfect.

 

Website: https://www.bellinterhouse.com/

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More Hotel Reviews will be added soon.

Hotel Review of The Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria, London

Hotel Review of The Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria, London

Hotel Review of The Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria, London

From time to time when travelling, you will want to splash out and go for a bit of luxury. In 2013 when planning a trip to London I was looking for a nice hotel. I knew of 2 very good hotels, the Blakemore Hotel and the Park Plaza Hotel, however, these were not what I was looking for. I found some excellent TripAdvisor reports for the Grosvenor Hotel Victoria London and noticed it had a Chinese Restaurant, the Grand Imperial, attached which clinched the deal. 

The Grosvenor Hotel was booked and prior to arrival, I had a very nice pre-arrival courtesy call which I thought was a nice touch.

The History of the Grosvenor Hotel London

As with most of the major city railway stations in the UK, back in the day of steam locomotion, hotels were attached to thee stations. The Grosvenor Victoria was built by Sir John Kelk’s company. The Grosvenor is very much luxury and lavish and the grandest hotel in London. The Grosvenor opened to the public in 1862 a year after Victoria station opened. The original 1st class railway lounge is now the Reunion cocktail bar. The millionaire and Bellini cocktails here are worth a try. 

Grosvenor Victoria Hotel Review

On the day of travel, we actually arrived very late thanks to a strategically planned Irish airport strike. However, we arrived at the Grosvenor just after midnight and had a very pleasant check-in and proceeded to the room. Even with our late arrival, nothing was a problem and the staff was ever courteous. You will be greeted very well and the check-in was very well polished.

Guest rooms are very comfortable and very nicely decorated. The history of the hotel is not very obviously reflected in the rooms. They are more contemporary in nature than the historic facade and foyer. Lush colours such as deep purples and chocolate browns give a real warmth to the guest rooms. There are some reviews which call the entry-level rooms to be small but I feel they are adequate. I have stayed here twice, thus, I have stayed in 2 room types.

In general, the rooms are very well appointed, include a small but nice bathroom and comfortable bed. Many rooms overlook Victoria Station but on our stay, being 5 floors up, there was no noise. You may get an infrequent station announcement or such, which may just catch the wind. Overall, you will be guaranteed a very pleasant sleep. 

There are also very high-quality tea and coffee facilities in your beautifully presented room. Once on a return stay, we also got a complimentary upgrade. The touches here are high-end. If you are looking for a hotel stay in the heart of London but with a luxury-twist, you will not be disappointed.

The staff at the Grosvenor Victoria are excellent. They are all attired in immaculate black suits. The hotel was ideal for me, as a leisure guest, but would be an ideal hotel for corporate guests. You will also find that there is a gym, a 24-hour concierge plus round-the-clock room service should the need or hunger arise.

Photo of Grosvenor Hotel London Victoria, Room Photo
Image - The Grosvenor Hotel room - tea and coffee facilities

It is a pleasure to stay in such great accommodation. The hotel is pristine with a very ornate and impressive foyer. You must also go outside and cross to the street to get a vista on this impressive hotel, The architecture outside is amazing. Features with sculpted heads with laurel crowns, many balcony type features and sculpted flowers. It is a sight to behold. Just note that the street outside can be busy and there can often be queues for busses, so you might have to battle through the crowds during rush hour just to get into the hotel.

 

Dining & Breakfast at the Grosvenor

I already mentioned the Grand Imperial restaurant but the hotel has a second restaurant. This is called The Brasserie – we tried both restaurants and both are well worth experiencing.  I had a fantastic croque madame which is always a favourite of mine. It was perfectly cooked and had a really fine quality cheese filling.

The breakfasts are very good and are held in the Brasserie area.  Plenty of choices and no rush with great coffee to get you started for the day.

Inside and Outside the Grosvenor Hotel

The entrance of the Hotel has a grand foyer, with a stunning chandelier which you can’t miss. You should take to the next level up, so walk around and see the architecture in more details.

The Grosvenor’s location is great, only a 60-second walk to Victoria station. There is a private and direct route from the station into the hotel. There are also many bus stops outside the hotel also. If you are flying into Gatwick then the Gatwick Express will get you direct to Victoria Station. As a result, the Grosvenor Hotel would be ideal for you.

