Updated: Jun 29, 2021
With all of the uncertainty in the world this summer there is a real argument to look more closely at family stay-cations. There are few places more beautiful when the suns out than Ireland. Everyone is in great form, the green countryside positively shimmers and even the beer tastes better when you’re wearing sunglasses.
Staycations means that there is also no mad dash for airports and flights, checking luggage and passports as you run out the door, mindful not to become a real life Home Alone case as you do the head count of the kids getting into the taxi. Not to mention the cost of flights at height of the summer season. So why not trade all of that in and opt for a luxury stay right here in Ireland.
There are literally hundreds of places to choose from that cater to the family holiday experience. But what makes the family holiday experience? For me its a sense that kids are welcome. That they have designated areas and activities with them in mind. That there are kid friendly menus and most of all that there are plenty of other kids knocking around. Ticking each of these boxes is the beautifully restored former boarding school, Kilashee House, located just 30kms from Dublin on the outskirts of Naas. Set amongst fabulous natural woodlands that boasts a butterfly garden, fairy trail and large kids playground all of which can be explored by bicycles supplied by the hotel. Even in questionable weather there is an abundance of activities, such as the children’s swimming pool, supervised kids club and playroom. So while the parents rejuvenate in the spa or use the large and well equipped health club or just enjoy a drink together there is always time for you.
Slightly further afield is an even greater array of family adventures to be had. Just a few kilometres from the Hotel is the Millennium Maze. This hedge maze is the biggest in Leinster and is set on 2 acres. We arrived with 3 kids in tow feeling fully confident that we would make it to the wooden fort at the centre with a smug smile on our faces. However the experience quickly began to feel like The Shining as we got hopelessly lost with the prize viewing platform always just one bush out of reach. We eventually made it after much Marco Polo when we found a child missing from our group. If being in the movie Maze Runner is not for you then fear not, there are plenty of other actives at this large family park. Zip lines and assault courses along with crazy golf, sandpits and a kids playground means you have plenty of alternatives, theres even a small petting zoo.
Back at the hotel there are a couple of options for dinner. If you want that romantic dinner for 2 experience that you’d almost forgotten how to do, there is the simply fabulous Turner dining room which serves what I have to say was one of the best dining experiences that I can remember. With experienced babysitters available we got a chance to remember how it was before the kids came along. For lunch or dinner there is also the open plan and cavernous Bistro, with big comfortable armchairs, large tables and a buzzy atmosphere that masks the inevitable kids excitement at being served delicious homemade burgers, fish and chips or whatever the current childs favourite happens to be. The quality of the kids meals saw my partner John sneaking a bite of it himself here and there.
If you fancied a change of dining options then a trip into Naas town will give you a large selection of top class restaurants. From Italian Pizzerias such as Rustic to the simply amazing Asian restaurant Indie Spice, which we opted for on one of the nights.
Once the troops were fed it was back to our huge family room to watch one of the kids DVDs available from the hotel. With the number of high energy activities accomplished during the day not one of the children lasted the full movie before sleep caught up with them. Mum and Dad weren’t too far behind either!