Sheen Falls Lodge Rating: 4.5 Pearls
Sheen Falls Lodge not only has an excellent location in County Kerry near some of Ireland's top sights (including, of course, the Ring of Kerry) -- it has numerous features that make it an attractive options for families. Baby cots, high chairs, changing mats, diaper bins, kids' DVDs, board games, and kids' menus are among the many family-friendly amenities on offer. In addition, there are dedicated family times at the indoor pool. Family Rooms are large Deluxe Rooms that can fit two additional beds in the room (most Deluxe Rooms can fit one additional bed). Up to two kids under the age of 12 can stay with their parents free. For larger families, the cottages and villas on the grounds have two to five bedrooms. This 300-acre estate set on Kenmare Bay and Sheen River has views of gentle, tumbling waterfalls, and estate activities range from clay pigeon shooting to fishing to tennis.
Ashford Castle Rating: 4.5 Pearls
Asfhord Castle's wide range of estate activities make it a great choice for families. Falconry lessons, boat tours on the lake, clay shooting, and archery will appeal to all ages. And kids are likely to be delighted by the prospect of staying in a true Irish castle. With the massive historic stone facade, complete with towers and turrets; gorgeous, manicured grounds; a stunning setting on a huge lake; and common spaces that are truly grand, with rich wood paneling, chandeliers, and antique furniture, kids may feel like they've dropped straight into a Disney movie. Kids even receive special amenities just for them: for children under the age of two, a teddy bear; and for children two to 11, kid-size robes and slippers, kids' menus, and teddy bears. Babysitting services are available. Family Rooms come with two queen-size beds and can accommodate two adults and two children (as long as both children are under the age of 12).
Ballynahinch Castle Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The 40-room Ballynahinch Castle Hotel is a less formal, more accessible alternative to the more famous Ashford Castle to the east. It has a riverfront location amid the wild, unspoiled beauty of Connemara and decor that's alternately homey and elegant. It's more of a manor house than a castle, but the main structure dates to the 18th century and both the building and the estate are steeped in history. The 450-acre grounds offer a range of activities for families, including beautiful hikes, woodcock shooting, and fishing. Both restaurants serve terrific gourmet cuisine using fish, game, and mushrooms from the surrounding region. Superior Rooms can fit an extra single bed.
The Croke Park Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls
This 232-room property on the north side of Dublin is one of the city's most kid-friendly options. Free kids board games, puzzles, and toys are on offer, as is a children's movie room were kid-friendly cartoons and movies are played. In addition, kids' bathrobes and bubble bath, a healthy kids' menu, evening storytime, and seasonal activities (such as the Easter Adventure party in the afternoons) make this an excellent family pick. Rooms are modern, with stocked minibars, fluffy duvets, and electric kettles. Bathrooms offer separate soaking tubs and nice walk-in showers. Hotel highlights include a sunny fitness room, bistro, and bar. With free Wi-Fi, free parking, and a hearty breakfast, this hotel is a good pick for value, but the city center is a substantial walk away.
Four Seasons Hotel Dublin Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The Four Seasons is a stately property on a big piece of land in the leafy Ballsbridge neighborhood. The 197 rooms and suites have traditional, pleasant decor with light colors and floral patterns, but the overall effect is a bit bland. Big, marble bathrooms have separate soaking tubs and walk-in showers, however. There are several dining options here, including a tapas bar, surf and turf restaurant, and a casual cafe. Family-friendly highlights include a sunny indoor pool, kid-friendly toiletries, child-sized bathrobes, welcomes gift for tots, and babysitting service arrangements.
The Merrion Hotel Rating: 5.0 Pearls
The Merrion is an excellent choice for well-behaved kids, featuring an indoor pool and a kids' room service menu. Cribs are available upon request, as are rollaway beds (for most room types). Coloring books can be provided for little ones in The Cellar Restaurant, and kid-size bathrobes are offered in the rooms. Babysitting services can be arranged upon request.
Castleknock Hotel & Country Club Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The Castleknock Hotel and Country Club is a comfortable, spacious property with a resort feel, outside of the center of Dublin. The 134 rooms are pleasant and modern with great golf course views. Standard rooms are a decent size while the suites are extremely spacious with fun design touches. Room amenities include free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and electric kettles. The hotel has two bars -- one with a big outdoor patio area -- a steakhouse, a brasserie for more casual dining, and a patisserie for quick breakfasts. With a large pool and a playground, this hotel has tons to offer families.
Maldron Hotel Cardiff Lane Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The 304-room Maldron Hotel Cardiff Lane is located near the Grand Canal Theatre, just south of the River Liffey. While the location isn't exactly in the city center, it is a short walk away from central Trinity College and Temple Bar. Spacious, contemporary rooms offer good value, especially considering the free Wi-Fi, and include electric kettles and safes; some have small balconies. The furniture might be a bit generic, but the hotel has impressive family-friendly features, including the huge indoor lap pool and children's pool. Babysitting services can be arranged prior to arrival.
Camden Court Hotel Rating: 3.0 Pearls
The Camden Court Hotel is a 266-room property with a convenient location in Dublin's south side. Rooms have flat-screen TVs, electric kettles, and free Wi-Fi, and Family Rooms offer one queen bed and one twin. The highlight of this hotel is the leisure center that includes a heated lap pool, a large full gym, massage clinic, salon, sauna, steam room, and Jacuzzi. While the leisure center is a perk, the location is the biggest reason to choose Camden Court. Dublin's most popular sights and nightlife are within easy walking distance, along with local pubs and restaurants.
Harrington Hall Rating: 3.0 Pearls
The Harrington Hall is a 30-room hotel set in a historic Georgian building. The rooms are dated, with lower-quality bedspreads and patterned curtains, but they are spacious and clean. Some rooms cater specifically to families, such as the Triple Room with one double bed and one twin bed, making this a convenient option for families traveling on a budget. Room amenities include electric kettles and, in some rooms, flat-screen TVs. One highlight is the residence lounge, a classically decorated living room with a fireplace and computer for guest use. The hotel offers free Wi-Fi in public areas, and the location is near many restaurants and some of Dublin's best nightlife.