Are you looking for a short break destination in Ireland with a toddler? Are you having the hotel or self catering debate? If so, The Strand Inn in Dunmore East in County Waterford is defenitely worth considering. We are just back from a 3 night break, and had a very enjoyable stay.
The best thing about this hotel is it’s location overlooking a sheltered bay with a sandy beach. The tide comes right up at times, so it’s not accessible all day, but our 15 month old girl loved toddling along the sand at low tide picking up stones, and chasing seagulls.
It is a family run hotel and has that nice vibe where the staff seem genuinely interested in making your stay enjoyable.
We had booked the large family room, and it consisted of two double rooms and a bathroom connected with a hallway. It was newly decorated in a simple scandanavian style, and would have been handy to have the toddler sleeping in one room while we were up in the evening. However it doesn’t really have a seating area, and is at the back of the hotel so there are no views out the windows, so the evenings would have been a bit boring.
In the end we didn’t actually sleep in that room. As we were heading out to explore the village the manager offered us another suite with two large sea view windows.
The main bedroom had a seating area, and there was also an anteroom where the toddler could sleep. It meant in the evenings we could tiptoe out to bring up drinks from the bar (at Dublin drink prices) and sit and watch the waves and fishing boats coming in, which was very relaxing. This room hadn’t been decorated quite as recently and had a shower instead of a bath, so it might not suit some families, but we liked it.
The hotel provided a travel cot and sheets, but the mattress was a little hard, so the first night she didn’t sleep well, and we probably kept the whole hotel awake. Then my husband had the good idea of padding the bed with a window seat cushion and she slept much better the next two nights.
The only criticism I have of the hotel is they didn’t start serving breakfast until 8.30am. Before children that would have been ideal, but now even after a good night sleep my girl is usually up at 6am, and is used to eating around 7.303, so it was a long stretch to breakfast. Luckily the weather was nice so we could fill the time with a stroll round the village before breakfast, and give her some milk and fruit to keep her satisfied.
There are some nice viewpoints and walks along to the harbour, and the village has a few small shops which are handy. Some of the hills are a bit steep with a pram but it’s all very manageable.
As it’s a relatively small hotel it doesn’t have play rooms or facilities, but just up the hill is a nice grassy park with a playground to go for a run around, until it is time for breakfast.
The breakfast room was lovely and they had a high chair ready for us. My girl had yoghurt, fruit and bread and a small portion of scrambled egg. Some mornings it all got eaten, and others most of it ended up on the floor but the staff were very nice about that.
When booking we had debated whether self catering would be better so we could make snacks for our toddler, but I have to admit I really liked having my breakfast cooked for me. The room didn’t have any fridge or facilities to store snacks for her, but we were out most of the day so it wasn’t really an issue.
If you have a toddler who likes nature and being outside then this a great hotel. When she’s a bit older we might need more catering facilities and entertainment, but at 15 months, and with relatively good weather it suited us. So many family rooms in hotels are just bigger rooms with extra beds, but here they are actually separate rooms. That combined with the friendly staff make this a good “family hotel” and I would visit again.