It looks like everyone is checking into a Cork City hotel around this time. And that’s just the Corkonians! After the city’s hotel sector became the child star of the country’s outdoor dining scene, the city’s hotels have also changed shape, with exciting new properties like The Dean, renovations like the Metropole. or sparkling new indoor-outdoor spaces. like the Montenotte greenhouse. To get a taste of the latter, this week I visited one of Cork’s most popular four-star hotels to get a taste of life in this Garden of Eden.
With its elevated location in, dare we say, the Hollywood Hills of Cork, arriving at The Montenotte promises an immediate air of urban dazzling. Greeted at the door by the porter Matthew (who embodied a team friendliness that will shine throughout my stay), the four-star hotel welcomes with a warm and boutique atmosphere where the lobby and neighboring library are lush with furnishings. teal blue and original pops of color. Touches like the lights of the letter “HI” add character, while rustic still lifes by hotel artist in residence, Peter Dee, add depth. After checking in with Eimear at the front desk, we walk down the hotel’s pop-art filled hallways, those already iconic views of the restaurant teasing in the distance.
I was staying in one of the hotel’s junior suites which has a neat vintage vibe overlooking the resort grounds, with the city beyond. Having stayed at the hotel’s sister property in Dublin (the fabulous Wilder), I expected quirks in my Montenotte room and they soon became apparent.
The bedroom features a padded headboard, tailor’s mannequin, and colorful porcelain dog that only offers a glimpse of a piece of work by Jeff Koons. The metro’s tiled bathroom with bath, shower, two sinks (and separate WC) calls for a bubble bath. The generous supply of plastic bottled water seems a bit at odds with the hotel’s overall environmental policy, but overall it creates a nice ‘treatment suite’ starting at € 305 a night.
The Montenotte panoramic terrace has become one of Cork’s trendy aperitif spots since it opened in 2017. And not to rest on its laurels, the hotel has just unveiled its latest space, The Glasshouse. Just opened last month, the new rooftop bar and terrace accessed by a spectacular glass bridge is a cocktail oasis with a certain London Ivy feel. The drink menu is inspired by their Victorian garden below and I enjoy a refreshing Cucumbara made with Blackwater Vodka, white port, cucumber syrup and topped with prosecco; delicious and a treat for 13 €.
Dinner at the panoramic terrace was very good (and more memorable than a previous visit). The highlight was a signature tomahawk steak accompanied by a delicious Quinta Seara D’ordens red from Portugal. Meanwhile breakfast really saw those panoramic views come to life and with the pleasure of a self-service buffet and make-to-order options, I found it decently priced at € 15 per person for those considering a B&B rate.
I enjoyed a great Corkcation at Montenotte. In addition to its boujee restaurants and bars, the hotel’s Bellevue spa, swimming pool, and cool retro cinema all create a rich hotel experience for outsiders, while also providing a hideaway appeal for those looking for a local break. And it’s all just 10 minutes downhill to MacCurtain Street. Aspects like the hotel’s sculpture garden and its artist-in-residence program add depth to the hotel’s palette that could easily draw on the Instagrammable. It would be nice to see these aspects highlighted a bit more!
The Montenotte has exciting ambitions for the future, but for now, with its mix of existing offerings embellished by The Glasshouse, the hotel has taken it to the next level.
Montenotte rooms start at € 225 per night. The hotel’s current Sunset Breakaway package includes one night’s room and breakfast for two adults, with a table reserved at the Glasshouse upon arrival to enjoy a signature Royale Rose cocktail made with bespoke “Montenotte Gin”, fresh strawberries and prosecco. A two-course lunch at Panorama Bistro on the day of arrival or departure seals this offer for € 295.
The hotels of the Grande Dame of Cork, The Metropole has never stopped reinventing itself over its 123 years of history and 2021 is no different. The hotel has undergone a recent renovation and offers some of the most affordable accommodations in town while The Met is the hotel’s chic new restaurant, bar, cozy lounge and (“absolute basics!”) Prosecco.
There’s even an outdoor seating area where you can soak up the hustle and bustle of MacCurtain Street. The hotel’s recent draw is the new Harley’s StrEAT Market, located next door, which offers everything from cocktails to coffee and burritos to specialty burgers. Single room rates start at just € 115 for their compact ‘comfortable rooms’ with exclusive double rooms starting at € 149 including breakfast.
With a river view of Sunday’s Well in Shandon, The River Lee offers a unique trait for a city break: pure tranquility. The Deluxe Rooms here have a retro Scandinavian feel with Modernist floor-to-ceiling windows covering those vistas of the city outside. The buzz can be found a few floors to the south, however, where The River Club bar and restaurant has become not only a popular draw for patrons, but also a popular spot for discerning customers: the people of Cork.
This weekend sees the last chance to enjoy Meadow at The River Club, the hotel’s pop-up summer terrace (where € 1 of each signature cocktail will be donated to the Vita Climate Change charity) and there are already new plans for a new fall / winter terrace to unveil next month. Stay tuned. Bed and breakfast rates from 231 €.