When you have a wide age range of children, like we do (4, 7, 16), it can be difficult to find somewhere to go that offers plenty for everybody to do, and a chance for parents to get some downtime too. Members of my family have been heading down to Athlone to the Hodson Bay Hotel for years and speak very highly of the family break package. Therefore for a family celebration in the Spring, nearly 20 of us descended on the hotel over school holidays. Here’s just a flavour of our experience.
For our brood, we had booked a 2 bedroom family suite which had a shared hallway and bathroom. There is plenty of space in the suite and the room arrangement means that you can accommodate two different bedtimes. Something that can be difficult when everybody is sharing the one room! We were pleasantly surprised to be welcomed with some Easter Eggs for the kids (we stayed over the Easter hols), and some sweet treats for the adults in the room.
Percy’s Kids’ Camp
If you book a family package over the school holidays at the Hodson Bay, kids aged between 4-12 go free to this camp which is run in the morning (and includes lunch), and at night (including dinner). I found it to be well organised and the staff had no problem with me checking in on the kids at any stage, and they rang me on the mobile with any queries. I just had to stay on the hotel grounds in case of emergencies.
Activities For Adults
We joined the free whiskey tasting on one night (very entertaining and informative), and also a wine tasting on the second night, again great. There is at least one free organised activity for adults every day of the week.
The gym is reasonably equipped and we always found it to be quiet enough. The swimming pool is good but in demand over the school holidays, so it can get hectic at times. The spa facilities are beautiful and well kept; use of the thermal spa costs €15 per person and treatments are extra.
Bay Sports have opened their giant inflatable water park outside the hotel again this Summer. We’ve not tried it out, other family members have, and it looks brilliant (there is an extra charge for this).
Breakfasts and main meals are included as part of the family break package. Breakfast is a very generous buffet with plenty of healthy options; the children ate extremely well at the kids’ camp as well. Our main meals are taken in the L’Escale restaurant; food and service were equally excellent. While we were there the staff organised a fresh cream and fruit Birthday cake for a family member which was a huge hit.
On the first night we arrived we dined in the bar, and the food was hit and miss if I’m really honest about it. However we ate in the bar for lunch the following day and it was far better. The pictures above are of the bar food (I didn’t take pictures in the main restaurant). To be fair, I’ve eaten at the Hodson Bay Hotel a number of times now (not just on this trip) and 99% of my experience has been positive.
We took a blustery boat trip to Athlone Town Centre which was free as part of the family package. The kids loved this trip, particularly that they all got a chance to navigate one of Ireland’s biggest lakes. From the minute we parked the car up in the car park of the hotel we didn’t need to take the car out again. We could have spent longer in the town only for the weather got the better of us. It strikes me that this would be a great day trip out shopping in Athlone without worrying about parking!
Prices for 2 nights for a value family break start from €410 over the Summer holidays. This is based on 2 nights B&B in a family room for 2 adults, 2 children; dinner for the adults, the children’s meals are all included and the kids camp. Now just to note, if you have a child aged above 12 years then you will have to pay extra for their afternoon and evening meals. There is a room for teenagers to hang out in (our teen wasn’t interested) however she really enjoyed the pool/gym area, free wifi, and plenty of space to read.
We were so impressed with the Hodson Bay Hotel we’ve since booked to spend more time there again as a family this Summer.
We were paying guests at the Hodson Bay Hotel and this review not been sponsored or requested by the hotel. If you want to know more about my disclosure policy please click here.