With schools closed for three weeks at Easter, perhaps it’s the perfect time to take a family hotel break, writes Ciara McDonnell.
WITH the sprawling three-week Easter holidays looming, it makes sense to book a family break that will involve everyone having a good time and not shouting at each other.
We’ve weeded out the hotels that will offer maximum relaxation for the whole family, keep kids occupied and happy and adults being attended to by spa therapists as much as possible.
We’ve chosen hotels that have kids menus that go beyond sausages and chips and who have dedicated child-focused staff that will really care about whether precious darlings are enjoying themselves.
We’ve chosen hotels that excel in family accommodation, and who know that a spacious family room equals a happy family.
Mostly, we’ve chosen places that we’d like to holiday in ourselves, in the hope that you will too.
Meet the Fairies This Easter
The fairies are alive and well at The Twelve hotel in Galway this Easter where they are all decked out and ready to greet little visitors.
Their aptly named Marvellous Family Suites have been upgraded to include their very own fairy door, ensuring maximum magical attention for their youngest guests.
As well as having a very magical addition, the family suites at The Twelve are spacious and luxurious, accommodating a family of four extremely comfortably.
Families to the Marvellous Family Suites are welcomed with a plate of fairy cakes to enjoy while settling in, and staff are extremely child-oriented, willing and able to deal with fussy eaters and exuberant smallies.
Stay for two nights in a family suite with breakfast both mornings and a family meal in The Pins Bistro.
The kids will get a Pizza Masterclass with the hotel’s artisan pizza chefs before settling down with a book borrowed from the hotel’s library.
Included in the package is a pass to one of the following attractions: take the Wild Atlantic Way drive into Connemara and enjoy Brigit’s Gardens in Moycullen or Kylemore Abbey & Gardens or Dan O’Hara’s Farmhouse and Heritage Centre.
Two nights B&B plus one dinner and pass to an attraction is from €499 per family. www.thetwelve.ie
Get Away From It All At Castlemartyr
The staff at Castlemartyr Resort & Spa want their guests to relax this Easter.
That’s why little people can take part in the Easter Kids Club — packed with activities each day — while parents can relax in the spa or take a round of golf.
On Easter Sunday the whole family can join the giant Easter Egg Hunt before enjoying a giant feast at Italian restaurant Franchinis.
The family package at Castlemartyr Resort starts from €238 per night for a family of two adults and one child and includes two nights accommodation, breakfast on both mornings and dinner on the evening of your choice.
A Woodland Paradise
I have spoken to many families who pinpoint Faithlegg in Waterford as the best hotel to stay in as a family.
This stunning hotel is nestled in acres of woodland and offers a huge range of family activities.
It boasts a leisure centre, including a swimming pool, kiddies pool, sauna and steam room, kids playground, mini golf, Suir Fun kids club, tennis courts, bike hire and 18-hole championship golf course, meaning that days here are full and fun-filled.
The hotel is near both Dunmore East and Tramore where you can surf or fish or walk on the beaches.
If the hotel becomes too much (though how could it really), there are nearby farms, a bowling alley and a cinema.
Accommodation is varied from standard rooms to suites to on-site self-catering, so all bases and requirements are covered.
Easter at Faithlegg costs from €129 per person for two nights B&B and one evening meal.
A Room With A View
It may be just outside Clonakilty, but overlooking the magnificent blue flag beach, Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa could be in paradise.
A fantastically family-friendly hotel, there are year round sea adventures on offer here to keep marine-focused families occupied.
There is a dedicated Children’s Lounge, replete with games, books and an Xbox, and should the family all need some time out there will be plenty of family movies playing in the hotel’s ‘Netflix’ room during your stay.
Of course, you can’t visit Inchydoney without swimming in its seawater pool, and once you have restored yourself then there is nothing quite like the fish and chips in the hotel bar.
The Easter package at Inchydoney is a two-night package based on a family of two adults and two children sharing a family room.
The package includes breakfast, access to the leisure facilities and ‘cooking with the chef’ on one afternoon for the children.
The package costs from €460 per family.
The 5-Star Treatment
The Heritage in Killenard, Co Laois, is on hand to receive you and your family this Easter and immerse you in its 5-star luxury.
Families will feel at home in this super-luxe resort, with younger guests availing of the dedicated games room, Wii room, playground and kids bicycles.
The Kids Fun Club will be on hand to entertain with activities like baking, gardening and lots more fun to keep your children entertained while you indulge in the serious business of relaxing at the Heritage Spa Experience.
Family rooms at The Heritage are predictably fabulous, with all the mod cons you would you expect from a resort such as this (turn down service, anyone?)
The three night family holiday in a family guestroom starts from €356 per adult sharing.
The Easter Kids Fun Club will run from Monday, March 21, to Friday, April 1, from 9.30am- 5pm and there is an additional charge per child per day.
Kids Get The VIP Treatment
Kids are the most important guests at Dunboyne Castle in Meath this Easter weekend.
Upon arrival, all little guests receive a specially commissioned ‘Dunboyne passport’ — a must for serious travellers to regain access after a busy day spent in either Dublin Zoo or Tayto park.
Dunboyne Castle is ideally located just a quick drive from Dublin city, but in a quiet and tranquil setting that is ideal for families who need to relax.
A special kids’ dinner menu has been created with a large variety of options for little tummies —something that all parents will agree is sorely lacking in some establishments.
With not a chicken nugget to be seen, kids can choose from salmon and pasta and homemade burgers and soup and spend the meal getting busy with their hotel activity pack filled with colouring books and colours.
Family packages at Dunboyne Castle start at €210.
Holiday Where The Littlest Is King
It may not be as fancy as some of the other hotels in our collection, but when it comes to catering to families — particularly young families — The Hodson Bay in Athlone does everything right.
Yes, you will see children in the bar, and there is no doubt that at some point you will be privy to a toddler tantrum, but this is the beauty of the Hodson Bay.
Families are extremely well taken care of, with a bevy of children’s activities on offer ranging from tiny tots (6 months to 4 years) where parents can supervise safe play, kids camp where children even have their meals and a fully serviced Teenage area where biggest kids can hide from their parents.
The hotel will provide you with an in-room fridge if you want to store snacks and drinks and will provide facilities for bottle making and child changing at every turn.
The family package this Easter is from €499 per family for three nights B&B plus two evening meals for each adult, and children stay free for B&B.
A fully supervised kids activity camp included for 4-12 year olds, each morning 10am-1pm with lunch included and each evening 6pm-11pm with dinner included.
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