Athenaeum House Hotel
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TravelPod Member ReviewsAthenaeum House Hotel Waterford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
Historical Traveler Reviews Athenaeum House Hotel Waterford
Great hotel! The rooms are very sleek and modern, but a wonderful job has been done combining the old with the new. We had dinner and breakfast in the restaurant which was incredible as well. Great location as well with a beautiful view from the dining room.
Myself and my girlfriend stayed at the Athenaeum for a weekend in October. We had been looking for a country house type hotel and the Athenaeum appeared to offer all that we were looking for. Our stay involved a series of disappointments that all added up to a situation where we would not reccommend the hotel to anyone. It's not that the hotel was especially bad, because it's not, it's just that it sets itself up as being something that it patently is not.
We arrived late on the Friday evening, about 11 O'Clock. The lobby is poorly laid out - you come in and you have to go into another room and essentially introduce yourself, there is no real sense of welcome on arrival.
The room we had was very large and comfortable in fairness, but the heating was off, and it was quite a cold night, and it was poor that the hotel had not ensured the heating was on.
The mini-bar was empty, despite it being described as fully stocked, both on the internet and in the folder left in the room.
The hotel is situated on 10 acres of grassland, about 20 square yards of which are of any functional use to a guest unfortunately.
We booked dinner in the hotel restaurant for the Saturday night - our table was slightly central and it was not comfortable to sit in the middle of the room with staff rushing past, we had no candle on the table and when we asked, we were told that there were none left, a small point, you might say, but nonetheless, we were paying for a romantic weekend, and the little things make all the difference and the hotel failed to provide. The food was average too, I had the goats cheese to start, which was rather bland, and the sole for the main course which was tasteless were it not for the lemon. My girlfriend had the lamb and it was quite tasty. Out in the lobby, a well-meaning but ill-suited young man systematically and loudly murdered a grand piano as he plonked his way through Satie's delicate back catelogue.
The veranda outside the dining-room offered a lovely space to sit out afterwards, with a nice view over Waterford, but there was only one gas heater and the doors were kept closed.
On our departure, we were not asked had we enjoyed our stay, thanks, we hope to see you again or anything.
Essentially, the hotel is adequate, but not at all what it claims to be, which is unfortunate because with a little more care & attention to detail it could be lovely. They need to realise that the service they offer is a daily job for them, but a special treat for their customers. I for one will not be back.
Food fine, everything else great
We chose the romantic package for our stay. On arrival, the scent of lilies filled the reception area and carried on upstairs. We were told that our room had been upgraded to a suite, and that the champagne and truffles would be brought up to our room in a few minutes. The suite was large enough for us, good size bathroom with great views of the gardens and the Suir.
We went to Zaks for dinner, which was fine. Portions were just enough, quality was good except for the slightly undercooked pasta main course. As it was a warm evening we sat at a table outside with a bottle of wine after dinner. The other guests retired to their rooms early, so we had the place to ourselves.
On returning to the room, the bed had been turned down with rose petals; and the romantic gift was on the bedside table. The gift was a candle holder and scented tea light; it was just a token, we didn't book this package just for a gift.
Breakfast the next day was good, sitting in the sun filled restaurant. We chose the continental breakfast, but there is a more extensive hot menu available.
The staff were very helpful throughout our short stay.
My girlfriend and I stayed at this hotel as a treat to celebrate New Year. We had decided we would like to spend a quiet, romantic New Year and searched the internet for a suitable hotel. The Athenaeum House offered a "romance package" which, for a supplement, included champagne, chocolates, a rose petal turn down and a "special gift" on leaving the hotel. Two of the suites also have a jacuzzi bath (less impressive than it sounds) and, as it was a special occasion, we opted to splash out on one of these.
When we arrived and were shown to our room, we were highly disappointed. I don't know what the technical difference between a 'suite' and a 'room' is, but this was at best borderline as it was relatively small and had few extra features. We informed the management of our disappointment and they did offer to move us to one of the other suites. The first two were slightly better but still unimpressive for the price, and eventually we were offered the honeymoon suite which was far superior to the original room, although we still felt it was poor value for money.
After a bad start, the night didn't improve and we never received the rose petal turn down (which my girlfriend was greatly looking forward to) and we never received an ashtray despite the manager telling us one was "on the way". Also, due to a New Year's party going on in the hotel, we were unable to use the bar, restaurant or room service (we were only informed that the restaurant would be unavailable) and were kept awake by the music. These problems were slightly unique to the occasion, however we felt the hotel should not have offered the romance package as they were clearly unable to deal with customers other than those at the party.
The following morning we received our gift - a pack of incense sticks, worth the 320 euros alone, i'm sure you will agree. We explained our dissatisfaction to staff when checking out and were cheerfully offered a free upgrade next time we stay. Considering we had stayed in a semi functional hotel, been on the receiving end of poor customer service and actually never received services we paid for, we were very disappointed that this was the best they had to offer. We also wrote them an email on our return home detailing our problems and they never even replied to the mail.
