A toddler prone to tantrums and a crying infant? Who can blame any hotel manager for trying to hide their panic.
Kelly’s Resort Hotel and Spa, though, is the one place where you will be genuinely welcomed with your family. Dinner time tears aren’t judged, instead, you get knowing, compassionate looks from your neighbouring diners. It’s a little piece of heaven for parents of toddlers who have forgotten what it’s like to sit at a restaurant table as a family.
Though, to be honest, crying fits are few and far between. The children are simply kept too busy to even find the time to get upset.
There are two kids’ clubs — one for smallies and another for the older ones.
The Aqua Club kept the eight-year-old entertained with a games room, movie nights, painting classes, sandcastle competitions and baking. There’s even shell hunting, an obvious option when your hotel is built right onto the beach, as Kelly’s is.
The toddler had the option of the Starfish Club, for under 4s. We used the supervised playroom for the two-year-old and baby. If you leave the kids (we stayed with them but it was nice to know the option was there), it’s €3 per hour. A small price for a welcome piece of ‘me time’ and ease of mind.
This playroom was every toddler’s dream — Peppa Pig on a constant roll on the TV, a plastic play kitchen almost as big as my own at home and virtually every toy your two-year-old would point at in the Smyths catalogue. The baby, meanwhile, relaxed on a play mat surrounded by bright, attention-grabbing colours in the safe and enclosed infant area.
It gave me time to sit back with the Saturday papers. Quite the treat.
Then there was the swimming pool, again completely child-focused and child friendly, where we spent much of our weekend.
With all the inside entertainment, there’s no need to worry about bad weather at Kelly’s. If the sun does shine, outside the beach and all that sea air is a stone’s throw anyway. Back on the grounds there’s a playground for the kids just outside the dining area so parents can relax and supervise from inside.
Kelly’s is also right in the centre of Rosslare, on a street of holiday homes and corner shops selling buckets and spades. It’s like stepping back in time to the Irish summers we remember.
In between the games, there was food. Lots of food. Kelly’s is renowned for its menus and we soon understood why. We arrived in time for afternoon tea, a smorgasbord of nibbles and pastries — including Rice Krispie buns made by the kids — followed by ice cream cones.
Later a buffet-style children’s tea is served at 6, with a disco for afters. Watching the two-year-old and eight- year-old on the dancefloor was by far the highlight of our holiday.
The parents have two options for dinner — there’s the relaxed Ivy Room, where the kids can come (DVD players are provided to keep them amused). Or the more formal, child-free Beaches. Wherever you opt to eat, kids can be supervised for free while you dine.
And there’s plenty more on hand with grown-ups firmly in mind. There’s SeaSpa for treatments, morning power walks, aqua aerobics, beach bootcamp, golf, TRX training — a new itinerary is printed daily.
We stayed in one of the refurbished family rooms, a double bed for the grown ups and two single beds on a slightly lower level for the kids. It hit that perfect balance — somewhere in between modern and homely.
After the summer we had last year, Kelly’s should be looking forward to a busy season.
With a family-focused hotel like this just a car journey away, who really needs to travel abroad? No airline — and few passengers — would give you the welcome (and patience) that’s waiting at Kelly’s.
* Rates from €485 per person sharing for a five-night stay or €295 per adult for a two-day weekend full board experience. Rates plus 10% service charge. Contact 053 9132114 or see www.kellys.ie