This was a wonderful stay at the Grosvenor Hotel and we will certainly be back next time we are in London.

Grosvenor Hotel London Victoria Address & Hotel Information

Grosvenor Hotel Website: https://www.amba-hotel.com/en/london/the-grosvenor.html

Grosvenor Hotel Map & Location
Grosvenor Hotel, 101 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0SJ, England

The Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria, London

The Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria, London

Things to do near the Grosvenor Hotel, London

The Grosvenor Hotel is located in the area known as Victoria. This is close to Buckingham Palace, St. James Park, Westminster Cathedral and is ideal if you want to visit the Apollo Victoria which at the moment has the show, ‘Wicked’. The fact that Victoria station is on your doorstep, means you have a variety of tube lines at your disposal.

You can also refer to my London Guide: Top things to do in London as a reference.

 

Photo Gallery – The Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria, London

This is a Hotel Review from my Travel Blog. This Hotel Review of the Grosvenor Hotel, London is not a sponsored post. I was not paid or compensated by the Grosvenor Hotel London for this hotel review and it is simply my honest view and review of two separate stays at the Grosvenor in 2013 and again in 2015. 

Some Questions which were submitted to me by email, which I will answer here for others to see…

 

Is the Grosvenor Hotel London Nice?

In a word, yes, however if you have a chance to spend a bit more I would do so. A few extra on the room will give you a more spacious and more lucurious room. However on the 2 occasions I stayed I certainly had no complaints on the room size. Great Staff, Great Food, Great Hotel.

Did you try the Grosvenor Hotel Afternoon Tea?

No, I did not have a chance to enjoy the Afternoon Tea, however it is not something I normally go for, so therfore we probably did not see it out. But in general the food here is excellent.

What’s the Breakfast like at the Grosvenor Hotel?

For me, Hotel Breakfasts are things I avoid unless included in the price. One one occasion we did have breakfast at the Grosvenot Hotel and it was very impressive and also very enjoyable.

If you have any other queries about my stay at The Grosvenor Hotel London Victoria please drop me a line

The Hampton’s – Review, Luxury B&B accommodation, Kaikoura, New Zealand

The Hampton’s – Review, Luxury B&B accommodation, Kaikoura, New Zealand

The Hampton’s Kaikoura – Review

 

This is a B&B review of the Hampton’s Kaikoura – A luxury B&B in Kaikoura, New Zealand
Kaikoura was the first stop after visiting the very friendly city of Christchurch. We spotted The Hampton’s Kaikoura on the Booking.com app which is one of my first-calls when booking accommodation online. The pictures looked amazing and the reviews were very positive. It’s quite a drive from Christchurch to Kaikoura but it is worth it when you have good accommodation.

 

On arriving we met Patrick the owner and he showed us to our room. Wow…. When I saw the room and view on checking in I was blown away. Patrick brought us through the features of the room plus advised us on the route for the local peninsula walk (see below).

 

The Hampton’s Kaikoura overlooks the coastal front of Kaikoura village, and you have amazing sea views.

 

The room was amazingly comfortable with cable TV, free WiFi, tea and coffee making facilities plus fresh home-made cookies. The view as mentioned was amazing and there was a small terrace/veranda​ outside if you wanted to enjoy the sun. We were there in New Zealand’s winter, so that was not always an option.

 

The bathroom included a very nice power shower and was well appointed. There was also underfloor heating in the shower which was a very nice feature.

 

About KaiKoura

 

Kaikoura is a few hours from Christchurch and is a small scenic town right on the coast. Kaikoura has so much to offer, and with the Hampton’s Kaikoura being so central, you are spoiled for choice. I recommend doing the Kaikoura peninsula walkway, where you can see a huge seal colony. The looped walk along the peninsula is about 13-14km and will take you about 3 hours to complete taking it at a steady pace. There is also a very good tourist information centre in the middle of the town which has information on the many whale-watching​ excursions you can enjoy from Kaikoura. Unfortunately we visited Kaikoura in the Winter so the trips to watch whales were not really an option.

 

It seems to be a town with a real homely feel, and if I was thinking of moving anywhere in the world it would be either to Kaikoura or Te Anau on the other coast. Both towns just captivated me when I visited them.

