Deirdre Mullins takes a trip to Galway and checks out The House Hotel.
I definitely had a wow moment when I arrived at this family-run, boutique-style hotel. It went something like, 'Wow, it's so pink'. The lobby in the four-star House Hotel is predominantly coloured pink, with rose-coloured couches, cushions and lampshades. But even if you're not a fan of this girly shade the lobby is an inviting place, with lots of comfortable spots to sit and read or lounge.
To add to this sitting-room feel, the front desk is unobtrusive – seldom the case in more traditionally styled hotels. Instead, it consists of two writing desks tastefully placed among the comfy chairs. Despite the front desk staff being busy they were friendly and efficient.
The hotel is not propose-built and was previously a building supplies yard of Brennan's Builders. Consequently, all the rooms are a different shape, making some more generously proportioned than others. The artwork and furniture are different in each of the 40 bedrooms.
I stayed in a Deluxe Room, which was decorated in muted tones and contemporary style furnishings. The room was an unusual shape with an arched ceiling, while the bathroom was spacious with a bath/shower unit. The rainforest shower head gave great water volume and pressure. Bath salts were provided for those wanting a soak.
The bed was large and comfortable with crisp white linen. This combined with the soundproof windows and blackout blinds meant I had a great night of sleep.
Other facilities included a flat screen TV, hair-dryer, air-conditioning, tea and coffee-making facilities and free Wi-Fi. The complimentary large bottle of water and truffles were a nice touch.
Food & Drink
The House Hotel Cocktail Bar & Bistro is attached to the open plan lobby. It's a lively place that plays host to hen parties most weekends. The bar stays open late and towards the end of the night the restaurant becomes more like a bar with a DJ and a dancefloor.
For a quieter meal it's a good idea to go early in the evening. The Early Bird is €24.95 and served from 5pm to 7pm. The food served is modern European cuisine. The fillet of cod with herb crust and sundried tomato pesto was delicious. Breakfast was served until 11am and provided a good buffet, with a made-to-order option including Eggs Benedict, pancakes and a Full Irish.
The hotel is well-known for its cocktails and cocktail-making classes. This is one of the draws for hen parties, who get weekend group deals that include cocktail tuition. The signature cocktail is the Pink Champagne Mojito, which I made under the watchful eye of the head barman, who encouraged more than a generous pour of rum. All the other cocktails are well-made and well-priced, most hitting the €8 and €9 mark.
There is no spa in the House Hotel, but less than 100 yards from the hotel is Heaven Scent Beauty Spa (www.heavenscentbeautyspa.ie) and the staff at the hotel are happy to make a booking for you.
Out and About
The location of the House Hotel could hardly be better. It's situated in the buzzing Latin Quarter beside the Spanish Arch and Lough Corrib and is walking distance to most attractions in Galway City. Quay Street's eateries and pubs and Shop Street's commercial centre are just a short stroll away.
A drawback of this city centre location is that there is no on-site parking, but guests get a discounted rate of €7 for 24 hours in the nearby Hynes Yard Car Park.
Who Goes There?
Large groups of women on hen parties.
The cocktails; my favourite being the Hendrick's Martini, which was a delicate mix of Hendrick's Gin, dry Vermouth, black pepper and cucumber.
Lots of women talking at once can make for a noisy dining experience.
For the month of August the House Hotel is offering the Summer in the City deal of two nights' bed and breakfast with one evening meal and cocktails for €160pps.
The House Hotel, Spanish Parade, Galway. Ph: +353 91 538900 www.thehousehotel.ie.
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