I was very lucky a couple of weeks ago & won a prize of an overnight stay at Citywest Hotel & tickets to Disney on Ice for our family. As my husband had to work I decided to brave it & bring the children myself. I always wondered what it was like to stay on site for events like this & if it was worth it. The resounding answer I decided on is... eh... NO.
We arrived for check in at about to be told that we had to park in the event centre car park. I advised them that I was staying at the hotel & I had young children so I wanted to park nearer the hotel in the hotel car park. Apparently nothing could be done as they closed all other car parks & I had to park there then try to negotiate my way through a huge car park of moving cars with a pram, our luggage & little hands to hold.
Check in was crazy but the line moved fairly quickly & the receptionist was lovely. As there were so many families staying you had to book the swimming pool, which was already booked out by the time we arrived. The lobby was utter bedlam but the concierge seemed to have a handle on it.
We had stayed at Citywest Hotel before & had a great time but this time we got a room on the 5th floor, it was a nightmare. As soon as I opened the door to our room it was like stepping into Mordor with an instant sheen of sweat on my face. I made sure the radiator was off & opened the window to allow the room to cool while we were out.
Half an hour later when I tried to exit the car park, all exits were blocked so they had to remove the barriers to allow me to leave. Corkagh Park is just 10 minutes drive from the hotel so I decided to bring the children over there to run off some of their excitement. It’s a 300 acre park with lots to do for young & old alike, including a free pet farm & playground. You can even go fishing if you fancy it.
Later that evening after another fiasco in the car park, we got back to our hotel room & it was as hot as ever so I jumped the children into a lukewarm bath to cool them down. I fed the baby who was now down to his vest & nappy but still roasting. I gave up & called reception for a fan to be told there are no fans in the hotel. She advised that I should just put on my air con, then she said 'Oh wait you don’t have air con in that room, just open the window.' The window was tiny, but I couldn't have it open as the noise of the air con going to the other rooms was deafening with the window open & just about bearable with the window closed. She then called back to offer a change of rooms but at that stage it was after & the children were in bed trying to sleep.
Breakfast wasn’t as crazy as I would have thought but then again we went down at . The staff here were fabulous offering me help with the children, they really couldn't do enough. Breakfast itself was lovely with fresh fruit, breads & cereals on offer to complement the full Irish also available. When we got back to reception to check out it was crazy with tons of people milling about so I opted for express check out & got out of there.
We headed straight through the blue sea of little girls in Frozen dresses for the event centre to see Disney on Ice. Prices were astronomical with a cup of frozen drink setting you back up to €12, it was also €12 for a bag of candy floss. A plastic sword was €16 while a light up twirly Olaf was a staggering €21.
Of course me being the savvy mammy of 5, I had a bag packed with party bags I had made up before we left home which included glow sticks from Dealz. The staff in the event centre were brilliant & when they saw I was on my own with the children they moved us to a block on our own to give me more room to feed the baby during the show! The children really loved the show & it was totally different to the last Disney on Ice, even my 6 month old was mesmerised by the lights & songs.
While I would stay in Citywest Hotel again, I certainly wouldn't stay during any event, I can imagine it might be easier if you're part of a couple but with little ones in tow, it’s just not worth it.
Have you stayed with Citywest, while there was an event on? How did you fare?