If you needed further proof that owner Jennie McKeown, manager Deirdre McDonald and all the crew at Ariel House operate on an elevated plane, you only need to take a quick peek at the superb recipe booklet that they published at the end of 2013. It’s not just that the recipes are some of their sure-fire classics – the famous granola; the breakfast pancakes served with Pat O’Neill’s bacon; the coffee and walnut tray bake that is a staple of their classic afternoon teas – it’s also the fact that the photography and production of the booklet are first class: colourful, vivid, mouth-watering, inviting.
And that’s the thing about Ariel: staying here is a vivid, enlivening experience, because everyone and everything is as good as it can possibly be. It’s super-comfortable; it’s glam; the food is incredibly fine; the staff are welcoming and sincere. To these virtues they add a professionalism and a level of consistency that is abetted by an ever-present sense of enquiry: how can we get better? how can we improve? Many of us reckon they can’t get better, but we expect to find next time that they’ll have done just that.