We had the great pleasure of staying at Amber Springs Hotel in Wexford recently for a family wedding. We were very excited for the wedding but also at the prospect of checking out what we had been told was an extremely family friendly location.
The drive down was easier and quicker than I thought, just under an hour once we were on the m50 from Dublin. Once you get to Gorey town, the hotel is located in a prime location. You feel as though you are in the countryside, yet you are only a 5 minute walk from lots of shops and restaurants should you need anything during your stay.
Although the likelihood of that is slim! There is absolutely everything you need for a great stay on site.
When we arrived we had booked a standard family room. We asked at the time of booking and check in to be put in a very quiet room as we have a 2 year old who doesn't sleep well with any sort of outside noise. Unfortunately, on the first night there, the noise was VERY loud outside our room and was keeping Ava awake. I went down to the front desk and was immediately accommodated by the very lovely Dawn. She managed to get us transferred into one of the hotels newly built Amber Family Suites.
The idea behind the Amber Family Suites is to cater specifically for families. Once we moved rooms, it was easy to see why the hotel has become a mecca of sorts for family vacations in Ireland. The Suites have been built in a separate wing of the hotel and only those with a keycard can access it. So you don't have any hotel traffic passing through the corridors.
The room was absolutely massive (a whopping 65sqm) and had all of the conveniences one would want when travelling with children. Spacious bathroom, low lighting, plenty of wardrobe space, fridge and large flatscreen TV to name but a few. I'll also mention here that we were in one of the standard Amber Family Suites shown above. There is also an option to book an Amber Family Den which is almost the same layout except that there is a room within the room. In the smaller room there is a bunkbed and space for a cot or crib. So if you are travelling with older children or kids who might want their own space, this would be a great option for you. I thought this was such a cool room option as lots of hotel only offer standard layouts, which aren't really that suitable for most of us travelling with families.
Thankfully Ava settled into the new room, and we did not even hear a peep of outside noise for the rest of our stay.
The following day, we enjoyed all of the activities that the hotel has to offer. Swimming in the gorgeous pool followed by an afternoon of exploring the outdoor actives- the petting farm was a great hit, as was the go karting. Ava was very brave and had a go on it with her Mom. We also explored all of the playgrounds (there are 3 outdoor play areas) and had a wander around the lovely grounds.
There were plenty of other activities on offer but Ava was slightly young to avail of these, though I heard great reports back from her cousins. There is a nightly family friendly movie and kids club from 7-10pm and they even do talent shows. Arts and crafts is also very popular. And all of these activities are totally free of charge. The only extra cost throughout the weekend was to go on the go-kart (3 euro.)
The next morning Ava then enjoyed playing in the 'Playzone' indoor soft play area with all of her cousins. One last trip to the playground and petting zoo- and then we left the hotel wanting to come back soon for another stay.
A quick word here about the food- on our first day here we were attending the wedding and the kitchen was very kind to cater to our vegetarian and coeliac requirements. My wife said that her asparagus and mushroom risotto was the best she had ever tasted! Very high praise coming from a self proclaimed foodie. My spinach and ricotta ravioli was absolutely out of this world.
On both mornings the buffet breakfast was lovely, and while the selection was not that wide, the thing that stood apart was the excellent service from all the staff. And that was reflective of the whole stay. The staff at the Amber Springs Hotel are ready and willing to do what they can to make your stay as enjoyable and memorable as possible. Perhaps this is what sets them apart?
My main advice when travelling with a family, is to stretch your budget that little bit to make sure you can book one of the Amber Family Suites. It is worth every penny to have that extra space for your little ones and give you the peace of mind of a comfortable and restful stay. (Well as relaxing as travelling with kids can possibly get!!)
Check out the Amber Springs website here.