Review: Mount Juliet Estate, Autograph Collection

mount juliet estate autograph collection review featured image

Mount Juliet Estate, an Autograph Collection hotel, was a delightfully surprising hotel stay that we expected to be quite normal. My wife and I stayed here on our tour of Ireland for her 30th birthday, and we liked it so much that we extended our one-night stay to two. Mount Juliet offers many activities without leaving their property, but exploring the vast 500-acre property is an activity on its own. 

While some outside activities were planned, such as visiting Kilkenny Castle, a weekend spent solely at Mount Juliet Estate would be an excellent one.

Booking

When planning our trip to Ireland, we expected to be on the move a lot. Ireland is such a beautiful country with so much to see that it’s impossible to fit everything in only 11 days. I originally booked Mount Juliet for one night at a reasonable cash rate of 176 euros, including breakfast. Given the cost was not extravagant, I didn’t look at the property in great detail as I figured it would be a typical Marriott experience. Boy, was I wrong!

Two days before our stay, a butler from the property called and left a voicemail asking which activities and restaurants we would like to book. The voicemail was quickly followed by an email with tons of information about the property, including the fact that they have a Michelin-starred restaurant on site. 

After feverishly reviewing all the material sent, we canceled the B&B we had booked for the night after Mount Juliet and redeemed 37,000 Marriott Bonvoy points at the last minute for an extra night. The cash rate had risen to 240 Euro ($350 CAD), so it wasn’t an optimal use of points at 0.9 cents per point but good enough that I was okay saving $350.

Points redemptions at this property fluctuate a lot, but there is some decent value. If we were to visit again, and it’s enticing, I would probably book this the same way: one or two nights with cash and a separate points reservation for the other night on points. It could also be a great use of a 35K Marriott Free Night Certificate if the points price is under 50,000 per night.

Both the American Express Marriott Bonvoy card and the American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business card offer a complimentary free night worth 35,000 Bonvoy points upon the cardholder’s anniversary, so either of these cards would be a great asset in making a stay at Mount Juliet a possibility. Remember, Marriott free night awards can be topped up with up to 15,000 Bonvoy points.

American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business Card

The American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business card earns Bonvoy points and offers cardholders benefits including an annual free night and 15 qualifying nights towards elite status.

BONUS
60,000 Marriott Bonvoy
MINSPEND
$5,000
NET VALUE
$390+
ANNUAL FEE
$150
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY

Check-In

When you arrive at the property, you’re met by stone and iron front gates, a massive Irish flag, and the hotel logo.

mount juliet estate autograph collection entryway

After a long drive through the grounds, you’ll follow the signs to your respective building. This hotel has two buildings with guest rooms: Hunters Yard and Manor House. 

You’ll want to request a room in the Manor House, as it’s a truly unique stay within the Marriott Bonvoy portfolio. Not only is it unique, but it’s significantly more expensive than Hunters Yard. Rooms in the Manor House start at about 100 Euros more, and the Executive River View room we upgraded to has a nightly rate of 400 Euros! Thanks to my Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite status, my Bonvoy points became much more valuable. 

Arriving at The Manor House, we were floored by its beauty.

mount juliet estate autograph collection manor house exterior

Moving inside, the path to reception was well marked, but we had a helpful concierge guide us and help remove our bags from our car. Reception is through the door on your right as you enter the foyer and then down the hall, the room is clearly marked.

The check-in team had no problems linking our cash and points bookings together. One thing to note: Manor House has no elevator. It is an original building dating back to 1757! You can truly feel the history when staying at this property.

mount juliet estate historic picture
Historic picture courtesy of mountjuliet.ie

Location

Mount Juliet is located southwest of Dublin between Kilkenny and Waterford.

There are many activities around, but we were mainly in the area to visit Kilkenny Castle.

Parking

There’s quite a lot of parking available, as the estate is also home to a famous golf course. The largest parking lot is at Hunters Yard and The Clubhouse, but there’s another nearby at Manor House for guests staying there.

mount juliet estate autograph collection parking lot

All parking is complimentary at the property. We chose to park our car ourselves at Manor House as it was easy, but valet parking is also available.

Room – Manor House Executive, 1 King, River View

After navigating to the hotel’s third floor, we arrived at our room for the next two nights. Each of the 32 rooms in the Manor House is named after someone significant to the area or the estate. Room 25 bears the name Kendall Grove, which has quite a story to add to the lore of Mount Juliet!

