We stayed at the Fairview Hotel in Killarney for two nights on our Summer Holiday in Ireland & Scotland. The Fairview is a 29-room boutique hotel. This trip was before I conceived of Middle Age Miles, so I don’t have many of my own photos of the hotel property. But I wanted to at least provide a review of The Fairview as we found it to be a reasonable (albeit imperfect) option in Killarney, at a very good price.
I’ll use some photos from the Fairview’s website to supplement my written review. In general, I believe the specific photos I’ve used here are representative of our experience. However, I would say that overall, the photos on the hotel’s website show the Fairview in its very best light, and perhaps make it look just a little nicer than it actually is.
Booking and Rate
As I mentioned in our “How We Did It” article for this trip, there are a number of hotels in Killarney as it’s a tourist town. To my knowledge, none of them are affiliated with chains, and I don’t believe there are any in town that are affiliated with points programs. (The Europe Hotel & Resort, a very nice-looking place a few kilometers west of Killarney on the Lakes, is affiliated with the iPrefer program. But we wanted to stay in town.) I probably would have chosen the place where Philly & I had stayed before, Killarney Plaza Hotel, but it was already sold out for our dates (even 4 months in advance; I suspect tour groups had booked it full). I did a lot of searching on Google Maps, hotels.com, and other sites, and I finally settled on the Fairview Hotel. The Fairview looked nice enough, its location in town was good enough, and the rates were reasonable.
I booked a Junior Suite for Philly & me and a Superior Room for the girls. The booking was made online, direct through the Fairview’s website, about 3½ months in advance of our stay. The Junior Suite was 151 Euros per night and the Superior Room averaged 118 Euros per night, using a “the more you stay, the less you pay” rate that included breakfast and all taxes. All-in price for two rooms, two nights was 538 Euros (about $593 then). This seemed very reasonable. Cancellation policy was 72 hours prior to our arrival date.
Our reservation confirmation looked like this:
The town of Killarney is a very popular tourist location in southwest Ireland. Most notably, it is the traditional start/finish point for people driving the well-known Ring of Kerry, a roughly 180 km circular route west-southwest of Killarney chock-full of dramatic cliff views and other amazing Irish scenery. Killarney is very popular with tour operators, who fill the town and its hotels with buses full of visitors, night after night during the high tourist season. It has (mostly) retained the feel of an Irish village, while having a critical mass of hotels and restaurants to accommodate a steady influx of visitors.
I was a bit concerned about the location of the Fairview within Killarney, as it sits on the far east of the center of town. When Philly & I had stayed at the Killarney Plaza Hotel on our previous trip, we had really enjoyed being very close to the town center, within easy walking distance of shopping, restaurants and pubs. I was worried that being outside the heart of the town would cause issues with being able to easily enjoy the town. [Looking at the map below, the center of Killarney would be roughly in a box formed by connecting Penneys, the Tesco Superstore, the International Hotel, and the Killarney Towers Hotel.]
The location of the Fairview in relation to the center of Killarney actually turned out not to be a problem. Yes, it was a few blocks further to the heart of town, but it was still easily walkable, 10 minutes or less to most anywhere you’d want to go.
Parking was somewhat interesting at the Fairview, but again, not terribly inconvenient. The main parking area for the hotel is across the street and a block or so north. This is an open, pay lot, so you have to be cognizant of making sure you’re paid up.
I have one more story about the location of the Fairview, which I’ll save for later in the review.
Arrival, Check-In and Service
Check-in time at the Fairview is supposed to be from 3:30 pm until 10:00 pm (see the note on our reservation confirmation above), so you need to be aware of that window when planning your arrival. We were pushing 10:00 pm when we arrived, and it might have been a challenge if we had arrived later as the front office actually shuts down at night.
Fortunately, the Fairview has a couple of loading/unloading spots to park, right in front of the hotel. This makes it very easy to get bags into and out of the hotel, even though the official parking lot is a bit away.
Our check-in process and overall service throughout our stay at the Fairview were fine – not what you’d get at a full-service luxury hotel, but perfectly fine and commensurate with the price.
Upon entry, the front area is a bit cramped. To the immediate left (not pictured below) is a sitting area called the Lobby Lounge. The very small hotel office (also not pictured) is ahead and slightly to the left, and just beyond the office is the stairwell (both of our rooms were located one floor up). To the right is the breakfast room.
We had booked a Junior Suite for Philly & me, and a Superior Twin Room for the girls. Both rooms were one floor up.
Both of the rooms, even the Junior Suite, were fairly small. The room and bathroom pictures below are generally accurate representations of our Junior Suite room, although we had one bed rather than the two pictured.I didn’t get a good look at the girls’ Superior Room, so I can’t comment on whether the Superior Room photo on the Fairview’s website is accurate.
If the Junior Suite in the photo looks a bit cramped, that’s because it was. You’ll also see that the bathroom didn’t have much (if any) counter space. (It did, though, have a towel warmer as shown in the picture!)
The windows you can see at the far end of the Junior Suite opened, and that was a good thing as the hotel air conditioning either wasn’t working, or wasn’t working well enough to keep us cool at night. We opened the window, but that was a double-edged sword. Our room faced the front of the Fairview, and immediately next door is a youth hostel with an outdoor patio where the hostel guests tended to gather at night (and be loud at times). We decided to keep the window open and put up with the outside noise from the hostel and street traffic, which fortunately died down as the nights wore on.
Restaurants & Bars
Although we did not eat dinner in the hotel restaurant, we did have breakfast at the hotel on both mornings of our stay as it was included in our rate. The breakfast room is located near the front entrance of the hotel, just to the right as you enter, and it’s also immediately at the bottom of the stairway. The breakfast room itself is very nice, albeit a little cramped, much like the rest of the hotel.
Breakfast at the Fairview was very tasty and made for a great start to the day, even on our first morning when we had to be there the moment it opened for service. The fruit, cereal and bread on the buffet spread were good, and the juices were fresh. You could also order menu items such as pancakes and bacon.There is also a small bar in the Fairview as well as the Lobby Lounge area. I’ve included a picture of the Lobby Lounge below, but we did not use either area, save for sitting down for a moment or two in the Lobby Lounge here and there.
The Fairview Is Next to the Shire Bar!
Maria & Erin are huge fans of the Lord of the Rings books and movies. They were thrilled to find out that next door to the Fairview (actually attached to/part of the hostel) was the Hobbit-themed Shire Bar!Now, I have to say that it wasn’t immediately clear whether the Shire Bar was a place we should be hanging out. After all, it was attached to the hostel, where beds go for 20 Euros a night or less. There were often a number of people outside, you couldn’t tell quite what they were up to (other than smoking), and sometimes they were fairly rowdy.
But in any event, we decided to go for it on our last night in Killarney, and we had a fun time. The Shire goes all-in on Hobbit-themed decor and drinks. The beer menu includes Bilbo’s Beer, Frodo’s Lager, and Gandalf’s Ale. Specialty drinks include the Middle Earth Mojito, the Mordorita, and the Shire Bar’s fabulous Hobbit Juice (secret family recipe). For what it’s worth, the specialty drinks cost almost as much (9 Euros) as a night at the hostel!
In the photo above, you can see the remnants of our Hobbit Juice in the glasses/jars on the table. The shot in my hand is the Fires of Mordor, and I believe the girls have Get Legolas shots in theirs.
We turned back in to the Fairview before it got too late, and we survived our night at the Shire Bar. Good times 🙂