The Granville Hotel located right in the centre of Waterford in Ireland offers luxurious yet historical accommodation. Waterford, a seaport situated in the southeast of the country is also Ireland’s oldest city and, as a result, has a rich history that began when the Vikings founded it in 914 A.D.
The name ‘Waterford’ actually stems from the Old Norse name ‘Vadrarfjordr’ which means windy fjord. Because of this rather unique history, Waterford is the centre of what is known as the Viking Triangle and forms a part of Ireland’s Ancient East. With such a rich history, this is city full of grand architecture and welcome surprises around every corner.
The Granville Hotel is a historic building with a prime spot on the main road into town and across from the river. Since this was the birthplace of Thomas Francis Meagher (an accomplished man responsible for the tri-colour Irish National Flag among other things), the grand building is of great historical significance. Dating back to the 1700s, the hotel still radiates Old World charm both inside and out. The original woodwork and traditional antique furnishings celebrate the history of the building and it has been renovated to include all the modern comforts you would expect from a luxury hotel.
The magic of this elegant hotel swept me up the moment I spotted the magnificent building as we entered Waterford across the River Suir. Guests are able to park their cars in the public parking arcade (fees waived by hotel) across the road from the Granville Hotel, offering easy access right from the start. As I crossed the street, my eyes were drawn to the façade of the glass porch over the entrance and stained glass, windows which were decorated for the festive season during our visit. The moment we entered the busy lobby, the warm and welcoming environment made us feel right at home. Combined, the lovely ambience and friendly service made The Granville Hotel the ideal place from which to explore the ancient city of Waterford.
The Granville Hotel has 100 rooms that are each stylishly decorated with unique and individual designs. Although the hotel has kept the traditional style of the rooms, each is equipped with all the modern conveniences you could need. Because of the age of the building, each and every room is a different size and style, which ensures an interesting experience. The rooms are divided into Classic, River View, King and Executive Balcony rooms.
Our luxury room on the top floor of the building was one of the few with a balcony, which was a real treat. As we stepped outside we were treated to stunning views of the river and various towers and spires of the medieval Old Town of Waterford.
A highlight was waking up on the first morning to see our first sunrise in Ireland (it had been cloudy and raining on all previous mornings) lighting up the picturesque city. The warm and cosy room was spacious and included a comfortable lounge area, work space, antique closet and large en-suite bathroom. We loved how the fabrics, colour palette and general design of the room reflected the original interiors of the 18th Century manor style mansion.
Upon our arrival we were treated to a welcome plate with pastries as well as a bottle of delicious award-winning raspberry jam that is made on the premises. Our room was so comfortable we could have spent all of our time in it, but there was just so much to see and do outside. It was the perfect sanctuary to retreat to when the cold winter air chased us inside.
Food and drink
Dining at The Granville Hotel is definitely a worthwhile experience. The onsite Bianconi Restaurant is an award-winning established eatery that focuses on creating seasonal dishes that highlight local Irish produce. Bianconi Restaurant was awarded the coveted AA Rosette Award for their truly outstanding food, and this level of excellence extends throughout their offering for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Guests of the hotel are invited to ‘start the day the Granville way’ by enjoying the wholesome breakfast menu selection. My absolute favourite dish (which I had both mornings) was the speciality dish of Blaa Eggs Benedict that included the soft floury roll known as the Waterford Blaa.
Guests staying over the weekend are encouraged to stay in for a traditional Sunday lunch. The four-course menu is full of delicious dishes and attracts both travellers and locals. The Granville Hotel is a favourite among locals who often drop by for an indulgent dinner or drinks at the acclaimed Thomas Francis Meagher Bar. As such, the common areas of the hotel are always busy and the lively ambience offers visitors a true Irish experience. This is truly the place to be in Waterford.
There is just so much to do in Waterford as well as the gorgeous surrounding regions that it’s worthwhile staying for a few days. The day we arrived was the official start of the Christmas festival, Winterval. Waterford is known as the Christmas capital of Ireland and the whole town was lit up and ready for the festivities. We spent our first evening walking along the cobblestone streets, taking in the sights and enjoying the vibrant energy. Winterval is a major festival and celebration that consist of rides such as a brightly lit up Ferris wheel, stalls selling Christmas decorations or tasty street food and shows projected against the walls of historical buildings.
Besides the festival, there is plenty to see and do in the Viking Triangle. Best of all, everything is within walking distance from the central Granville Hotel. The next day we took a tour with Waterford Treasures which included a visit to the Medieval Museum, and an interactive tour through Bishops Palace Museum. Additionally, we stopped for a photo with the Viking Boat at Reginald’s Tower and admired the impressive 23-metre-long Dragon Slayer Sword carved out of a single tree.
Visitors can also enjoy the newly opened 3D Vikings Experience (not open in winter) or head on over to the Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre to see more of those stunning local crystal wares. Finally, a trip to Waterford is not complete with taking some time to explore the long stretch of natural scenery along the Waterford Greenway. This route is perfect for a walk or jog, or you can rent a bike and cycle as much of it as possible.
In a nutshell
Both the Granville Hotel and the town of Waterford are steeped in Irish history just waiting to be discovered. This grand old hotel at the centre of town is truly unique and the absolute best place to stay during any visit to Waterford.
Rooms at The Granville Hotel can be booked from €134 per night.
Address: Meagher Quay, X91 XH5R, Waterford, Ireland
Phone: +353 51 305555