Convenient riverside location in the center of Athlone
Colorful rooms, some with beautiful views of the river
Restaurant and bar with terrace overlooking the river
Leisure center with indoor pool, sauna, and steam room
Fitness center is large and includes a range of modern equipment
Events spaces suitable for all sorts of gatherings
Room service available around the clock
Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel
Free parking, an unusual perk in Athlone
Old tube TVs in some rooms
Somewhat dated decor could use a refresh
Public areas can get crowded with groups at times
The 128-room Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone is an upper-middle-range property located on the River Shannon in the center of Athlone. It's a popular gathering place for locals and all sorts of travelers, and the mostly modern style makes for a pleasant-enough base from which to explore the area. Rooms are colorful and stylish, although the lack of flat-screen TVs in some units was shocking. The on-site restaurant and bar are pluses, as is the leisure center with an indoor pool, gym, sauna, and steam room. Events spaces draw everything from corporate get-togethers to weddings. For guests who don't need to be in the center of town, the Glasson Country House Hotel & Golf Club is a tranquil alternative on Lough Ree.
Modern hotel on the river, popular with locals and all sorts of travelers
Unlike many of the quaint, small hotels in the area, the Radisson Blu is fairly large and can't quite shake the chain-hotel vibe. Contemporary art on the walls adds a bit of edge to interiors -- and there's a cozy fireplace -- but otherwise things are pretty straightforward from a style perspective. Expect to see red pleather arm chairs, light tile floors, and a mixture of light wood veneer furniture and darker pieces throughout the hotel's common areas.
Looks aside, the hotel has a lively vibe, in part due to its location smack in the middle of Athlone. During the week, it's generally filled with corporate guests, then on the weekends things pep up with live music, a piano player in the dining room, or perhaps cocktail classes in the bar. Its extensive terrace overlooking the river is a hive of social activity during warm weather, and the hotel is popular with locals as a meeting and dining spot, so there's a constant buzz of activity. With its convenient setting, the hotel attracts a mix of guests, from business travelers to families to couples and groups. However, travelers looking for a quiet getaway should check first to see how many groups will be in-house during their planned stay.
This hotel is located on the banks of the River Shannon as it makes its way through Athlone town, and most of the town's activities and tourist attractions are within an easy walk. The immediate area comprises residential apartments, some small businesses, and the marina, and the hotel is on the main bridge linking the older and newer portions of Athlone. The Luan Art Gallery and the the Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul are directly opposite the river from the hotel -- a five-minute walk -- and ancient Athlone Castle is just a bit farther. A four-minute walk will take you to the train and bus station -- Athlone Station -- and in the other direction the Town Center Shopping Center. It is also a great location for business travelers, with the train station so close and the main western motorway in and out of Dublin -- the M4 -- nearby as well. The Dublin Airport is about an hour and 20 minutes east of the hotel by car, and Shannon Airport is about 90 minutes southwest.
Colorful rooms, some with river views, but style isn't exactly fresh
The hotel's 128 guest rooms come in two design schemes: Ocean or Urban. All are on the modern end of the design spectrum -- there's no frilly curtains or antique-style furniture to be seen -- but the look somehow still feels less than fresh. Ocean Rooms are the brighter option, with vibrant color palettes of aqua and blue, plus the chain's signature wavy lines used as design details on furniture and carpeting. Urban Rooms are more subdued, with color palettes of beige and burgundy. Both rooms use some sort of wood veneer furniture -- light pieces in Ocean Rooms and dark piece in Urban Rooms -- and either style is pleasant enough, as long as travelers aren't expecting cutting edge contemporary ambience.
All come with free Wi-Fi, safes, and electric kettles for coffee and tea. Some entry-level rooms still have old tube TVs, but others have been upgraded to flat-screen TVs. Suites add extra space, minibars, robes, and slippers. Family Suites have a separate bedroom, and board games and family movies are available by request. Bathrooms are compact and have tiled shower/tub combos or a tub and stand-up shower. All come with toiletries and hairdryers, and there's a decent amount of space surrounding sinks thanks to granite counter tops. While some rooms have beautiful views of the River Shannon, others look out onto the sides of buildings.
Restaurant and bar, riverside terrace, leisure center with indoor pool and spacious gym
The Elements Bistro is popular among locals and guests for its regionally focused menu and great deals. It serves a breakfast buffet each morning, including a selection of hot and cold items. Guests in a hurry can opt for the Grab & Run takeaway breakfast, though neither breakfast is included in room rates. Quayside Bar & Lounge offers drinks and bar fare, as well as a buffet lunch. Its expansive terrace on the water is popular for alfresco dining in nice weather.
In addition to a great selection of modern cardio and weight-training equipment, the Synergy Health & Leisure Centre offers a heated indoor swimming pool, sauna, and steam room. The 16.5-meter (54-foot) pool is suitable for swimming laps, and personal trainers and fitness classes are available. For those who prefer to relax poolside, a few wooden lounge chairs are on the pool deck by the window.
The hotel is popular for weddings, and a unique special feature allows the bride and groom to arrive by boat and be greeted by their guests who gather on the terrace and welcome them for a grand red carpet entrance. A variety of meeting rooms can accommodate groups from small to large, and all have windows providing natural light. Wi-Fi and parking are both free.
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