Walking distance into the centre of town, spacious and comfortable family room to accommodate everyone, free parking, affordable and leisure centre. These are the things I always look for when booking a hotel for my family of five.
It’s pretty rare to be able to tick off everything on that list. We’re used to compromising on at least one or two of those requirements as our children are all teenagers. However I’m pleased to report that I have a found a hotel that met all those needs and more when we were on a recent visit to Co. Monaghan.
The popular 4-star Hillgrove Hotel and Spa is a short stroll into Monaghan town and ticked all my boxes. It’s a modern family-friendly hotel that is the perfect base to explore Monaghan with the family.
From the moment you arrive at this Georgina Campbell highly commended hotel, you can see why it’s a popular venue for weddings. Less than an hour’s drive from Belfast and Dublin, the hotel is uber modern and contemporary with its decor and is perfectly equipped to accommodate a large wedding.
Room for Everyone
When we arrived and checked in at the Hillgrove, we headed straight up to the room so the anticipated fight for who has to share with whom could begin, as it usually does. We were surprised to see that everyone would have their own bed. The family room had a huge king-sized bed, a single bed, a pull out sofa bed and a camp bed and there was still plenty of room to move around the room.
Usually we would have to consider the pricey option of interconnecting bedrooms however we were very comfortable in this spacious family room. As I unpacked my bag (as I always like to do), our teens headed downstairs to explore (as they always like to do).
When they came back, our three were excited to report that the pool was massive (20-metre to be exact) with a baby pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. There was even an outdoor hot tub. My eldest was delighted to tell us that there was a brilliant gym which had ‘everything’ and there was even a ‘teen zone’ games room.
Before we had a chance to ask any questions, our eldest had changed into her gym gear and our youngest two had grabbed their swim stuff and they all headed off.
My husband and I were happy to have the chance to go and explore the lively Bistro bar and plan our weekend activities in peace.
Happy kids = happy parents
It’s not just the teenagers that will be happy in the Hillgrove Hotel and Spa. For two years in a row, The Family-First Awards named Hillgrove as their ‘Number One Family Hotel in Ireland’. Proof that there’s plenty for younger kids to do too.
When the rain holds off, there is a fab playground just outside which would be a great way to help the younger kids to burn off some of that energy.
For the older kids, the ‘teen zone’ has a pool table and a selection of game consoles which cost €2 for 30 minutes.
Breakfast in the Hillgrove
Breakfast, in my opinion, is often hit and miss in hotels. The Hillgrove Hotel breakfast was pretty good. I usually prefer a continental breakfast and I was impressed with the selection of fresh fruit and healthy cereal options available. The rest of the family chose hot food from the buffet and said it was ok.
For guests who can’t tolerate gluten, there was a separate area with gluten-free cereals and breads available.
The second morning of our stay, we arrived down for breakfast not long after it opened and not everything had been put out on display yet. A quick question to the waitress resolved this and we didn’t have to wait too long to access all the lovely food options that were available to us the day before.
If you don’t have time to sit down for breakfast they have a coffee dock in the lobby where you can grab breakfast to go.
Dinner in the Hillgrove
After a busy day exploring Monaghan, we decided to book a table and have dinner in the hotel on Saturday night.
When we strolled into the Vettriano Restaurant in the hotel, we were surprised to see how busy it was. There was two large hen nights and a handful of birthday dinner parties.
We decided not to go à la carte as there was an excellent set menu (four courses) at €35 per person. With dishes like Pan Fried Silverhill Duck and 18-hour slow cooked Feather Blade Steak the biggest issue was trying to choose what to have.
As it was busy with groups, it was quite noisy in the restaurant. We saw one family who had to move away from one of the hen parties because of the volume. I was glad we were eating early enough as I can imagine how lively those groups could become as the evening progressed. The staff were lovely though and very attentive and the food was generally tasty and fresh.
With full tummies, we strolled past the newly refurbished PK’s Bar and Bistro on our way back to our room and that was busy too with people enjoying casual bar food watching sport on the large television screens.
The Hillgrove Hotel and Spa take downtime very seriously here. We were told that many people come to stay in the hotel just for Lir’s Spa. While the kids are having a ball in the kids club, parents can book in for treatments or just chill in the Thermal Suite.
Disclaimer – We were offered two nights accommodation at the Hillgrove Hotel and Spa including one dinner in exchange for this review. This review is 100% honest and our own opinion.