Overall, a decent hotel, however not worth paying for the suites or packages. We experienced very poor customer service, however if you have no problems then it may be adequate. We certainly won't be availing of our offer of a free upgrade!
A real winner in Waterford!
My husband and I have just returned from a wonderful trip to Ireland - business for him and I was fortunate to be able to tag along. We stayed at the Athenaeum for a few days and were most impressed from the moment we walked into the gracious entry. The staff were professional and very helpful at all times, but also very friendly and approachable, with plenty of local stories for us and tips on things to do while we were in Waterford. Our room was beautifully designed, contemporary and very spacious with lcd TV.
We ate many meals in Zaks, their dining room. We had the best Italian coffees we'd had in Ireland, plus delicious fresh croissants for breakfast! Lunches and dinners were all very tasty with a nice variety of starters and main courses, from salads to steak and locally caught fish. Stan Power, the amiable owner, gave us recommendations for wines on a couple of occassions that were perfect pairings for the food we had ordered, and were Chilean and Spanish wines which we don't normally see on our wine lists in the US.
For my husband the Athenaeum had the added benefits of High Speed Internet in all the rooms, plus some excellent private meeting rooms, so meetings could avoid the distractions of being in the local office. Rather than go offsite, the meeting attendees were able to eat an excellent meal onsite and continue working - it was a real time saver.
I on the other hand, was an easy 5 minute or so, taxi ride into Waterford where I checked out many of the local historical sites and did a little retail therapy for some European clothing!
The hotel also seemed to me to be a fantastic location for a wedding or special event. I'm sure you could take over the whole property. The views, down to the river and the famous Reginalds Tower, from the big patio in front of the restaurant and the lawns below would make for a very memorable event, not to mention amazing photographs!
We will be back there to stay for sure on our return to Waterford.
LOved the staff except the owner
We just spent a two night stay at this hotel with our 2 yr old. The rooms were gorgeous although there were only four tv channels. This did not bother us but may other's.
The hotel itself is very modern and the staff were wonderful. especially Louise on reception who took time out to play golf in the foyer with our young son.
The food on the first night was great and only slightly spoiled by the Gentleman who I took to be the owner walking around with a permanent frown. The staff were very accomodating of our food requests for our son. There were two guys playing guitar on the Saturday and this was fanatastic.
I would recommend this hotel for it's food and the high standards maintained by the staff.
The breakfast was awesome with my favourite smoked salmon!!!
It is a little bit outside Waterford but this makes it all that more special!
Generally very good, but just one concern
We had a reasonably priced two nights/ one dinner deal at this hotel. The rooms are lovely, the staff are friendly and the breakfast was wonderful. Though not within walking distance of the city, it's a two minute drive, and we found parking there easily enough. My only complaint concerns the evening meal, the main courses in which were rather bland and a little tasteless, considering the menu's promises and prices. The portions were a bit mean too. Starters and dessert were fine, but we were glad we'd got the special offer deal rather than paying separately for a generally slightly disappointing meal. Otherwise very good.
Recommend the Athenaeum
We stayed here for 2 nights at Easter and really thought it was a great place, the staff were friendly and helpful, the rooms comfortable but the food in Zaks was the highlight. Its not walking distance from the city, but that was not a problem for us. For high standards and good value for money I'd recommend for anyone planing a break in Waterford.
One of the best hotels in the country
I've been to this hotel twice. The first time (August 04) was just on spec. for 1 night and I ended staying a second night I liked it so much. The second time (November 04) was for two nights and was just as I'd remembered it - beautifully appointed setting, fantastic rooms, modern dining. Everything in this hotel oozes modern style from in-room lcd tv and cd players to the cutlery and glassware in Zak's restaurant. The staff are friendly and there is a melting pot of different nationalities working there which makes for interesting chats. This is one hotel I will go back to again and again.
We stayed at this hotel in December 03 for 2 nights because we got a good deal on a package. The rooms were really nice, very spacious and very clean. Comfortable bed, lcd tv, mini bar etc. The hotel itself is not within walking distance to the town (well maybe in the summer!) so we had a few drinks both nights in the hotel.
Dinner was quite nice but I've had much better (for the same price) Dining room was a bit un-atmospheric. Lounge area wasn't the most welcoming.
Staff were nice but overall the whole experience left me feeling that they were trying just a little to hard. (Unlike Knockranny House Hotel in Westport - my favourite! Friendly, relaxed, easy-going staff))
Sadly this hotel is not one I would recommend.
TripAdvisor Reviews Athenaeum House Hotel Waterford
Travel Blogs from Waterford
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... walked down the street dressed in green. We went to the karaoke bar, had some drinks, sang, danced and had a great time. We did drink a lot and we only left the bar because it was closing. We stumbled up the street and went to another bar further up the street and stayed a bit. Then we went back to the hotel. Next to the hotel was a pizza place. A group of us went there and ate, then i went to the hotel bar and started talking to the locals. At about 2.30am i went off to bed.