A cracking Cork getaway
In SEARCH of a short 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 no further – we decided to spend a weekend at the posh Kingsley Hotel.
The Kingsley is a four-star development located just a 30-minute walk from Cork city centre.
The hotel is part of the Fota collection – which was bought by Chinese buyers the Kang family in 2013 – and is a sister of the famous Fota Island Resort in the east of the city.
The spa hotspot, which proudly overlooks the River Lee, consists of 131 rooms, ranging 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, gym 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 Fishers 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-till-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 cosy, quaint and comfortable. We also viewed the hotel’s standard rooms, which were equally as good in terms of size and facilities – if not as chic.
We began our weekend with a truly magnificent fine dining experience in the hotel’s Fairbanks Restaurant.
We were seated in a large glass conservatory area overlooking the River Lee, where we enjoyed some fine wines and watched the world go by, while a pianist performed soothing classics on a grand piano.
Our delectable dinner, which consisted of Blueball Falls goat’s cheese, tomato confit and parmesan spaghetti and an 8oz steak with the all-important jus, truly tantalised our taste buds. And it all came 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.
Wanting to celebrate our weekend away in style, we headed out on the town on both nights for a spot of drinking and dancing.
As The Kingsley is located on the outskirts of the city, a taxi into the heart of Cork’s nightlife costs €10 – we could have walked, but it’s no fun in stilettos.
If you’re looking for a laugh and various levels of madness, I would recommend a trip to Reardens 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 till we nearly dropped on Oliver Plunkett Street. We also paid a visit to the famous English Market, where we purchased some fabulously fresh foods.
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 is the Indian rhino Jamil, an impressive guest 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, but I would advise you to 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 that the biggest strength of The Kingsley 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, although in our case we’re not sure whether that’s a good or a bad thing! :
The Kingsley Hotel offers various packages, which can include a spa break, a trip to Fota Wildlife Park (www.fotawildlife.ie) and afternoon tea.
A one night stay including bed and breakfast and free parking starts from €140 per room
For more details see www.thekingsley.ie or call 021 480 0555