Based on the floor plan seen in the fire escape, I think this is one of the most spacious rooms available. As you’ll see from my photos, we loved our time in this room, and I would recommend you request Kendall Grove or room 32 specifically unless the Presidential Suite is available.

mount juliet estate autograph collection manor house executive river view floorplan

Walking into the room, you’re met with three bright windows, lots of open space, and a king-size bed. Before the stay, I mentioned to the property that we would be celebrating my wife’s birthday. She had a handwritten card and prosecco waiting for her!

The other main features in the room are a fireplace and a sitting area. The fireplace has been bricked up and is not functional.  Eventually, we turned the chairs to face the windows, which was an excellent way to enjoy our complimentary prosecco. Also next to the door is a small entry table with a lamp, which is where we left the room and car keys.

Next to the fireplace are the coffee, tea, and mini-fridge. Included were some delicious chocolate chip cookies. The still and sparkling water in the fridge was included as well.

The king bed was extremely comfortable. The pillows feature an embroidered Mount Juliet pheasant logo, which was superb attention to detail. The TV and another sitting area were at the foot end of the bed, but we used the sitting area as make-shift luggage stands.

The windows were elegant, and the glass showed its age in the best way. From a distance, you could watch the river and the horses run in their pasture. But up close, the glass had tons of character, and you could tell the windows had been there for a while, if those walls could talk, indeed!

The shutters were completely functional, and the window could be opened slightly for some fresh air.

Next to the bed was a small desk with a mirror and a unique wooden cube engraved with QR codes for different amenities.

Turndown service was top-notch and reminded me of my stays at other 5-star properties, like the St. Regis Kanai and the Ritz Carlton Toronto. Slippers were laid out, and a room service menu with chocolates was placed on the pillows.

Moving onto the bathroom and closet, there is a full-length mirror across from a small wardrobe with some drawers, robes, a safe, and an ironing board.

The bathroom is beyond the wardrobe and extravagantly decorated with marble and huge mirrors. It also includes one of our favorite luxuries, a towel radiator.

The Bulgari bathroom amenities were some of the best we’ve experienced, and the rest of the bathroom was neatly arranged. It even included branded toilet paper stickers, which was a first!

The shower was excellent, with a rainfall head and a handheld sprayer. The shower amenities were also Bulgari.

When we arrived, there was an Autograph Collection magazine, a black envelope containing an estate map, and a welcome letter describing the amenities. The magazine may or may not still be in the room (!).

Room – Hunters Yard King Courtyard View

We had the opportunity to tour the room we originally booked at Hunters Yard. You can’t book directly into a room at the Manor House with points, so you’ll have to use Nightly Upgrade Awards, have Marriott status, or ask nicely for an upgrade.

mount juliet estate autograph collection hunters yard king courtyard view bed

The rooms are fine; they are considered luxury and are more modern than the Manor House. We would have enjoyed our stay here, but knowing that Manor House exists, it would be tough to accept staying here in the future.

Restaurants & Bars

Lady Helen – Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Breakfast & Michelin Star

The Lady Helen is located in Manor House, which is another reason to request a room here rather than Hunters Yard. If you’re staying in Hunters Yard, you’ll eat breakfast at The Hound which is a lovely restaurant, but Lady Helen is extra special.

The entrance is just next to the reception and is well-marked with brass signs.

mount juliet estate autograph collection lady helen restaurant entrance

If you’re lucky, you’ll end up with one of three tables next to the bay windows overlooking River Nore and Ballylinch Stud. We never got up early enough to have the table in the center of the windows, but we would definitely make an effort to do so if we stayed again. On our second morning, it was much busier, and we were seated toward the back of the restaurant, which gave us a chance to soak in the ornate details.

The tables are expertly set, and there’s no extra charge for anything on the menu. Most of the room rates I saw included breakfast, and I think it’s worth paying for if you don’t have Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status as it’s one of the better ones we encountered on our travels in Ireland.

The extra touches at the property are stellar, as even the butter for the toast rack is branded Mount Juliet. The coffees are also sublime—it’s hard to believe a Nespresso machine made this cappuccino!

Our breakfast orders included a selection of meats and cheeses, croissants from the bakery, Irish Boxty with fried eggs, and Cinnamon French Toast. The French toast was a bit of a letdown, but everything else we ate was delicious. I would particularly recommend ordering the Irish Bacon. This was the first time we tried it, and we proceeded to request it at every other breakfast restaurant we could!

