Review: The Dunboyne Castle, a weekend at County Meath

dunboyne castle

Personal experiences at The Dunboyne Castle

As I am stuck at home with no traveling plans (yet) for the rest of 2016, I thought I’d write about the local trips I had for this year. It’s not as if I just sobbed miserably at home. I didn’t. I just wished I could’ve taken more international flights before the year ends.
The first local trip we had this year was a visit to County Meath at the Dunboyne Castle. My husband changed jobs before 2015 ended. And as a result, the headhunter gave him a €250 voucher to spend at the Dunboyne Castle – a token for a successful application. I knew that the voucher was enough only to cover for a one-night stay but we decided to book for a couple of nights to celebrate my son’s second birthday, too. My husband was not even familiar if there’s any tourist attraction to go while in Meath. But what the heck, we decided to go anyway!
We didn’t have a car but decided against the commute – it seemed too troublesome. It didn’t help that traveling with a baby meant that even an overnight stay meant bringing the entire house with you – so we had a lot of things to bring. Eventually, we booked a cab to take us there. And quite surprised the trip from our home to the Dunboyne Castle only took 45 minutes!

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Our little man and his Dad. Walking at the gardens despite not feeling well. Photo via personal Facebook page.

Upon arrival, we noticed immediately that the hotel was busy – packed with people. I think it was a “bad time” to check-in as reception services had their hands full. I can say that checking into the Dunboyne Castle was one of the longest check-ins I experienced in my entire life. And I can clearly see that the guy behind the reception counter wasn’t too pleased with it, either.
After a couple more minutes, they told us our room wasn’t ready yet. It was OK since we were a bit early than the proper check-in time anyway. So we went to the lounge area and had some snacks first. We got seated immediately but I noticed there was a shortage of staff looking after diners. It took quite a while before somebody approached us to give the menu, take our order, or even get the bill!
After we finished, we took the chance amidst the gray clouds outdoors to go for a walk. We took the ramp beside the hotel and followed the footpath. We thought it would lead us to a pedestrian path but – nope! The driveway leading to the hotel was the only way to get out of the premises. It seemed there was an option through the parking space but we didn’t have a car, LOL! It was pretty safe to walk using the driveway but we really have to stay super close to the sidewalk especially since we were walking with a pram.
We did a quick (literally) walk around town. There was nothing much to see, we realized. So after a few minutes, we headed back towards the hotel, hoping our room is ready.

Dunboyne Castle
My little man and I. Spending time at Dunboyne Castle (county Meath). Photo via Facebook

When we arrived, the room was ready. The room was nice and big. And we were lucky to have a view of the gardens, too. It seemed that even if the experience started on a not-so-good-note, things were starting get better from then on.
We were wrong. After dinner, we came back inside our room to spend the night watching TV. We hurried with dinner as my son started to get “sick” (he was cranky the entire dinner time) so we decided to order some food through Room Service.
It took a while before our food arrived, which was OK-ish. But we got surprised when the staff requested for cash as payment. We were told that since we didn’t leave any card details upon checking-in, there was no way to store “credit”. My husband complained that nobody from the reception told us about that protocol. Luckily, we have some cash with us at the time. It was so disappointing as we always have almost cashless transactions when checked in any hotels!
That evening, my husband went to the reception to leave a credit card stored so we can use in case we needed ANYTHING from Room Service, again. But despite that, the next Room Service we requested STILL asked for cash payment, ARGH!
We were a bit stressed as my son seemed sick the time we were there but our experience with the hotel didn’t help lighten the mood either. Especially with the “issue” with the credit card and Room Service arrangement and the first encounter with the receptionist, it really dampened the overall experience we have had from the hotel.

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26 thoughts on “Review: The Dunboyne Castle, a weekend at County Meath

    1. Yeah, it is a nice place for a quick weekend getaway 🙂 I am hoping the staff only got overwhelmed with the busy check-in time when we were there!

    1. Thank you! 🙂 I am hoping they are a lot better during “off peak” season. Such a shame it would’ve been a nice place for a quick weekend getaway.

    1. I know, right? You can’t imagine our facial expression when we were told that was the case! HAHA, he always have a great time 🙂 I think he knows the hotel is different than our house!

  1. It sounds like a bit of a rough time at the castle! Your son is so adorable! I always forget to carry cash on me, and always expect places will just take card these days!

    1. We were lucky we had enough cash on the duration of our stay! And I think it made things easier as we had our dinner pre-booked in advance so it automatically went to our credit to settle upon checkout.

  2. Aww I’m sorry that your stay wasn’t too nice at this hotel! It’s always a bummer when travel plans go bad. Hopefully your next local trip goes much better 🙂

  3. It really looks nice what a get escape. I feel you on the check in process. I have lost my patience when it takes too long, especially after a long flight/drive, I just want to relax. Glad it all turned out ok.

    1. It looked as if it’s a nice place for a quick weekend getaway but you know how it is when the staff seemed can’t be bothered? That’s how it felt back then.

  4. Sorry to hear things didn’t go so well! We all know, that is sometime the sad reality of traveling. So it’s actually nice to hear someone writing about the hard times, as well! Wishing you happy travels in the year to come!

    1. I try to be as honest as I can when I write about my personal experience. And I try to “cool off” a bit so not to be too emotional when writing. But hey, if the experience wasn’t pleasant, other people who may want to know about a certain place needs to be “warned”. I think that’s the purpose of reviews anyway.

  5. Oh no, doesn’t sound like the smoothest stay especially with a little one! That’s really odd having a “cash only” transaction, I’m quite surprised.
    Surely they’ll work on these issues to make it a more pleasant stay for future guests… Hope your other domestic trips were a better experience than this!

    1. It was really odd to have the cash-only setup for sure! And we weren’t advised about it either upon check-in. I mean, we “know” we have to leave a credit card upon checking in but the guy at the reception didn’t ask for it – we thought it’s because we were checking in using a voucher. Luckily for us, our local trips were a lot better after this.

    1. It is a nice place especially if you wanted to have a quick weekend getaway from the city. Too bad the check in experience wasn’t that great, though 🙁

  6. As a frequent traveler I feel I am lucky in this matter because having branches of our company at almost every major country in the world I never faced cash problem. BTW, I loved all photos displayed in this post 🙂

    1. Thanks for appreciating 🙂 Oh that’s nice 🙂 I used to travel a lot due to work (Consulting) but we usually have Amex – which is pretty “useless” outside America. Grr! But that’s a great way to sort of combine business with pleasure, isn’t it? You get the opportunities to go around and work like the locals do. Then on weekends, you can do a bit sightseeing 😀

  7. Guess it is best to pre-book or atleast check with them about timings before going. Although adults were a bit disappointed your son definitely had a pleasant time. Gorgeous family you have!

    1. Thank you 🙂 Oh yeah, he is happy when we are checked in hotels – I think he knows it is different than our home HAHA!

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