By Rebecca Lee
The Kingsley Hotel Cork
In search of a short girly getaway that offered both a mixture of madness and relaxation, I embarked on a trip to Cork for a girly getaway with my sister Rachael. Wanting to stay at least an arm’s length away from the buzzing city nightlife but not too far, we decided to spend a weekend at the posh, plush Kingsley Hotel. The Kingsley is a four star development located a 20 minute walk from Cork City centre. The hotel is part of the Fota collection, it was bought by Chinese buyers the ‘Kang’ family in 2013 making it a sister of the infamous Fota estate in the East of the City. The spa hotspot which proudly perches on and overshadows the River Lee consists of 131 rooms all of which range from standard to junior suites. It also offers a penthouse suite for those who really want to splash the cash. It has a wide range of facilities for both young and old including a spa with swimming pool, Jacuzzi, gymnasium and a luxurious thermal suite area. I was also delighted to discover it has plenty to offer foodies like myself with fine dining offered in The Fairbanks and The Springboard restaurants and casual eats provided in its K lounge and Fisher’s Bar.
Wanting to go that extra mile in terms of luxury, myself and Rachael booked a Junior Suite for ourselves. It contained all the usual necessities such as plasma TV screens, sink til you sleep mattresses and a spacious walk in shower. It also boasted impressive vintage style décor and intricate glass blown lamps which gave it that added wow factor. Our room was inarguably cosy, quaint and comfortable. We also viewed the hotel’s standard rooms which while not as ‘in vogue’ should I say interior wise were equally as good in terms of size and facilities.
We began our weekend with a truly magnificent fine dining experience in the hotel’s main eatery The Fairbanks Restaurant. We were seated in a large glass conservatory area overlooking the River Lee where enjoyed some fine wines and watched the world go by to a pianist who performed soothing classics on a grand piano. Our delectable dinner which consisted of Blueball Fall’s Goats cheese, confit tomato and parmesan spaghetti and an 8oz steak with the all important ‘Jus Lie’ truly tantalized our taste buds all at a fair price. I would highly recommend dining at The Fairbanks restaurant whether staying in The Kingsley or not. It would also be a crime not to mention the breakfast! There was a fairly decent selection on offer from your usual fry (which offered the tastiest scrambled egg I’ve ever had!) to continental cheeses, meats, cereals and freshly baked artisan breads. Trust me the breakfast is worth getting out of bed for!
Rachael and I dine at The Springboard restaurant
Wanting to celebrate our girly weekend away in style, we headed out on the town on both nights for a spot of drinking and dancing. As The Kingsley Hotel is located on the outskirts of the city, a taxi into the very heart of Cork’s nightlife costs ten euro (we could walk if we wanted but as most women would agree, it’s no fun in stilettos!) If you’re looking for a hearty laugh and various levels of madness I would recommend a trip to Rearden’s on Washington Street and The Voodoo Rooms, both of which cater for people of all ages and offer a wide selection of bars for whatever the mood and whatever the weather.
Having just two days to explore the bustling city, Saturday saw us shop til we nearly dropped on Oliver Plunkett Street. We also paid a visit to the famous English Market where we purchased some fabulously fresh foods and I got to admire the proud polish job on the plaque from Queen Elizabeth II’s visit back in 2011.
On Sunday we reached the conclusion that no trip to Cork would be complete without a visit to Fota Wildlife Park. Having not visited the booming tourist attraction in years, I was pleasantly surprised by the scale, size and friendliness of the animals including the giraffes who took a shine to my cardigan and tried to eat it! Their latest addition the Indian Rhino is also fairly impressive (and suitably scary).
Overall whether you’re looking for the crazy or the comfort factor The Kingsley has it all. It’s a hotel that caters for everyone from singles, to couples, to families (it even has a kids club so both mum and dad get a break!) I would highly recommend staying here if planning a trip to Cork, the only thing I would recommend is that you bring the car as it’s located a little bit away from the main bus and train station. In comparison to other hotels it has to be said the biggest strength of The Kingsley Hotel lies in its fantastic staff who go above and beyond to ensure your stay is as comfortable and personable as possible. They even remember your name, which in our case we’re not sure whether that’s a good or a bad thing!
As featured in The Sunday World