Parknasilla Resort and Spa Southern Ireland
Irish Hospitality in Stunning Surroundings
Parknasilla Luxury Hotel on the Sea
Located in the rugged, scenic beauty of Southern Ireland, the Parknasilla Resort & Spa is a four star luxury hotel situated directly on the Atlantic Sea.
The imposing hotel occupies a 500-acre estate surrounded by a beautiful coastline with stunning views and lots of amenities. Parknasilla was built in 18th Century on a beauty spot overlooking the Kenmare River and became a hotel in the 1850s. Here is a postcard of the hotel when guests were ferried from the railway station by horse and cart.
Lots of Activities at Parknasilla
There is a Spa and Wellness centre and the hotel organises lots of activities for both adults and children. Outside there is a golf course open to both residents and visitors, archery and clay pigeon shooting and in Summer, you can swim on the beach or maybe take a boat trip. The beautifully tended gardens and lush parkland offer hiking trails galore and there is just so much to see and do in this most beautiful spot in Southern Ireland
We visited in early November and even though the weather was quite changeable we enjoyed some amazing walks along the trails and around the coastline. The magnificent grounds are so beautiful and a delight to explore.
Photo courtesy of Parknasilla
Parknasilla is very relaxed and super friendly and there is something here for everyone. The beautiful public rooms mean there is plenty of space to chill out and read, or simply enjoy the views.
Everyone is sure of a warm welcome from the helpful and attentive staff and one of the joys of visiting in the Winter season is relaxing in front of an open fire or maybe having a drink in one of the bars.
Lots of public rooms with cosy open fires – photo courtesy of Parknasilla
Family Friendly Hotel
I’ve stayed at this hotel several times as a child and have fond memories of Parknasilla as being somewhere very special and magical. With a small beach right in front of the hotel, and acres of gardens and parkland to explore, it is truly idyllic.
It’s a very family friendly hotel and children are well provided for with a games room and lots of activities.
The are three types of accommodation at Parknasilla. You can choose to stay at the hotel itself, or one of the two self catering options in either the two bedroom Courtyard Lodges, or the 3 bedroom Woodland Villas.
The hotel offers various room types with different amenities. Here is a selection of the rooms in the hotel itself:
Photos courtesy of Parknasilla
There were four of us in total, as our two grown up children accompanied us, and we all stayed in one of the 3 bedroom Woodland Villas. The villas are located within the hotel grounds which are a short 8 – 10 minute walk away or a couple of minutes drive away. There is also a free pickup service which you can call to ferry you to and from the hotel.
The great advantage of staying at the Woodland Villas is that they offer ideal family accommodation. You’re located in the grounds of the Parknasilla Resort and you have complimentary access to a whole array of activities and facilities, such as the Spa Thermal Suite, the Indoor heated swimming pool, the Outdoor Hot Tubs, Guided heritage walks, tennis courts, fairy trails and treasure trails, the playground, the fun golf as well as the Teen Hideout Game zone. Other fee paying activities on offer include Guided Sea Kayaking Tours, Boat Excursions, Golf and Archery.
Woodland Villas – Photo courtesy of Parknasilla
In contrast to many of the rooms in the hotel which are decorated in a classical style, the Woodland Villas are modern and also very practical. Despite it being the beginning of November, the Woodland Villa we stayed in was really warm and cosy and even had it’s own open fire (though you do need to arrange to buy logs).
It was modern, very clean and nicely decorated with plenty of space for us all. Equipped with a dishwasher, microwave, a washer/dryer and an iron, ironing board, hoover, mop and clothes dryer, it certainly had all you needed. All cutlery and crockery were provided of course, along with a supply of dishwasher tablets and detergent. The open plan living room with kitchen and dining area was spacious and outside there was a little deck with a table and chairs.
The interior of the Woodland Villas at Parknasilla
Two of the double bedrooms, including the master bedroom with ensuite bathroom, as well as a separate shower, were located upstairs and there was a further double bedroom and a toilet downstairs. In the Woodland Villas you’re perfectly self sufficient but the beauty is that you can use all the facilities of the hotel. The Elemis toiletries in all the bathrooms were a nice touch.
The Pygmalion Restaurant
Photo of Pygmalion Restaurant courtesy of Parknasilla
We had a lovely dinner in the Pygmalion restaurant. Named after the play by George Bernard Shaw, who incidentally wrote “Saint Joan” whilst staying at the hotel, the restaurant is a beautiful formal room with high ceilings and scenic views overlooking the garden. We had a lovely steak dinner which was well cooked and delicious and the service was excellent and extremely friendly.
You can also eat at the Doolittle Bar in the hotel, where they serve a tasty bistro style menu from noon till 8.30pm.
The Spa and Wellness
There are a number of activities organised every day from yoga to aqua aerobics but after exploring the surrounding countryside and the nearby trails we chose to chill in the hot tubs on the decking next to the hotel pool.
Photo courtesy of Parknasilla
The indoor pool was very popular with children but it is “adult only” early morning and late evening. Relaxing in the hot tubs overlooking the beautiful scenery was bliss. There were also steam rooms and saunas as well as relaxation rooms and you can also arrange for massages and a whole menu of beauty treatments using Elemis and Neom Organics products.
Trails and Hikes
Do pack some sturdy footwear as there are so many beautiful trails to choose from in the hotel grounds and they are all marked out for you.
There are also plenty of places to sit down and simply admire the stunning views.
In addition to the family trails there are also special trails just for children including a Fairy Trail for the little ones.
Derrynane Beach and Nature Reserve
We hired a car whilst we were there and took off to explore the beach of Derrynane about 20 miles away. As well as the beach there is also a beautiful nature reserve. In November the beach was almost deserted and we had a wonderful time walking across the sands and climbing over the rocks.
Other Things To Do Nearby
- The closest village is Sneem with its brightly painted houses and collection of pubs, restaurants and shops including a small supermarket which is really handy if you’re staying in the self catering villas
- Killarney is a scenic drive away
- You can explore the Ring of Kerry and perhaps visit Kenmare, Cahersiveen or Waterville
Going back to the hotel after a gap of several decades, I was struck by the fact that although many things had changed, many things remained the same. The hotel is an ideal destination for families. It still retained that amazing warmth, friendliness and wonderful Irish welcome and the location is just magical. The hotel gardens and park land go on and on and there is always so much to do and discover.
Notable guests who have stayed at Parknasilla over the years include Charles de Gaulle, Princess Grace of Monaco and George Bernard Shaw. In fact, as George Bernard Shaw said of the hotel, it’s “a place of long sea views and intricate walks between ferns and fuchsias, rock and rhododendron, to burnt out castles lost within the woods and along the various fingers of land that point south West into the warm Atlantic this place does not belong to any world that you or I have ever worked or lived in ………..it is a part of our dream world.”
I think he was absolutely right. Whilst we were there in November the weather was distinctly changeable – but we had it all; beautiful sunshine, blue skies, a couple of rain showers – but nothing which could dampen our enjoyment of this beautiful place. We were made to feel so at home, so welcome and we enjoyed ourselves so much, that we will definitely be back!
So if you fancy visiting Parknasilla for yourself please see the details below.
Address: Sneem, County Kerry.
Tel: +353 (0)64 6675600
See Google Map here:
I stayed as guest of the hotel but all views are completely my own
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