The Parknasilla Resort & Spa stands like a courtly estate along scenic Kenmare Bay. This Irish manor-house hotel along Ireland's famous Ring of Kerry is part of Original Irish Hotels and a four-star accommodation in the small town of Sneem. Over the years its guests have included playwrights like George Bernard Shaw and royalty like Princess Grace of Monaco.
After a day of touring, I arrived at Parknasilla Resort & Spa for my hosted stay in the late afternoon. The sunny fall day had exceptional sunny weather temperatures that pushed into the late 60s. The combination meant guests were taking full advantage of the resort's 500-acre grounds. On the lawn and patio, couples lounged with glasses of wine. Families hiked on the surrounding trails. And, I'd soon find myself lounging in my Edwardian-style guest room admiring the view from my private balcony.
A Little Bit of History
In 1895, the hotel began in the Bishop's House, which is still on the property. Two years later, the Bland family chose to build Parknasilla House near the Bishop's House and closer to Kenmare River. The Scottish Baronial-style hotel featured a Turkish bath, game rooms, reading and reception rooms, a bathroom on each floor, and bedrooms with sea views.
Today, the resort is a mixture of Old Word elegance and modernity with the historic main house and newer buildings spread throughout the property. Guests have a choice of rooms, suites, courtyard lodges, and villas. There is also a full-service restaurant and bar, child-care facilities, and a spa.
An Elegant Room
I stayed in the main house in a Superior Manor Room. This one-bedroom suite featured a king bed with a window offering water views. The spacious sitting area with Edwardian-style furnishings included a desk, dressing table, small dining table, and multiple chairs. The room included plenty of closet space, a roomy double-sink bathroom, and a private balcony.
After spending the better part of the day exploring the Skellig Ring, an additional route along the Ring of Kerry, all I wanted to do was unwind. The room had the right amount of refinement and coziness, which made for a very relaxing experience. Plus, I found it hard to pull myself from my private view of Kenmare Bay and its wild coastline.
Making the Most of the Resort Amenities
One of the draws of the property is its extensive and well-maintained grounds. If you are a nature lover, there are ten mapped walking trails, including the kid-friendly Fairy Trail and PJ's Treasure Trail. Walks can take as little as 30 minutes or as long as two hours, and some routes even include island hopping and castle ruins.
There is also a 12-hole golf course, along with opportunities for archery, horseback riding, biking, and water activities such as boating, wildlife cruises, and kayaking.
Indulge in a Spa Day
Unfortunately, I arrived too late to explore the walking trails and the next day the sunny weather turned rainy. Instead, I opted to spend the morning luxuriating at The Spa at Parknasilla Resort. The facilities include a thermal suite with a variety of features such as an ice fountain, experience showers, and aromatherapy steam rooms. My favorite turned out to be the heated loungers with views of the bay.
There are a variety of spa treatments available, and all guests have access to the thermal suite, indoor pool, and outdoor hot tub.
For travelers who would rather spend time reading or socializing, the resort has plenty of reading and game rooms with intimate seating arrangements.
Dining at the Parknasilla Resort & Spa
The hotel features an on-site restaurant, bar and a new seasonal tram food truck. I highly recommend dining at The Pygmalion Restaurant, which is situated to take in the water views. I suggest arriving early or making a reservation and requesting a window seat.
I arrived early and enjoyed a glass of wine while the sun set.
The restaurant features an a la carte menu and a four-course tasting meal. Wanting to try a little bit of everything I opted for a multi-course dinner.
I started with herb crusted Boilie goat's cheese with beetroot carpaccio, sun-dried tomato, asparagus, and salad greens with white balsamic and mustard dressing.
For my entree, I chose the roasted cannon of Kerry lamb (when in Ireland!) with a mini shepherd's pie, peas, pea puree, and lamb jus.
For dessert, the sticky toffee pudding with gingerbread ice cream, butterscotch sauce, and chantilly cream.
The meal was excellent and the service very attentive. In the morning, a hearty breakfast buffet is served in the restaurant.
Stay at Parknasilla Resort & Spa
My stay at Parknasilla Resort & Spa ended far too soon. The beautiful setting, the extensive grounds, and the hotel itself left a lasting impression. For travelers wanting to experience luxury, relaxation, and the great outdoors, the Parknasilla Resort & Spa is the perfect destination on your Ireland adventure.
Note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with accommodations and meals for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.