THE MOMENT you step inside the door you just know this a family-run hotel.
From the welcome at reception to the attention lavished upon the four year old I had at my side — this was a hotel introduction to beat all others.
As well as its family-friendly ethos, the hotel is also known for its history — owner Bill Kelly is the fourth generation to run the business (it began life as a tearoom in 1856).
It is also renowned for its collection of artwork, where pieces sit beautifully around the front desk and lobby. More on that later.
We arrived on a sunny day and the reception area, designed to capture the natural light, simply shone. It made a lasting impression and set the tone for what was to come.
The room was basic for a four star, but cosy enough to sleep the four of us comfortably. And the beachfront view was nothing short of spectacular.
An itinerary of optional family events was waiting for us — a glance at it and we knew there wouldn’t be much time spent in this particular part of the hotel.
Where to start? You’re right on a beach, for one — just follow the palm-tree lined walkway. Kelly’s is also smack in the centre of Rosslare, on a street of holiday homes and corner shops selling orange and yellow buckets and spades. It’s like stepping back into Irish summers of old.
But it’s inside the hotel the fun really starts. No need to worry about bad weather — Kelly’s has hourly activities for the kids divided into two age groups, over fours and over eights. Sand castle competitions, storytelling, arts and crafts, tennis — you name it, it’s there. My four-year-old especially loved the evening discos after the children’s dinner.
And for the grown ups there’s the wonderful Sea Spa. Plus the art collection.
Over 40 years in the making, it began when painter Kenneth Webb was invited to hang a selection of his work in the hotel. The response was so good, in the 1960s Kelly’s tapped into an Arts Council scheme, hanging the work of Irish artists in places where they could be seen by more than a narrow circle of art lovers.
As well as Irish art it includes works by English painters such as Howard Hodgkin, David Hitchens, graphic works by Picasso and Miro, Andy Worhal and Alexander Calder, one of the century’s greatest sculptors.
There are a few options for food. Breakfast, lunch, dinner — and a stunning, treat-filled afternoon tea — are served hassle-free, buffet style for the whole family. The standard is excellent.
There’s plenty of seating overlooking the playground where the kids can go and eat their post-lunch ice cream cones, while parents can enjoy their dessert inside and keep a watchful eye.
And if the grown ups want a bit of time out, there’s also the option of eating in a restaurant — while the kids are entertained in the supervised TV room, complete with arts and crafts. A win, win for everyone.
Really, you won’t need to leave the hotel. The kids will have a ball — and between the playground, activities and the children’s supervised TV room, it’s bliss for parents.
Full board in April and May, including breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner costs €138 per adult per night.
A weekend break costs €330 per adult for two nights. The fifth night free package is €635 per adult in May.
Contact 053 9132114 or see www.kellys.ie
We checked out without a single complaint.
Cancel the family holiday abroad — just head to Rosslare.