Would you beleive that up until last Saturday we had never all stayed together as a family in a hotel. It just didn’t appeal to me. I worried about all four of us being in a room together and I wondered what myself and Daddy Chambers would do once Aidan and Sarah were asleep.
However, having all stayed in a tent at Electric Picnic recently, a hotel stay suddenly seemed like luxury. So last weekend we went for a family break in The D Hotel and Funtasia Waterpark in Drogheda.
It’s just an hour up the M7, M50 and M1 from Kildare so we had no moaning from the kids that the journey was taking too long. Always a bonus in my mind! The D Hotel is in the middle of Drogheda, overlooking the Boyne and attached to Scotch Hall Shopping Centre. I had been in the hotel bar before when I stopped for a coffee a few years back when a family member was in hospital in Drogheda. However, it has all changed since then. The bar has been re-vamped completely and even the rooms and restaurant got a makeover.
On our arrival, we were checked in by Alex (who was super nice by the way) and Aidan and Sarah were delighted to be handed a goodie bag each. They were even more delighted when they discovered there was a big chocolate cookie in each, along with crayons, stickers and some pages to colour.
We were housed in room 520 for the night, one of the hotel’s family rooms. It had a huge queen bed in it, a single and they provided an extra camp bed because my two don’t like to sleep together. The room was great, clean, spacious, had a mini fridge, a bath, a lovely table and comfy chair and a fab view of the river and the Boyne Viaduct.
Keen to explore, Aidan and Sarah begged to be brought to the games room we told them about. Off they went with Daddy Chambers, while I enjoyed a coffee in the room in peace. A few minutes later I got a phone call from himself to say the games room was more suited to older children (mine are four and almost three) so he headed to the small play centre in Scotch Hall Shopping Centre.
It’s called Play Zone and is free and quite frankly all shopping centres should have one! It’s a great way to keep the kids entertained. My pair loved it and both myself and Daddy Chambers took turns watching them while the other had a look around the shops.
Scotch Hall is a lovely shopping centre. It has a huge Dunnes Stores, River Island, an Accessorize, Carriag Donn, Coast, Dorothy Perkins and Topshop to name but a few. After dropping a few Euro in the shops we decided to head to dinner in the hotel bar The Hops.
I must admit the decor in The Hops was really impressive, while the atmosphere was very relaxed, which is just the way you want it when you have two small kids in tow. The menu is like any you would expect in a bar and good value. I went for an Indonesian chicken curry, Daddy Chambers had bangers and mash, while Aidan had the kids’ burger and chips and Sarah had nuggets and mash. There were clean plates all round afterwards and no complaints whatsoever. To finish off we treated the kids to ice-cream, while myself and himself shared a brownie and ice-cream. Hotel guest receive a ten per cent discount on food and if you fancy something a bit more formal you also have the option to eat in Il Ponte, the hotel’s Italian restaurant.
We are not ones for having the kids in bars for prolonged periods so after dinner we headed up to the room to chill out for a while. We brought our Apple TV with us and hooked it up to the TV in the room so the kids could watch a movie, while we enjoyed a drink we brought up from the bar.
After the movie it was well time for Aidan and Sarah to hit the sack and although it took a little longer than normal to settle them, they went to sleep with little bother. With the Apple TV at our disposal we propped ourselves up on the massive bed, sat back with a few gin and tonics and watched a bit of Louis Theroux on Netflix.
Both the kids are early risers so we got our wake up call as normal at 6am when Aidan jumped on our heads! Soon after our breakfast was delivered to the room. We had ordered cereal for the kids and a full Irish for ourselves. In a nice touch the chef included a mini fry for the kids even though we hadn’t ordered it. Having breakfast in bed was a real novelty for Aidan and Sarah.
I must admit it would have been lovely if the hotel had a pool because being up so early meant there was’t a whole lot to keep them entertained only Netflix in the room at that hour of the morning. However, we did take a stroll around Drogheda and the kids were utterly amazed to see a head in a glass box in the church! Otherwise know as the head of St Oliver Plunkett in St Peter’s Church on West Street.
After that we decided to pack up, check out and head five minutes up the road to Funtasia Waterpark, which was included in our overnight package.
This was by far the biggest highlight for the kids and a good one for us adults too. I don’t really know what I was expecting but Funtasia was unreal. We had the best craic ever. I genuinely think it was the best day out we’ve ever had together as a family.
Pirate’s Cove water park at Funtasia is just like a big play centre in water. Shallow water at that so it felt so safe. It has over 30,000 square feet of water and over 200 water based activities. There’s slides galore, play areas, a toddler splash area and an adult only jacuzzi.
The highlight was the feature slides ‘The Super Bowl’ and ‘The Boomerang’, both of which we couldn’t keep Aidan off. Sarah was too small for The Boomerang but was in her element going down The Super Bowl with me in the back and her out in front.
In the end, after four hours, we had to drag them both out kicking and screaming. I would have stayed longer myself but I was starving at that stage. The only downside to Funtasia was the heat in the changing rooms. It was actually unnatural, to the point that I felt like I was in a sauna!
Funtasia also has an arcade, a bowling alley, a play centre, a cafe, zip-liners, a climbing wall and much more so you really could spend all day there.
So there you have it. Our first hotel stay with the kids was a great success. Yes, we would have loved if there was a pool but that was the only downside. The hotel are running specials for the Halloween mid-term, which includes a kids camp so that will keep the small ones entertained. You can pick from Funtasia or Tatyo Park during your stay so the kids will be entertained no end. Breaks start at From €75.00 per adult sharing for bed and breakfast and entry to Funtasia Waterpark or Tayto Park. The package includes dinner with a minion and a family room, which accommodates four guests. If you are interested in booking you can do so here. They also have special Christmas overnight stays coming up, with visits to see Santa at the Enchanted Kingdom in Slane Castle or in Tayto Park.
So if you’re looking for a getaway with the small ones this mid-term, I would recommend The D Hotel. What you’ll get is clean and spacious rooms, great food, a good atmosphere and a really good family day out.