We chose not to splurge on a Michelin dining experience here, but it will be on our radar when we return to Ireland.

Majors Bar – Afternoon Tea

The Majors Bar is located in the Manor house and is open daily for lunch and afternoon tea. It is also open for dinner, but only on Sunday and Monday. The entrance to the bar is found in this beautifully decorated hallway.

mount juliet estate autograph collection majors bar entrance

As we stayed at Mount Juliet during the week, it’s a shame we didn’t have the opportunity to eat dinner here, as it is absolutely the best spot on the property for a cocktail.

mount juliet estate autograph collection majors bar seating

In this part of the world, afternoon tea is quite the event and comes with quite the price tag! You definitely won’t leave hungry, but at 45 Euros per person, it’s a nice treat only once in a while. You can view the menu here. We made reservations in advance and were rewarded with a window seat, which was stunning.

We were allowed to mix and match the finger sandwiches but decided to try everything. The scones were freshly made, and the desserts were heavenly. Finishing off with a chocolate popsicle was a delightful end to our drawn-out tea service.

Majors Bar also extends into the Butler’s office if you prefer to eat here. In the Butler’s office, you can also find Mount Juliet’s signature Lemon Drops, which have a great story to their significance.

1757 – Cinema

The final establishment inside Manor House is 1757, aptly named after the year Mount Juliet was built. To access the bar, you’ll head through the hallway with the entrance to Majors Bar and follow the brass signs down this set of stairs.

1757 is open daily from 5 p.m., but you can enjoy complimentary coffee or water here throughout the day. The lighting and ambiance of 1757 are quite dramatic. Mount Juliet has done an excellent job of making me want to sink into a comfy seat and enjoy a cocktail.

The rest of the seating in 1757 is warm and cozy, and if we had three nights here, we definitely would have spent one evening soaking up 1757’s atmosphere. The real highlight of 1757 is the Cinema located down the hall.

The cinema operates daily with two showings, one at 6 pm and one at 9 pm. You must sign up in advance, and if you get lucky, like we did, you’ll get the whole place to yourself! As the only guests, the concierge who met us at the cinema allowed us to pick our film rather than stick with the scheduled Enola Holmes.

Just next to the cinema are restrooms that are expertly decorated.

mount juliet estate autograph collection 1757 cinema restrooms

The Hound

The Hound is on the same grounds as Hunters Yard. It’s open daily for lunch and dinner. We enjoyed dinner here on both nights of our stay. The entrance is not the most obvious at night, but a small sign with a Foxhound marks it.

mount juliet estate autograph collection the hound exterior

As this restaurant is located in Hunters Yard, we requested a buggy service. The staff didn’t mention that their definition of a buggy is a BMW!

The Hound’s interior is warmly decorated, and the main dining area is lush with fresh flowers. The menu can be found here.

In a similar fashion to Lady Helen, the butter was branded, but this time matching The Hound! We ordered the Spiced Carrott Risotto and Pork Shoulder as appetizers.

We enjoyed the 10 oz Ribeye and the Spinach Gnocchi for our main courses. The gnocchi was the highlight on the first night, but it let us down when we ordered it again on our second evening. However, everything else was lovely, and I highly recommend the gnocchi if it’s done correctly.

The dessert course was also excellent. We ordered the Eton Harmony, Flan Parisan, and Chocolate Passion Fruit Pie.

Saddle Bar

Saddle Bar is attached to The Hound. There’s no food served here, as The Hound is only steps away. We stopped in here for a drink and to take some photos of the space. The menu has an extensive explanation of Irish whisky that I enjoyed reading through. I even found a new favorite dram!

The Clubhouse

The Clubhouse has quite a lot going on, as it contains the golf pro shop and Jack’s Bar. I know very little about golf, so the significance of Mount Juliet is lost on me, but Jack’s Bar is named after famous golfer and course designer Jack Nicklaus.

mount juliet estate autograph collection the clubhouse exterior

Jack’s Bar is warmly decorated and serves lunch and dinner daily. On the weekends, the bar is only accessible to members and golfers until 6:00 pm. We enjoyed a pint and the sweeping views of the golf course to take a break from exploring the grounds.

