“ Address: New Line Road / Wexford / Ireland „
I suppose the real acid test of whether or not you really rate a hotel is if you are prepared to use it more than once.
The Whitford House Hotel is a 3-star establishment situated on New Line Road in the lovely coastal town of Wexford, Ireland, just off the main N11 road south to the ferry port of Rosslare, and about 2 kilometres outside the town. We have now used this hotel for a short break on three separate occasions, the last time being in early February of this year. (2008) So it most definitely fits into the "most favoured hotel" category as far as myself and my family are concerned.
It's a family run hotel. (Jim and Kathleen Whitty) Before I retired from the sales world I used hotels extensively all over the UK and Ireland, and in my experience I have often found that smaller family run hotels are far more customer friendly than their slicker chain run competitors. They simply seem to care more about their customers, and are prepared to go that extra mile to ensure your stay is a pleasant one and that they hang onto your business.
The Whitford House Hotel falls firmly into that niche, as from the moment you walk through the front door into the main reception you are made to feel very welcome and just that wee bit special, instead of the feeling of simply being yet another customer to process along the production line that you sometimes feel like when you book into a large chain hotel.
And a very pleasant reception area it is too. A nice wee touch is that when we booked in at around 4PM they still had complimentary daily newspapers (the Irish Times and Irish Independent) on the counter. As I hadn't bought a morning paper that day this was a very welcome bonus, and I availed of free newspapers during the three days we stayed there.
The reception itself doubles as a very pleasant resident's lounge area; lots of comfy leather armchairs and couches, with coffee tables for your drinks, sandwiches, snacks, etc. There's also an internet access point here, where you can access the web by dropping your Euros into the slot, or by using your credit card online to buy credit. I used this a few times, and speeds were fine. (Broadband) Only slight crib here would be the cost. At Euro7 per hour I felt it was a wee bit steep with today's cheap rates for broadband!
Of course, there's no smoking in the public areas of hotels anymore, but if you're a smoker you can either pop out the front door (ashtrays provided) or nip across the car park into a specially built smokers' gazebo. This is in front of the lounge bar, and there's also a few outside tables and chairs you can use if the weather is fine. (Which it often is in Co. Wexford, long established as the sunniest county in Ireland!)
The lounge bar itself, called the Forthside Bar and Bistro, is very pleasant and very large, with various areas partitioned off to give it a slightly more intimate atmosphere. Live entertainment is laid on four nights a week in the off-season, and every night of the week when the hotel is busy, so you'll never be short of something to listen to. The bar food, which is available from noon to 9PM daily, is quite simply outstanding. The choice is great, with a carvery and full bar menu. I would highly recommend the huge sausages and mash, which comes with onion gravy. (Wish I could find the sausages they use here in Dublin) Totally delicious. Their prawn salad is very tasty, and I suspect they use fresh prawns from one of the local harbours. Home made burger (REAL fresh meat) is also recommended, and is very filling. Prices for the bar food are very reasonable. We paid around Euro36 for a very filling meal for three people on our last visit, including main course, dessert, soft drinks, and tea and coffee. (Euro12 a skull!)
If you want to experience some of the best food that the south east corner of Ireland has to offer the hotel has an award winning AA and RAC restaurant called "Footprints". We've eaten here on numerous occasions and the standard of fare is totally superb, and well on a par with some of the very finest Dublin restaurants. All the staples (and then some) that you would expect on an extensive a la carte menu are offered, and I would especially recommend their steaks (both sirloin and fillet) which are cooked to perfection and literally melt in your mouth. The fillet of lamb is also worth a mention, and a delicious hot chocolate and ice cream fondant dessert. If you want to view a sample menu then this is available on the hotel's website at http://www.whitford.ie. The restaurant is just a tad on the pricey side (but you get what you pay for) so look out for their special offer "Value meals" that are offered from Monday to Thursday. This is a fixed meal, but if you like what's on offer its exceptional value.
What about the accommodation itself?
Well, it's mixed to be perfectly honest. The very first time we stayed we were accommodated in their annexe, which is really a house in its own right that sits beside the hotel. This was a self-contained one bed roomed flat, but was distinctly in need of modernisation and renovation. I complained that it wasn't what we were expecting, and we were immediately upgraded to an "executive" double room, (at no extra cost) which was as different from the annexe as chalk is from cheese. Complete luxury; spacious, comfortable armchairs, flat screen TV, luxurious en suite bathroom, etc. Incidentally, the hotel are no longer using the annexe, which is now used as the local coroner's court!
When we visited in February (2008) we booked a standard triple room for my wife and myself and our teenage daughter. It was comfortable enough, with all the usual amenities. A large double and single bed, en suite bathroom, TV, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities, etc. In short, a fairly good standard three - star standard hotel room. But it wasn't nearly as nice as the executive room we'd had previously. Another crib was the radiator, which was very poorly located right underneath the window. The curtains covered the radiator so that all the heat was diverted away from the actual room. Not a very good idea in the first week of a very cold February! We solved the problem by scrunching up the curtains onto the window ledge, but really you really shouldn't have to do this sort of thing. The over bath shower was excellent though; and so powerful you'd have thought it was a power shower. (It wasn't!)
Another facility that has only recently become available is a number of self-catering suites. (Up to as large as 4 bedrooms) We haven't used these, but have walked past them, and they seem grand, with balconies and patios with outside seating on the ground floor. I would imagine these are more for families who are on a week or fortnight's extended holiday to the region.
The TV has around 14 channels (cable) but not Sky Sports, Setanta Sports, or Sky Movies. But these are available to view on a large screen TV in a dedicated residents' TV lounge just off the main reception. The sports channels are also available to view in the bar. No DVD player provided, which is a pity as I often like to take a few DVD's with me when I go on a short break. But I suppose it is only a 3-star hotel, and I did have my portable DVD with me, so no harm done.
For those of you who are fitness conscious the hotel has a superb fitness and health centre. The only facility I used in this was the 20 metre swimming pool, but my teenage daughter used most of the exercise machines, the sauna, and the steam room. Aromatherapy and massage are available, but have to be booked in advance.
As I stated earlier, the hotel is very well located just of the main Dublin to Rosslare road, and is only about five minutes drive from Wexford town centre. Wexford itself is a lovely old Irish town with excellent shopping, and is in the very heart of the county to which it gives its name, with enough tourist attractions and places of interest to keep you very active. Co. Wexford is particularly noted for its numerous sandy beaches.
Of course, it's very close to a number of top class golf courses, Rosslare (links) and Saint Helen's being two of the nearest. I didn't take my golf clubs on this occasion as we were only on a three day break, but I'll use the hotel again later on this year when I return to the region to participate in the Scratch Cup at Rosslare Golf Club.
Prices, as with all hotels these days, vary considerably depending on whether you are going off-season or peak, and there are some good internet deals available. (Again, visit their website for details) We paid Euro160 per night for our triple room (full breakfast included) in the first week in February.
A highly recommended 3-star hotel.
Address: New Line Road, Wexford, Rep. of Ireland
Telephone: 00 353 53 9143444 (From UK) Ireland: 053 9143444
© KenJ March 2008
36 luxury rooms complete with amenities. Spend your time enjoying and relaxing in our leisure facility.