Nestled in the centre of Ballybofey is a little gem of a hotel known as Jacksons, a former family run hotel now managed by the Prem group, but don’t worry none of the feeling of a family owned hotel has been lost, with the original staff having been retained and business clearly going on as normal.

With a grand yet somewhat simplistic exterior it invites you into a reception area that is warm with a feeling of forgotten grandeur. On welcome the receptionist Imelda made it a homely feel, something Jacksons has always been known for, and that something extra that makes a stay at Jacksons so enjoyable.

I stayed in Jacksons hotel for one night but for me, one night was enough to ensure that Jacksons would be on my list of hotels to return to for a very long time. The staff are of the highest caliber in terms or friendliest and helpfulness that I can recall in recent memory.

As you move through the hotel, from the warm reception area with its original fireplaces and large ornamental sofas to taking a seat in Joe’s Bar, the atmosphere hadn’t changed even with a major remodeling, it still holds all the traits of a family owned hotel, one where you felt welcome, a welcome which wasn’t forced or paid for.

Just like I did when I arrived you can step into Joe’s Bar for a delightful bite to eat or experience the choice of Sunday carvery, they also offer an exceptional value 5 course Sunday dinner, something that should not be missed and one which was enough to rival your own favourite Sunday meal from home.

For me, it is the stand-out hotel in the region, the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate – but at a cost that certainly won’t break the bank, it is exceptional value for money, set in beautiful surroundings and close to a number of attractions and of course fantastic golf courses. Jacksons has a distinctive split, between the new and the old, the Irish chic and the thoroughly modern. The juxtaposition between the two can be a tad jarring, but for some reason it works, it gives visitors the choice between an imagined view of a traditional Irish hotel and the thoroughly modern.

The newly renovated modern side of the hotel, where I was put up for the night, is home to the most beautiful sweeping staircase and ballroom area. The marble tiled floors, the chandeliers and all the dressings that accompany it, this area of the hotel is one I always found myself revisiting during my stay and admiring it. I am sure it would have most soon-to-be brides in awe and asking if their special day has a free booking.

The new rooms are wonderfully decorated, maintained to a high standard and clean.  With extremely comfortable beds and a tranquility of quiet at night that could lure anyone hard of sleeping into a slumber. The bathrooms are very modern with a waterfall shower and plastered in a pearl tile that I have been describing as “unicorn tile” as when the light hits it, a gentle spectrum of colours are released.

Jackson’s has all the mod cons, including excellent free, high-speed wireless internet and satellite television. Guests can enjoy complimentary access to the on-site Health and Leisure Club with gym, sauna, steam room and heated indoor swimming pool.

If you want to relax at night, there are a number of functions that take place, from ballroom dancing to bingo, but the real treat is having Patsy make a mojito. He took great care, this was no slapped together cocktail but something crafted, it was sweet with the mint crushed and ground without just being thrown in. Along with the cocktail, Joe’s has a fine range of local craft beer, the RustBucket being a particular favourite.

Hotel breakfasts are a personal favourite and as of yet, have rarely been impressed with those that I have experienced but the early wake up call will always be worth it for breakfast at Jacksons. The range of continental breakfast is wide with the nicest porridge I have ever had (sorry mum) and the choice of hot breakfast is of a high standard with the view of the garden to accompany it.

Overall, my stay at Jacksons is one I could not recommend higher, since my return I have spoken to family and friends and have done but recommend it. I feel that this hotel and its staff do not receive enough credit for what they have created in the small town of Ballybofey.

For more information or to book your stay at Jacksons, click here

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