Located in Ireland’s Southwest, Killarney is one of those charming Irish towns that wins over everyone’s heart. It has typical Irish pubs, some good, hearty restaurants, historic landmarks and the amazingly picturesque Killarney National Park as its doorstep. If you’re looking for a romantic weekend away from Dublin or just a few days of outdoors-y activities surrounded by beautiful nature, Killarney is the obvious choice.
I spent three nights in Killarney. I was there to chill out (meaning eat, sleep and relax) away from the hustle and bustle of Dublin. I wanted accommodation that would let me do just that. I found the hotels located right in the town centre quite expensive so I decided to look further out for something more affordable but without compromising on the quality.
I stumbled upon the Randles Hotel, a 4 star accommodation barely 5 minutes walk from the centre of town. The reviews were alluring so I took my chance on them and booked my stay with booking.com.
Driving to Killarney from Dublin, I took the N22 into Killarney’s town centre. After a few minutes of intense focus on the car’s GPS, I found the Randles Hotel sitting on the busy Muckross Road, the main road heading south to Killarney National Park. The hotel offered free off-street parking making my arrival very smooth. The car park was underground, a big plus safety wise if you’re worried about your rental.
After a quick check-in, I was out the door again. The Randles Hotel was conveniently located a short distance from the town centre. A brisk walk up the road and I found myself already browsing Killarney’s busy streets for a tasty evening meal with the mandatory glass of wine (I came to relax, remember).
The hotel’s location in the south of town made it very easy to access the main sites I was planning to visit. Ross Castle, a 15th century castle proudly standing on the edge of Lough Leane, was just a 30 minutes walk from the hotel. The main entrance to Killarney National Park was a short 10 minutes drive. From there you could walk to the picturesque ruins of Muckross Abbey and the historic Muckross House. Another 10 minutes drive and I was at the breathtaking Torc Waterfall.
The rather modern exterior of the Randles Hotel looking over the Kerry mountains almost fooled me. Once inside, I quickly realised the Randles Hotel wasn’t going to be one of those forgettable hotel chains that seem to have the same neutral and characterless decor.
The Randles Hotel had its very own personality. Vivid carpets, old paintings, crystal chandeliers hanging from ceilings adorned with cornice moulding. Period furniture, antique vases and portraits lining up the corridors leading to the rooms. Inside its walls, the Randles Hotel was a traditional Irish manor house. The design was luxurious while retaining its warmth. I was in awe.
On the ground floor, the chic but comfortable sofas in the Drawing Room were inviting the guests to relax around the fire heating the room. You could even book an afternoon tea and indulge in scones and pastries in this grand surrounding.
One evening I sat comfortably in the corner of the Drawing Room drowned in a subdued light after retrieving a glass of Sauvignon Blanc (again, alcohol…) from the hotel bar. I enjoyed the quietness of the place while reading a suspense thriller from author Peter May that had me on the edge of my seat for hours.
My reading was finally interrupted when to my surprise a member of staff undertook to remove a tapestry from the wall to reveal a huge flat screen TV. Tonight was movie night and I couldn’t be more content.
The room I booked was located on the 1st floor. From my window in the morning I could see in the distance the fog slowly drifting over the Kerry mountains. The room was painted in pastel green with carpet throughout and was extra spacious. The king size bed was no less comfortable as I slept undisturbed by other guests.
The room was furnished with a wardrobe, drawers, a desk, and a small round table. It was equipped with a flat screen tv (with a dvd player!), a hairdryer and your own kettle if you fancied making yourself a tea. The bathroom had a spotless shower bath with all the complimentary soap and shampoo. I couldn’t have asked for more.
For a supplement breakfast was available at the hotel with a selection of continental and Irish breakfasts to choose from. Being so close to the town centre, I thought it was more exciting to explore Killarney’s cafés in the early morning and get surprised with a different breakfast every day. Therefore I wouldn’t comment on the breakfast served at the hotel, but I’d bet you it was of great quality.
After a day taking in all the beauty of Killarney National Park, I opted to dine at the hotel. Dinner was served in the hotel’s conservatory and bar area, the design of which was surprisingly more contemporary than the rest of the hotel. The dark color scheme created a very intimate setting perfect for a relaxing meal or a drink.
The reasonably priced menu offered a selection of Irish food. For those wanting something light, sandwiches were on offer. I was being tempted by the spicy chicken tortilla wrap but I went instead for something slightly more copious after my day out and about.
I enjoyed a delicious, perfectly cooked, grilled chicken and rocket salad sprinkled with sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Fresh fish & chips, tasty burgers, linguine pasta and seafood platters were also on offer, served by the friendliest of staff.
I believe you’re not really enjoying your holiday until you allow yourself some delicious treats. Mine took the shape of a decadent Baileys and Maltesers cheesecake served with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. My stay in Killarney had reached a new high.
The Leisure Centre
Heavy rain kept me indoors an entire afternoon. The Kerry mountains had disappeared under a thick fog and the wind was blowing relentlessly. I was stuck at the hotel for the next few hours so I decided to retrieve my swimwear from my suitcase and visit the Leisure Centre downstairs.
Free for all guests, the Randles Hotel had an impressive 20 meters swimming pool great to exercise or just blatantly chill out. I grabbed a towel at the Leisure Centre’s reception desk and made my way to the pool for a few lengths. I then stepped into the sauna followed by the steam room. After all that I was so relaxed I forgot all about the bad weather for the rest of the day. Spa treatments for gents and ladies were also available in the hotel’s Zen Day Spa.
The Randles Hotel was unequivocally a fantastic place to stay in Killarney. It exceeded all my expectations. The reviews were outstanding and they were surely well deserved.
The Randles Hotel was clearly a four star experience from the convenient location to the beautiful interior, from the comfortable room to the delicious food. And I forgot to mention the great service provided by the staff, always very helpful and caring, a great example of Irish hospitality.
Killarney is a hugely popular destination especially during the high season. I would recommend to book early if you’re planning to visit during this busy time of the year.
The Randles Hotel
Address: Muckross Road, Killarney, Co. Kerry
Check rates and availability here.
Still not sure where to stay in Killarney? More options on Booking.com
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Meet the Author
Hi! My name is Chris and I am a Dublin-based travel blogger, originally from France. Travelling from the Shetland Islands to Brittany, from Cornwall to Donegal, I hope to inspire people to make the Celtic frontier their next adventure.Learn more