We spent a family weekend here in June 1012, 2 adults and 3 kids aged 5 to 10. Natural Retreats is a small collection (total 13 locations) of rental houses connected to up-market hotels in Ireland, the UK, the Canaries and the US. Visitors can either become members, or rent on an ad-hoc basis. We were ad-hoc renters, and this was our first experience of Natural Retreats. The location here is stunning, in the grounds of the fabulous 5 star Parknasilla hotel. The rental houses are about 15 to 20 minutes walk from the hotel, and house guests can use all the facilities of the hotel, including the restaurants and the spa (which we used extensively). There are some fantastic walks in the grounds, well laid out by the hotel, and with excellent maps. There is also a kids fairy walk, which is worth a visit. The house we stayed in was semi-detached with 3 bedrooms, one of about 20 units. It was recently built, and a very good size, with 3 large double bedrooms, a large living/dining room and a large galley kitchen. There are two good-sized bathrooms (one en-suite) and an extra toilet downstairs. All-in-all, the perfect size for a self-catering stay, with the added benefit of being able to eat in the hotel if desired (though rain meant we had to drive up to the hotel for meals). In our package, at EUR 275 per night, meals were charged as an extra. Serivce in the hotel was very friendly and accomodating - the hotel has a long history in hospitality, and it shows. However, some of the procedures meant longish delays in checking in, making enquires, booking meals etc. While the location - on the beautiful ring of Kerry, in the grounds of a fantastic hotel - is hard to beat, I was disappointed by some features of the house. There was a feeling of poor finishing in the build - soap dishes off the wall, bathroom layout poor (toilet too close to the sink); the parking area was full of potholes, which filled up with rain water and became mini ponds; the area for rubbish disposal was untidy with bins in open sight of the houses. While these are small gripes, at this price level more is to be expected. The work needed to rectify these problems is small, but by not identifying and correcting these issues, the name of both Parknasilla and Natural Retreats is tarnished. In summary, a great family self-catering house with benefits, in a fantastic location, though with some work needed to justify the price level.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- To discover the charm of Ireland with the perfect holiday on the Ring of Kerry, Parknasilla is the place to be. The resort has a rich heritage dating back to 1692, attracting such literary luminaries as George Bernard Shaw to its beautiful location. The name Parknasilla comes from the Irish, Pairc na Saileac, meaning the 'Field of the Willow Trees'. Due to the effects of the Gulf Stream and its sheltered position, the resort boasts a pleasant climate where vegetation flourishes. ... more less