 

If you are looking for somewhere to eat in Kaikoura I would certainly recommend The Whaler which is at 49 The West End and only a few minutes walk from the Hamptons. The fish and chips were​​ excellent and we enjoyed watching the live Rugby League.

 

The breakfast at the Hamilton’s was delicious and more than enough for me. Overall a wonderful place to stay and worthy of such praise. Thank you again to our hosts Patrick and Marie Claire.

 

Address:
The Hampton’s
138 Esplanade
KAIKOURA
New Zealand

 

The Hampton’s, Kaikoura – Location Map:

 

The Hampton’s, 138 Esplanade, KAIKOURA, New Zealand

The Hampton’s Kaikoura, 138 Esplanade, KAIKOURA, New Zealand

The Kaikoura Peninsula Walk

The Kaikoura Peninsula Walk

Things to do in Kaikoura

We were only in Kaikoura for one day but there is a lot to enjoy. If you are here during the summer you can enjoy a lot more, including whale watching. In the winter, the nicest thing to do is the Kaikoura Peninsula Walk (see the more southerly marker on the map below).

The walking trail crosses the peninsula south of Kaikoura. You can walk along the clifftop, with excellent views of the Seaward Kaikoura Range. You also get stunning views of the ocean and coastline, towards South Bay. The Peninsula walkway then returns to the township via South Bay and a section called ‘Toms Track’.

Near Point Kean car park, there are signs warning that seals may be in the area. Most of the seals which are in the car park are males. These seals may appear to be harmless but may become aggressive if disturbed. These are wild animals and should be left alone, A male seal, especially an irritated one, can inflict a nasty, infectious bite. Observe from a distance and respect their territory.

Be advised that the Marine Mammals Protection Act states that you MUST NOT disturb the seals. Stay at least 20m away!

There are many more seals on the rocks and these are normally the females and their pups. As you know, female animals will defend their young so again, remain a distance back.

Photography on the Kaikoura Peninsula Walk

As you get further into the talk you will come to a section which gives you a vista of the sea from the cliff top. I recommend that you look down onto the rocks. The major seal colony is here – there are hundreds of seals on those rocks. If you are a photographer, a 300mm lens will get you some great shots of the seal activity.

There are also some great birds in the area. Again, photographers, get the camera ready! You can enjoy a very large shearwater colony which is protected. There are also albatross, shags and gulls.

I got a photo of what I think is a rare ‘Cirl Bunting’. Apparently this is one of the rarest of New Zealand’s introduced species. They can be elusive on the peninsula walk but it might have been a Yellowhammer which I saw!

The Kaikoura peninsula walkways is denoted by distinctive marker posts and interpretation signs. This walk is a decent walk and you should really set aside a few hours, perhaps 3 hours, to fully enjoy the complete walk.

The Hampton’s Kaikoura, Overall Review

Based on the shanemcdonald.ie rating scale which reviews 10 categories and scoring 10 points per category.

Overall Score : 95%

%

Overall Score for The Hampton's, Kaikoura

Getting to Kaikoura

Kaikoura lies around midway between the towns of Picton (154 km) and Christchurch (183 km). This is off SH1 on the east coast of the South Island. Regular bus and train services pass through Kaikoura.

Kaikoura Tourist Information

For more information on Kaikoura and the activities you can enjoy in the area, please see the tourist information details below.

Kaikoura i-SITE Visitor Information Centre
Phone: +64 3 319 5641
Email: info@kaikoura.co.nz
Address: West End, Kaikoura

Bishopstrow House – Hotel Review

Bishopstrow House – Hotel Review

About Bishopstrow House Hotel & Spa

Bishopstrow House Hotel & Spa is a luxury hotel near Warminster in Wiltshire. The hotel is set on 27 acres of beautifully set grounds alongside the River Wyle. Bishopstrow Hotel also boasts a boutique spa with an indoor and an outdoor heated swimming pool. There are 32 rooms available and you can dine at the 2 Rosette restaurant. Bishopstrow House actually dates back to 1736 when George II was the monarch of England.

