I was asked to write a parent review for Castleknock Hotel after visiting recently with my 6 and 8 year old. I can honestly say, it was a fantastic experience for both us and the kids, although there was some confusion over the name of the hotel! Read on to find out more.
What Castleknock Hotel say about their Family Friendly Stays
Castleknock Hotel is quite simply the perfect Dublin family hotel. It is an award-winning modern 4 star hotel set in lush grounds beside the Phoenix Park. The hotel is just 15 minutes from Dublin city centre yet it feels like a world away from the bustle of the city with its tranquil countryside setting.
The hotel has a range of amenities that are popular with families; an 18-hole golf course, award-winning restaurants and welcoming bars, outdoor BBQ area, 18 metre pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, children’s pool area and children’s playground, it’s everything that could be required from a great family hotel.
What Our Parent Reviewer Thought of Castleknock Hotel
We were coming from the North West of Ireland so decided to drive rather than take the train. The hotel is just through Lucan village and was well signposted making it easy to find. There was ample parking even though there was a wedding on when we arrived.
The wedding meant that it was busy at reception but there was a jigsaw on hand for the kids to enjoy while we waited to be checked in. The staff were friendly and efficient and saw to us quickly.
On arrival my 6 year old was a little confused about the hotel name, “Castleknock Hotel, she said, where is the Castle”? Obviously she takes names very literally and I had to explain that this was the name of the area where the hotel is situated. I didn’t do a very good job explaining as after our stay she said she was delighted they knocked down the castle because this place was much better!
What We Thought of Our Room
Going up to our room it was great to see the hotel had security measures in place to stop people wandering around the corridors. You needed a key card to work the lift and again to gain access to the corridor and bedroom.
However, what I really liked was that our room was just that, one room. You could get family rooms that are interconnecting but we had a larger family room which meant only one door in or out of the room. I definitely did sleep soundly knowing the kids were there beside me.
The room itself had plenty of space for 4 people and all the luxuries you would expect from a top class hotel. There was an Nespresso machine, full ironing board and even a hair straightener along with a hair dryer.
Thankfully the bathroom was well equipped too as I had forgotten to pack the girls toothbrushes but there were sealed dental packs for everyone. There is always something you forget in the excitement of a trip away! There was a full bath and separate shower area both with detachable shower heads which are great for washing kids while keeping dry yourself.
The girls were delighted to find activity packs on their beds and a welcome basket with fresh fruit and some sweet treats. There was even hot chocolate for them to enjoy while watching the smart TV equipped with Netflix and YouTube perfect for watching age appropriate favourites at any time.
What We Thought of the Pool
After the excitement of exploring all the room had to offer it was straight to the swimming pool for us. My 8 year old who is an avid reader, noticed a book exchange section on the way down that we had to pay a visit to afterwards.
The pool area like the rest of the hotel was spotlessly clean and the staff were friendly and engaging. The water was warm and there were different sections for the kids to explore. A waterfall and separate baby pool along with loungers to relax on.
The only small issue I had as a parent with kids of different swimming abilities was the large wall between the shallow baby part and the main deep section of the pool.
This made visibility difficult, so if you are travelling with over enthusiastic swimmers of different abilities be sure that both parents are there together. While there is an opening between the two pools really you would have to stand at the entrance to the baby section to have oversight of the other part of the pool.
What We Thought of Other Hotel Activities
For adults there was a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi and if you had confident swimmers or another adult, you could read a book on the lounger and watch the children splashing and having fun. Or take a trip to the spa. The pool closes for children at 6pm which my children thought was very unfair but it did make for a relaxing time for me while their Dad took them to get changed!
When we were swimming we noticed a playground outside which of course we had to visit too. It has swings, a seesaw, a slide, a house and a climbing frame. It was compact and secure and had everything needed for kids of different ages. For older kids and adults there is also an on-site golf course which looks very well maintained.
What We Thought of the Food
After swimming we were are all starving and went to the Earth and Vine restaurant in the hotel. This did not disappoint. The food and service were amazing and there was a superb wine list. The kids loved that their menus had a grown up feel to them and a good variety of dishes.
My 6 year old is not a fussy but a particular eater. She loved everything she ate. She ordered the pasta Bolognese and wanted everything separate with no garnish and that is exactly what she got. Also she didn’t like any of the desserts so they made up a fresh berry plate with marshmallows and she was delighted.
My other daughter went straight for the burger and homemade chips which again had no unnecessary extras on the plate and the meaty burger had a homemade, quality taste and look. I had to try it in the name of research!
Unlike her sister the more chocolate she can eat the better! She of course wanted the most chocolatey dessert available, the chocolate fondue which in the end she was just too full to eat, so our server told her it was no problem to bring it up to her room to enjoy later. The devastation would have been real if she had to leave it behind or we would have been there for hours with her trying to finish it.
What We Thought About Breakfast
The next morning there was a buffet breakfast, again filled with high quality foods. There was a varied supply of everything from the hot food buffet, to bread of every kind, cereals, fresh fruit, yogurt, cold meats, cheeses and even a pancake making machine.
Breakfast was my 6 year olds’ favourite part of the stay.
Nearby Activities for Families
We spent the rest of the day at the zoo, which was close by and easy to get to. But the hotel had lots of information on other nearby attractions such as the National Aquatic Centre with water slides and a 50m swimming pool, Viking Splash, Fort Lucan, Leisureplex at Blanchardstown with bowling, soft play and much more. Blanchardstown also has a large shopping centre and cinema.
We stayed over St Patrick’s weekend and the hotel had information about local parades as well as the main city parade. They also provided shamrocks for everyone to take away.
Would I go Back?
All in all I would definitely go back and am happy to recommend it highly for families of all ages. Best of all coming from outside Dublin you turn off in Lucan Village so avoid the M50 toll and traffic going in to the city centre. The city centre is accessible either by car or public transport from the hotel and the hotel provided full details of ways to travel into the city centre.
We can’t wait for our next family trip to Castleknock Hotel.