Our 3 day stay in Northern Ireland saw us check into the Roe Park resort in Limavady. After our excursion to the Bushmills distillery, we were delighted to find that the hotel was not too far away – something we found a common theme over the next few days as the hotel is excellently situated to allow easy access to numerous sites and attractions.
The first thing we noticed upon arrival was the sheer size of the setup. There was parking to spare, the extensive grounds were beautifully kept, and the wide corridors and vast reception area of the hotel itself gave a real sense of freedom from the very beginning of our stay. Check-in was fast and easy, carried out by friendly and welcoming staff and this attitude was evident throughout our visit – we returned on day two from our tour to find we had been left some chocolate-dipped strawberries with cream, a bottle of Prosecco, and a bottle of Schloer for Grace. Lovely!
Initially, we were given room 216 and were impressed with the room at first sight. Grace was happy with her bed and Ross and I were impressed with the frankly colossal bed for the grown-ups! However, we quickly found out that the Wi-Fi in this particular room was practically non-existent which, as I’m sure you could imagine, was not something I could compromise on being a blogger and sharing pretty much everything on social media! We phoned reception and, within five minutes, a member of staff was with us to resolve the problem. When it became clear that our room was weak on the Wi-Fi, we were moved to another room. Whilst that room boasted better Wi-Fi, the bed was considerably smaller and Ross now had his heart set on one of the massive beds! The hotel obliged and tried a third room which, I’m pleased to say, we were all absolutely thrilled with. Room 207 was a family suite and offered us plenty of space, plenty of Wi-Fi and a wonderful view. I really would recommend this sort of family room to anybody travelling with their children.
A selection of shampoos, conditioners, and body washes are provided as well as several towels to make sure you don’t have to keep asking for your stock to be replenished. The room had a fridge and a safe, both of which we used, as well as an iron, ironing board and hairdryer, which we did not. It had an in-bath shower which was powerful and easy to operate. The cleanliness of the room was excellent and I have to draw particular attention to the curtains, strange as it may seem. They were so thick and well affixed that not a crack of light could get into the room when they were fully closed – very good for a solid night’s sleep… at least when the grounds aren’t being mowed at 6.30am! – a slice of constructive criticism for the hotel here – we appreciate that you need to tend your lawns but 6.30am is a little early to wake up your guests with the humming of lawnmowers.
Another comment I would suggest the hotel should take on board is to upgrade the TV offering. I would expect slightly more than a basic Freeview package from a hotel of such standing. Even though we weren’t in the hotel enough to spend long watching TV, we weren’t able to find anything at all when we did want to unwind with a little telly – to the point where we actually ended up watching reruns of Bullseye. Jim Bowen was a helluva presenter, it must be said!
Over our three night stay, we were able to experience both of the resort’s restaurants, eating our breakfast in Green’s and our dinners in The Coach House. Both are airy spaces, with plenty of room so you feel included in the vibe of the place but far enough away from other diners to enjoy privacy. The Coach House, in particular, has the benefit of several rooms so that you can enjoy a new feel and view each night.
Green’s offers a buffet breakfast with a continental or cooked option where you can eat as much or as little as you like. We all had different things on different days and found the quality of the food to be outstanding. Everything was well presented and well cooked. Grace was happy enough with cereal, French bread and some sausages whilst Ross indulged himself with fried eggs, bacon, sausage and tomato. I tried all of those, as well as the potato cakes and it was very difficult to not overeat, such was the quality of the fayre provided! Ross and I also tried the porridge, which we found to be a superb consistency and temperature, perfect to suit the tastes of even the most discerning fairytale bear.
To see a larger image of the food, simply click on any photo in the gallery below:
Dinner at The Coach House was an enjoyable affair each night – the staff were welcoming and diligent and we were neither rushed nor left waiting for too long between courses. Prices are reasonable, although perhaps slightly on the high side for what is actually on offer, and quality is good. For the most part, we were happy with what we had although, being honest, there were some mixed reviews.
