“ Address: Southern Cross Rd / Bray / Ireland „
One of the best things about the Ramada Woodland Court in Bray is also one of its drawbacks. This hotel is located just off the highway, making it very convenient to reach by car and to use as a base for discovering County Wicklow. However, that also means it's on the edge of town, and not extremely convenient for reaching by public transport, or for wandering around the town of Bray or its famous seafront. But as far as accommodations for Ireland are concerned, it's well worth a try since it is reasonably priced and acceptably comfortable.
We had a double room which was ample in size, in all regards. Ours was located under the eaves of the top floor, which afforded us an extra little seating area next to a dormer window. This small extension held a padded window seat as well as a table and two chairs. Unfortunately, having a slanted ceiling meant that my slightly tall husband ended up banging his head a couple of times. This tiny window only overlooked the entrance to the building so we didn't have hardly any view at all - which was a bit of a shame.
Other than that, the room was well outfitted with a desk, comfortable queen-sized bed, large chest of drawers and built-in closet. They provided coffee/tea facilities as well as a pants press and internet connections. Unfortunately, as with many hotels, we had to unplug things in order to plug in the kettle and our cell phones. Another thing that this hotel didn't have was air conditioning, and once again, the one small window in the eaves didn't provide us with much air circulation. However, the window didn't face any direct sunlight so the room didn't heat up all that much, either.
Still, the room was nicely decorated in unobtrusive colours, the bathroom had a full sized bathtub, and large enough sink area which held all our toiletries. There was no hairdryer but that didn't bother shorthaired me. The only other problem was that the mechanism to get the shower to work was complicated, but they (smartly) have instructions posted on the wall to help you figure it out.
I should note that soon after we arrived we found out that we had been given only one set of towels and after informing the front desk of this problem, we received more within minutes of our call, so room service was extremely quick.
The building itself isn't anything to write home about, since it is a purpose built hotel, and pretty bog-standard. The lobby was modern, clean with a large, flat-screen TV that's on all the time, and lots of places to sit if you want to order a meal or just random refreshments (aside from the dining room). In general, the hotel is in excellent condition and very clean and well cared for. Staff are all very friendly and we had one trainee who went out of his way to try to be helpful.
While we opted out of having breakfast at the hotel, we did notice the dining room was very well equipped for the service. They have two options available - cold and hot - and while we decided not to take advantage of this, these are reasonably priced for the large variety they seem to have on their menus. As noted above, you can order food in the lobby whenever you like, but it doesn't look like there's any real bar.
As mentioned above, this hotel is on the town's outskirts, and although Bray isn't huge, you would need to take a car or bus to get to the center, as it is a bit more than walking distance. This also means you're not close to much in the way of shopping (including restaurants and supermarkets) or nightlife. I do understand that there is an airport shuttle from Dublin available, but since we rented a car, we didn't need this (too bad, since it might have helped us avoid the U2 traffic we got caught in). Finally, despite it being so close to the highway, we didn't hear any of the traffic noise, and our sleep wasn't disturbed by this at all.
In all, the Ramada Woodland Court in Bray was a good choice for us. The room was comfortable and well appointed, and the price was reasonable (in the Euro70-80 per night range) for the size and quality. Although it isn't a totally perfect hotel, it was ideal for us to wander around County Wicklow, and quiet enough to allow us a great night's sleep when we finished long days of walking. I'd say this hotel deserves four out of five stars (but if we had been there during a heat wave, it might have gotten less) and I can certainly recommend it.
Davida Chazan © August 2009
While their official website might not give you the best prices, you can find it here http://www.ramadabray.com/index.html and it can be found easily on many hotel booking sites.