Daily Mirror Review
First up, we Irish do not take vacations, we take holidays, and, without wanting to point out the obvious, most of us do need a place to “stay”. But such trivialities did not seem to occupy the minds of the army of holidaymakers who, like me, checked Bloomfield out in late summer. Many were Dubs who took the short hop down from the big smoke, but many more were from the south-east, west and a decent handful from Northern Ireland.
Bloomfield has a quiet charm and modesty which makes one feel relaxed and at home. In my travels, reception is everything…it says an enormous amount about a place and is, in essence, the public face of the hotel as a whole. I once checked into a hotel in Barcelona to be greeted by a stern-faced woman seated in a McDonald’s drive-thru style hatch, who demanded I spell my surname [yes, I know it’s unusual] four times before suspiciously handing over a key and barking the room number. No such rudeness in Bloomfield, where a genuinely friendly but not ostentatious welcome puts the visitor at ease in a bright, open-plan reception.
Rooms - of which there are 111 - are comfortable, warm and well decorated, with all the essentials required if those rain clouds head your way. If you do plan to take a trip down, ask for a room at the rear of the hotel, overlooking the spectacular shores of Lough Ennell - without a doubt one of the hotel’s greatest selling points.
On a fine summer evening, one could almost be transported to the Mediterranean as the sun sets on the glistening waters. A new feature of the grounds since I last visited is a tarmac-walk from the large back garden right down to the lake edge, a beautiful stroll on a nice evening.
The restaurant, which again fronts onto the huge gardens, is a fine place to dine,
The Stirrup and Reel bar is spacious and again a tasty alternative to the restaurant - or simply to enjoy a pint or some of the wonderful bar food on offer.
The leisure centre is a godsend for parents charged with entertaining the little ones. The 20-metre swimming pool which guests can use throughout the day, is a refreshing and relaxing diversion, although do check the age at which children can be left un-supervised in the pool. A Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room provide the perfect, relaxed end to a long day, or if you’re feeling energetic you can hit the weights or treadmills in the gym.
And if it’s business rather than pleasure you’re after, Bloomfield also offers excellent conference, banqueting and wedding facilities with over 30 years of hosting top occasions.
Many come to Mullingar to enjoy the fantastic fishing on offer. Another major attraction is the nearby Belvedere House and Gardens, while golf enthusiasts can tee off at Mullingar Golf Club, just a stone’s throw away. Bloomfield also offers free passes to Mullingar Greyhound Racing - which is worth checking out.There is live music in the bar and a free kids' club runs every weekend and during the holiday season.
If it’s real pampering you’re after, check out the Spa and Laser Clinic. Slip into Germaine de Capuccini Spa World, a place where mind, body and spirit converge to provide an unforgettable and deeply pleasurable experience. At a time when overseas holidays are beyond the reach of many, breaks at home are the way to go. And in my book, Bloomfield gets a definite thumbs up.