Ten years have passed since Brian and I opened our dream project, Castlewood House, on the stunning Wild Atlantic Way. It’s true to say that despite all the nerves and trepidation, we have not looked back. Since 2005, we have been welcoming people to our home, and we have met lots of people, but more importantly we have made many new friendships.
Our business has grown organically. From being the new place on the Dingle Peninsula, to being named Best Hotel in Ireland by Trip Advisor in 2012. The pinnacle of our careers to date has to be, being awarded Best Bargain Hotel in the World by Trip Advisor in 2014. All this was possible because of the reviews that our guests place on this site. We are truly grateful to you all. But we do not forget that we have a fantastic team of people here at Castlewood, some of whom have been with us since we first opened. We could not do what we do without them – thank you girls, here is to the next ten years!
It has been hard work, and there have been many sacrifices on our part. Anyone running their own business will tell you, are basically nurturing your business as you would your child. This child is growing up now, and we are extremely proud of it.
Our latest achievement was in April of this year, when we were awarded Five Diamonds by the AA (Automobile Association). We also were awarded their coveted Breakfast Award for our now famous Irish Buffet Breakfast. You can see some recipes from Brian on our web site. Print them off and try them for yourself, and tell us about them on our Facebook Page.
When I reflect over the past ten years, I think about when the global recession really hit us. We decided not to follow the trend of our peers, whom seemed to be cutting back on facilities and amenities. We did the direct opposite, we invested in our product. We upgraded our bedroom facilities, added more luxurious bathroom products, invested in fluffy bathrobes and comfortable slippers.
We needed to change the way we marketed our business, and so we upgraded our shop window. We searched out a great web designer who really “got’’ how we wanted to portray our business. And so our new website was born – and we upgraded it again recently, to incorporate the new technologies, such as Gift Voucher purchasing. We had to be much more innovative and create packages, and sell ideas that our guests would find interesting and relevant.
We are blessed that with Dingle and its surroundings. The area is abundant with so many natural resources, and has so many truly professional people, who provide boat trips, walking trips, horse-riding and adventure packages. The food offering in Dingle too has changed over the time we have been here. There is so much fresh produce available for us to use in our kitchen, and the restaurant scene here has grown over the years. Dingle has really become a Foodie Paradise. Of course we cannot forget the 52 (and counting) Irish Pubs here, all of them authentic and welcoming, and offering food and music throughout the year.
All in all it has been a good ten years. Brian and I have been happy. We have created a product that you the customer believes is one of the best in the world. We have a wonderful family whom are happy here. And we love welcoming people to our home. We are looking forward to the next ten years, and we hope and pray that, our extended family, and our business, will continue to grow in our own little piece of heaven – Dingle.
Helen Heaton – June 2015.