|Ross Castle on the lakes, quite close to Randles Court and Dromhall hotels.|
First she said she was six. A little later, Kay Randles admitted to maybe being sixteen when she and husband Neil started in the hotel business in 1964. That was the year they purchased a bungalow across the road from their thriving garage business in Killarney and opened an 18 bedroom hotel on the site.
Sadly Neil died in 1987 and Kay was left to carry on managing the Dromhall and the other family businesses as well as rearing their six children, three of them at that stage involved in the family business. No stopping Kay and in 1992, The Rectory next door was purchased and another hotel built, this the Randles Court, a 4 star hotel.
The family decided to knock down the Dromhall in 1999 and in June of the following year, it was reopened as the brand new 72 bedroom, conference and banqueting hotel, that it is today, along with the well known Kayne’s Bar and Bistro which is attached to the hotel.
|View from the terrace of Randles Court|
So in 2014, the four star Dromhall celebrates 50 years in business and that means fifty years in her own hotel business for Kay who still continues to play a major role in its management. The young lady from Kilworth has come a long way from her days working up the ranks in the Victoria Hotel in Cork City. Her teenage dream of having her own guesthouse has been spectacularly surpassed. It was great to have a brief chat with her on a recent visit, even if we didn't get anywhere, not that I was pushing, about her true age back in 1964.
Daughter Susan is the Sales and Marketing Director at Randles Hotels and she is expecting a busy season. We met in the stylish and comfortable drawing room of Randles Court and indeed that style is present throughout the hotel, much of it thanks to Kay.
Susan says that not all diners now require a sit down three or four course meal and so the Randles menu has been adjusted, is more flexible. You can of course still get your big meals but, between the bar menu and the restaurant menu (and that Checkers Restaurant is another striking room), you can have small meals and in-between ones (light bites from seven euro) as well.
|Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Kay Randles start|
the celebrations earlier in May.
Everything from Marinated Olives for two euro to a steak. The steaks, served with a Knockanore Smoked Cheese, Onion and Mushroom Tart, Garlic and Rosemary infused Tomato and Pommery Mustard Cream, are supplied by Cronin’s and are as popular as ever.
Late in the evening, we enjoyed some banter and a lovely glass of Rioja in Wiggs Bar and The Conservatory. Wiggs Killarney Bar brings you back in time as it is part of the original building dating back to 1906. Even the stained glass feature has been maintained. Indeed, the original facade of the Rectory has also been maintained and fronts the hotel's reception area.
Our room in Randles Court, by the way, had everything we needed, including WI-FI and views of the mountains, but we also enjoyed some very comfortable furniture and there was no shortage of paintings on the walls. Indeed, you’ll see lots of paintings and sculptures and occasional furniture throughout the hotel, in the rooms and along the corridors. Kay has been collecting for a long time!
|The facade of the old rectory was maintained.|
And the same high standard is seen in the breakfast room. Terrific service and quite a menu here as well, including the ever popular Full Irish! And they do list their suppliers. On the day, I picked the freshly made Crèpes Normande with Apple Purée. A slightly different start to yet another lovely day in Killarney.
The adjacent Dromhall is another four star hotel and you may check out its many facilities here. We didn’t get to visit this time but we did eat there about a year ago and it was a very enjoyable meal indeed as you can see in this post. And you’ll find a previous review of Randles Court here.
|Jarveys pick up passengers in hotel car park|
Both hotels are within minutes of Killarney town centre and are ideally situated as a base for the nearby National Park and also the spectacular Ring of Kerry. Killarney is one of my favourite towns as there is so much do in the immediate area and even more in the general County Kerry area. Either of the Randles hotels would make a terrific base if you are following the newly established Wild Atlantic Way.
Other posts on this trip:
The new Heather Restaurant. Eat in style at the Gap of Dunloe.
Twenty Four Hours in Killarney. New bus services.
If you do get to Kerry you may not want to leave. I have details of things to do and see available in my Corkman on Tour blog. See the Kerry portfolio here.
|Crèpes Normande for breakfast.|