What is the biggest difference between a four-star and a five-star hotel?
We also put to rest the idea that hotels getting refurbished means there was something wrong that needed to be fixed.
There are, typically, two types of hotel.
One is how you would describe as "somewhere just to throw your bag". It is the cheapest, most central place you could find, and all you're concerned about is that it has a place for you to sleep at the end of the night.
The other is the fancy hotels, the kind of place that you feel bad about leaving because it is so lush and opulent and you want to soak it up while you're there, before you have to return to your normal life.
In both cases, when the word "refurb" gets used, some folk automatically assume that the reason the hotel is getting done up is because there was something wrong with it.
It might have something to do with the automatic Irish mindset to assume the worst, but generally speaking, this is rarely the case. Especially with the fancy end hotels, who have to keep up the high standard.
Speaking to JOE, Ronan O'Halloran, the General Manager of the Glenlo Abbey, one of only two five-star hotels in Galway, put some of those fears to rest, when we asked what is the primary reason a hotel would undergo refurbishments:
"Our customer base is very discerning and the Irish guest is very well travelled and has seen the best of the world and what it has to offer. They know what they are looking for and in order for us to deliver to these high expectations we must continually reinvest in our product."
The Glenlo Abbey recently had a €1.5 million refurbishment, with bedrooms, suites, car parks, and the hugely impressive estate grounds all having major works done.
Situated about ten minutes drive from the centre of the city, we also wanted to know what represented the biggest difference between a five-star and four-star hotel?
"The intuitive service accompanied with a team that anticipates every guests need and guides them through every step of their reservation from the moment they plan their stay to the moment they depart regretfully wishing they could stay longer."
That was absolutely the case here, as the staff were some the friendliest and most helpful imaginable, in that particular Irish way that gives a sense that you're already really good friends with these people.
The same goes for the staff at the accompanying Pullman Restaurant, located on the grounds of the estate itself, which is two actual carriages from the Orient Express converted into a high-end restaurant, giving off a proper "This is where people get engaged" vibe.
And then, of course, there is Galway itself, which lately seems to be reconfiguring its targets for tourism. Previously, it may have been know more as the must-go destination for stags and hens, but now it's becoming the festival and cultural hub for the country.
We also asked Ronan if this was something he noticed about working within the tourism industry in Galway:
"Tourism in Galway is very strong and there is barely a week goes by without a festival or an event-taking place. Galway quite simply has so much to offer all visitors that it makes it difficult for anywhere else to compete with the region.
"Some of our favourites are the medieval tours, strolling the seafront, the trad music, boating in the bay, not to mention all our sporting events including the Galway Races and the regular rugby and hurling fixtures that take place."
So there you have it, hotels getting a refurb is nothing but good news for the customer, and if you're looking for somewhere a little more memorable, then sometimes splurging on that five-star location is worth it in the long run.