Ah the Irish break, the staycation, expensive and usually comes with lashings of rain right? Well this time, I’m delighted to say I think we managed to swerve the trend. The weather was hot hot hot ( way to too for me – sorry to be miserable but I’m baked) and the stay overall might have been a bit of a treat, but it was worth it.
After a mad few months, moving house, trying to set up a business and generally being wrecked from a) teething Edie ( bless her) and b) moving and generally living out of boxes, a break was needed, badly.
As this was the first break we’d booked as a family of three and it threw up so many questions for us – how would we make bottles, would we need a house Another consideration for us was that we wanted somewhere fairly near by.
Friends of ours had a nice time in Fota Island Resort recently and Adrian had been there on golf trips a few times and when we spoke about it the legendary breakfast seemed to swing it for us, as well as ahem, it being child friendly, only an hour away from us. So we booked it and here’s how we got on.
Things to do with smallies
Mini breaks are by default, never long enough if they’re any good and this one certainly left us feeling like we would’ve loved one more night.
For starters there’s a playground that’s set up for toddlers right through to older kids – from baby slides to monkey bars and zip lines, it is certainly one of the best I’ve been in. Beside the playground there’s a tennis court and mini soccer pitch and all of this is in view of the lodges, which is very handy.
For the smaller ones – basically babas right through to toddlers there’s a playroom in the hotel, and there’s a pool too though with specific kids pool time, although on this trip we we didn’t use it.
One of the main reasons we chose Fota was to visit the Fota Wildlife Park and it didn’t dissapoint. We bought concession tickets from the hotel which meant that the charge into the Park was 24.00 instead of 32.00. The Park itself was really enjoyable – allow two to three hours to make your way around and longer if you plan on eating there or using the onsite playground. The hotel run free drops and collections to the Park throughout the day, check at reception for times.
The Park itself wasn’t too busy and we didn’t need to queue for tickets, although we were there on a Friday just before the school holidays.
The lions, cheetahs and flamingos (!) were a huge hit, but the real jewel in the crown for our time in Fota was the Fairy Trail. We spent a lovely morning roaming for fairies before we checked out and it was a huge hit with all three of us. Knocking from door to door hoping that someone might be in, – the trail was beautiful, although it seemed like it might be new and still unfinished, it really was a lovely walk.
Food and Drink
The Resort is Five Star and so the food and drink in the Hotel bar is pricey – but, to be fair the food we had was flawless. We had a delicious meal there on the first night and there is a really good selection of healthy options for kids, which made a nice change. Things like roast chicken or fish , broccoli, peas and mash – portion sizes too are good.
We ate most days in the more affordable, but equally as delicious Clubhouse which is part of the resort – the menu is far more relaxed as are the prices, and again there’s a nice selection for the kids. There’s a gorgeous outdoor terrace area – it can be busy if it’s sunny so try to book ahead through the hotel reception.
Overall, we really were very impressed. The staff were friendly, food was very good, it was family friendly and there was absolutely loads to do for little ones.
Yes it wasn’t cheap (although we got an online deal from the hotel’s own site, which we thought was reasonable). The other plus point is that it’s a great base to visit Cork City centre, Leahy’s Open Farm or take a day trip up to Cobh, which is such a gorgeous little town.
Lets just say we’re planning a return to the very soon, and who knows there might be some fairies in this time.