Apparently, the original house was destroyed by a fire in 1817. It was rebuilt and completed in 1821. In 1950, Bishopstrow house was bought by a firearms collector and in 1976 was then converted into a ten-bedroom hotel. In 2011 it was bought by the well known Longleat Hotel Group. The grounds of Bishopstrow House even contain two ancient burial mounds.

As mentioned, Bishopstrow House Hotel is a part of Longleat Hotels and this is only a short drive from Longleat Safari Park (a great day out). Other areas close by including the historic Stonehenge, Salisbury and Stourhead House and Gardens. You are also within driving distance of the spa town, Bath. The town of Bath is a great destination and I recommend taking to 20-mile trip if you are in this area.

My Stay at Bishopstrow House Hotel

Bishopstrow Hotel and Spa is easy to find with well-marked road signage, as well as being listed on SatNav. You can find the hotel about a mile east of the town of Warminster.

We departed the Glastonbury festival at 9 am we arrived at the hotel well ahead of check-in. Our early arrival was not a problem for the staff. Bishopstrow House has great staff and our check-in was processed quickly. We were advised by the staff that the nearby town of Salisbury was good to visit. With that recommendation, we set off for the afternoon to explore the area.

When we returned to Bishopstrow our bags had been brought to our room… and what a room it was. A beautifully decorated and plushly appointed room. The room had a  flat screen TV with multichannel cable and tea/coffee facilities. It also included a lovely and spacious bathroom which has Elmsis products which I really like.

Within this wonderful hotel, there are 32 bedrooms and suites. Bishopstrow boasts a luxury feel with the elegance expected from a country house hotel of this style. The views from the rooms and the guest areas give stunning vistas of the countryside. The rooms are very comfortable rooms and you get a restful night’s sleep.

Dining at Bishopstrow House Hotel 

The breakfast is normally included in the rate and is very good with fruit, cereals, juices and a cooked option. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you can get a very hearty breakfast here. The grounds are really nice to walk around and the estate has an old-world feel yet being very much classic contemporary in reality. Free WiFi is included and again this is a real plus. I will rarely stay in a hotel if they have paid Wifi.

We ate at the Bishopstrow House restaurant and on arrival, we were shown to our table. For a change, I tried a beef dish which is something I would rarely try, but it was excellent and very well presented. The dish had a red wine jus which complimented the rest of the dish very well.

Spa & Relaxation

At the hotel, there is also a spa. We did not get the time to enjoy the many relaxing treatments which were on offer but it does look tempting. Unfortunately, we did not get a chance either to enjoy the indoor and outdoor heated swimming pools. You might get a chance to take in the relaxation suite, sauna, steam room, whirlpool, monsoon shower, tennis courts, four therapy rooms plus a Life Fitness exercise suite…. so much I didn’t have time to do!

The Bishopstrow Hotel Suites

While staying our 3 nights at Bishopstrow we also had to opportunity to stay in one of the luxurious private suites. These suites are on two levels with a living & TV area downstairs and bedroom with very extensive bathroom upstairs. These suites are true luxury and if I was coming back I would stay here ahead of the main house. These suites would be ideal for either families looking for more room, or as a romantic break – a home away from home. However, I am very happy to have stayed at both accommodation options.

Bishopstrow House - Suite

Bishopstrow House – Suite

If you are looking for a luxurious stay in the heart of Wiltshire then staying at Bishopstrow House Hotel in Warminster is well worth it.
Since we reviewed the hotel I was told that it has been taken over by new management. So it might be time to revisit and see what has changed.

Hotel Address: Bishopstrow House, Boreham Road, Warminster BA12 9HH, England

Hotel Website: www.bishopstrow.co.uk

Hotel Map Location:

Bishopstrow House

Bishopstrow House, Boreham Road, Warminster BA12 9HH, England

Back in 2015, I booked a 3 night stay at Bishopstrow House as a touch of luxury following 4 days at the Pop-Up Hotel at the Glastonbury Festival… This is the resulting review.

This review of Bishopstrow Hotel and spa was originally hosted on my Travel Reviews website but was moved from shanestravelreviews.com to it’s new home here on shanemcdonald.ie.

This is my opinion of my stay at Bishopstrow House and I was not compensated or paid to provide this online hotel review.