The pro shop had a nice selection of memorabilia and golfing supplies along with a familiar face on the wall: Tiger Woods! He won the 2002 World Golf Championship event hosted by Mount Juliet.

Facilities

Estate Grounds

Exploring the massive 500-acre estate was an unexpected highlight of our time in Ireland. The grounds are impeccably maintained, and despite the property being quite developed, there’s still a lot of nature. Bikes are available complimentary from the reception to help you explore. If you’d rather have a guided tour, walking or Segway tours are available.

It was a bit cold, so we opted to walk around the grounds, which were nothing short of stunning.

In our exploration, we came across the estate’s helicopter pad! Combined with everything else, this is when we started to realize this was no ordinary Autograph Collection hotel.

mount juliet estate autograph collection helicopter pad

Far from the H-pad, there’s a playground for children, and next to this, we stumbled into a Fairy Village! Mount Juliet offers quite a few family-focused activities.

In the spring and summer, guests can enjoy activities like archery and tennis. It’s conceivable you could spend two nights and three days at Mount Juliet and never run out of things to do.

Our walk down to The White Bridge was one of the best parts. You’ll follow the signs, walk by a waterfall, and end up at the 200-year-old eight-arch stone bridge. The other side of the bridge is now home to Ballylinch Stud and is not accessible to hotel guests.

If you’re unlucky and can’t secure a room in Manor House it’s worth taking some time to explore the building. The walk up to the third floor, where our room was, was quite a treat in itself. I’ll let the pictures do the talking!

Golf Course

For some, I assume Mount Juliet is all about golf, as the property appears to have a lovely course. For more information than I can give, dig into the details here.

Hunters Yard

While Hunters Yard is the ‘inferior’ hotel on the property, its grounds offer quite a few essential facilities, such as the pool, spa, and gym.

mount juliet estate autograph collection hunters yard exterior

Upon entering the courtyard, you’re greeted with the Heritage Room containing a snooker table. Also in the room is a survey of the estate and its surroundings, which was very interesting to observe.

In the courtyard are some ping pong tables and a plaque dedicating what used to be the stables to a horse that lived there more than 100 years ago.

On the ground floor of Hunters Yard, a small collection of documents in glass cases dates back to 1906 and beyond. The windows to the courtyard are even more beautiful from the inside.

You get an excellent courtyard view before entering the Health Club on the second level.

mount juliet estate autograph collection hunters yard courtyard view

Fitness Center

The gym is located in the Health Club, while we didn’t get a chance to visit and take pictures, I’m sure it’s well equipped.

mount juliet estate autograph collection gym stock photo
Photo Courtesy of Marriott

Pool

While we had every intention of visiting the pool, our next destination after Ireland was the JW Marriott Phu Quoc, so we opted to enjoy the Cinema on the property instead. That being said, we did briefly drop in the pool area. However, with children swimming, I couldn’t grab any photos. It was extensive, and a small outdoor area was connected to the indoor pool.

mount juliet estate autograph collection pool stock photo
Photo Courtesy of Marriott

Spa

We opted out of any treatments at this resort, but the spa area was unique. Next to the treatment suite entrance was some of what I assume is original brickwork preserved into the new construction.

Equestrian

The biggest surprise was Mount Juliet’s equestrian facilities, as we were unaware the resort had any! You’ll want to jump in your car and drive to the entrance as it’s pretty far from the Manor House and Hunters Yard. The path is well-marked, and you might even see some riders on your way to the stables.

Inside the facility are several proving grounds and some curious horses checking you out.

Perhaps the best part of the Equestrian facility is the stable dogs, Buck and Claire! Beware, though: if you pay attention to Buck and then stop, he may die in agony! Or so he wants you to think…

Conclusion

Mount Juliet estate is one of only a few Marriott hotels in Ireland and a shining star for the brand. While there’s a lot to see in Ireland, this resort could be a great place to stop and take a break from hotel hopping. 

It’s an authentic 5-star experience and a wonderful aristocratic countryside resort. It will go down as one of our favorite hotels in Ireland, and a property we will make an effort to visit again.

Daniel Burkett

Daniel Burkett

Contributor at Frugal Flyer
Daniel entered the Miles and Points game in 2021 and has taken the “make up for lost time” mentality. After spending five years travelling for work and paying no attention to loyalty programs, some say Daniel is out for Points Revenge. With his desire to maximize every point available, he hopes to share the knowledge gained with more travellers to prevent the same mistakes he made.

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