During our ten-day trip through Ireland, my mom and I stayed in many excellent hotels. While all of the accommodation we sampled fit our needs, one stood out: The River Lee in Cork.
I heard about The River Lee through a press release hyping its redesign. But what really drew me in was the apparent modern flair, which contrasts more antiquated options in Cork. When my mom and I arrived, we were happily surprised: The River Lee has managed to stay true to its Irish roots while embracing modern European design (no easy feat).
From the spectacular painting that adorns the wall next to reception to the purple bursts of colour and sleek black piano near the fireplace, the lobby feels elegant, classy and a little edgy. The River Club Bar offers a more adult hang-out space and all the Irish whisky you could hope for.
The rooms are tastefully decorated with splashes of blue, complimented by the floor-to-ceiling window view of the river outside. On the executive floor, the lounge offers an ideal glimpse of the cathedral nearby—not to mention treats and coffee any time of day.
My mom and I breakfasted in The Mirror Room, which can be converted into an event space for private functions. The river-facing room features a dramatic mahogany bar, gilt-edged mirrors, luxurious Italian wall hangings, mid-century German chandeliers and plush velvet seating.
We indulged in fresh honeycomb, which I also sampled in an Old Fashioned on The River Club Terrace in the late afternoon. Surrounded by seasonal blossoms, I was transported to a balmy climate as the sunset reflected off the river. For dinner, my mom and I sliced into steak and a divine dessert in The Grill Room, surrounded by teal accents, curved cognac leather banquettes, reflective brass accents, golden blown-glass globes and custom-made paintings.
However, what impressed me most about The River Lee wasn’t the clean, stylish renovations or even the clear effort to feature Irish artists and materials. It was the attitudes, smiles and genuine assistance from the staff. From the turn down service with a gold-wrapped chocolate to organizing my toiletries in the bathroom better than I ever do myself, they're what really made The River Lee my favourite hotel in Ireland.
Rates at The River Lee start from €170 per night. For more information, visit www.doylecollection.com
Disclaimer: I received a media rate in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.