Ross rated the Thai Green Curry he had on Monday to be “one of the best curries (he’d) ever had” but found Wednesday’s “Cock and Bull” (chicken steak and beef fillet medallion) somewhat disappointing. Whilst the fillet was excellent, the rest of the meal was apparently bland, especially the roast potatoes which were so large that they didn’t have any crispiness to the outside and the middle was closer to raw than cooked. For my part, I enjoyed all three of my main courses, selecting Seabass on Monday, half roasted duck on Tuesday and Louisiana Chicken on Wednesday.
Dessert was also excellent and, between us, we sampled a Baileys and White Chocolate Cheesecake, Rich Chocolate Fondant, Honeycomb Sundae, Salted Caramel Bourbon Slice and the Cheeseboard. All of these were superb except for the Cheeseboard. We felt that was overpriced for what we got and a disappointing selection – the Irish cheddar was excellent but a small slice of indifferent Brie and some very bland Goat’s Cheese failed to impress. The waiter also mentioned something about Stilton but that never made it to the plate, apparently! A small complaint though because all of the sweet deserts was outstanding.
The biggest criticism of The Coach House is that there are limited options for children, especially when it comes to what is often their favourite part of the dining experience – the dessert. Indeed, no hotel should only offer two dessert options on their children’s menu. There are also no starters for children, which left Grace feeling left out (and stealing from our starters!). The main course options for kids are fine but limited – so this may prove challenging for those families who eat in the restaurant on several days during their stay.
The drink selection is good with plenty of wine options, draught Guinness and Bass ale. Ross and I also enjoyed coffee liqueurs, having an Irish coffee (with Bushmills – what else?!) and a monks coffee (with Grand Marnier). These were well presented and very flavoursome.
Finally, we have to give a particular nod of the hat to the fellow who waited on us the first two nights of our stay – Kyle was attentive, chatty without being intrusive and definitely deserves a pat on the back for his work. I hope this review will encourage his boss to give him a pay rise!
When it comes to leisure at the facility, it seems like an ideal setup for both genders – without wishing to seem too sexist, the men can head off for a round of golf whilst the women go to indulge themselves in some pampering at the spa. We did neither but I caught Ross eyeing up the golf course several times. Understandably so – it was remarkably well maintained, stretched as far as the eye could see and looked like an excellent course for the golf lover in your life.
As for the spa, what we saw was pleasant, with plenty of treatments on offer. The gym, available to all residents of the hotel, was extremely well appointed. In fact, I would go as far as saying it was the best hotel gym I have ever seen. There was a cardio section including treadmills, cross trainers, rowing machines and exercise bikes, a free weights section as well as resistance machines – some of which Ross tells me you don’t even find in some dedicated gyms!
Sadly, we did not get to try out the swimming pool and this was probably the most disappointing thing about our stay. Initially, we were offered a choice of two hotels in Ireland and both looked fantastic. In the end, thinking of Grace’s passion for pools, we went with the Roe Park Resort because of their swimming facilities. However, when we went for a dip on Wednesday morning, we were told that nobody was allowed in the pool unless they were wearing a swimming cap – which could be bought from reception at £2.50 each.
This rankled with me for a couple of reasons – firstly, all the resort’s promotional material shows people in the swimming pool not wearing swimming caps, nor does it mention anywhere that a cap is compulsory. Secondly, whilst I have never been to a swimming pool in my life where they insist on swimming caps without exception, if they are going to insist we play by these rules, I believe they should offer the caps for free. After all, paying £7.50 for three swimming caps only for “a quick dip” doesn’t seem right to me. Grace was very disappointed with this, and Ross and I were disappointed for her.
Lack of swimming aside and the minor niggles with the evening menu, we were very impressed by the hotel and can more than happily recommend it. There are a few areas that could be improved, as I’ve highlighted in this review, but there’s far more to be impressed by and I’m sure any of my readers who visit this venue will thoroughly enjoy themselves.
Disclosure: We were provided with 3 night stay with Roe Park Resort Hotel on a half board basis in conjunction with Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council. Please note that all words, images and opinions have been formed by the owner of this blog and have not been influenced in any way. Please do not reproduce any of the content or images on this post without prior agreement from Victoria Visits.