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For a great escape without the grief, this hotel in Cork offers an ideally placed home away from home

The River Lee

An elegant executive suite at the Maldron South Mall

Clodagh O’HaganSunday World

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, the elf on the shelf is in full cheeky-escapade mode and you’ve just realised the shopping list you thought was complete has giant auntie and cousin-shaped holes in it. Not to mention the stressful prospect of the Christmas dinner to prep with three different types of spuds and a newly-discovered vegan in the family. You’d be shattered just thinking about it!

Which is why it was so nice to get away before the festive madness, even if it was just for one glorious night. To be able to take a 24-hour pause from adulting the chaotic build-up to Christmas was pure unadulterated bliss — especially because it was a break without my son.

It’s only a few hours south of Dublin but Cork city seemed like a million miles away from home as we checked into the four-star Maldron Hotel South Mall. For me, the minute you get into the car you are officially ‘on holiday’ as the road trip becomes the perfect springboard for the fun that lies ahead.

An elegant executive suite at the Maldron South Mall

This isn’t rocket science but for me, like most, the drive needs to be close enough that it doesn’t take the whole day, but long enough that you’ve gotten all the heavy duty catch-up and issues sorted while in the car, so when you get to your destination and your room all of the baggage has been unpacked, figuratively speaking. The Rebel County ticks this very important box, certainly for anyone living in Dublin.

The Maldron could not be more central for anyone heading to Cork city, making it the ideal location for being in the thick of it, with everything on your doorstep.

A one-night getaway means you don’t want to waste valuable time on taxiing around — plus the beauty of this hotel is that you could very easily jump on a train or bus and walk to it.

You are welcomed in the lobby by a cute Red Bean Roastery coffee shop and residents’ bar, ideal for collecting yourself after your travels before checking in.

The hotel staff at reception stood out for their friendliness and helpfulness in terms of their guest welcome, navigating parking in the one-way city traffic, and recommending where’s good in the city.

The hotel’s star feature has to be its room with a view. We got lucky and bagged the executive suite, which is huge with expansive windows that have notions of New York as you look out over the River Lee and the city.

It is the kind of room you could really make yourself at home in, and feel like you live in the city rather than just bedding down for the night.

Making the most of our one night of freedom, we walked into town for dinner and drinks. However, their Grain and Grill Restaurants serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and also offer a click & collect service for in-room dining if you want to make the most of your room and view for the night.

After a fun-filled night on the town, our heads were a little heavy the following morning. But the delicious (and plentiful) hotel breakfast buffet put paid to any lingering hangover.

We were in no rush, so we spent the rest of the morning chilling before driving home. It was short and sweet — but still very special.

Christmas is supposed to be about treating the kids but sometimes you have to look after mum too. And the Maldron South Mall was a gorgeous little treat.

Travel factfile

■ THE Shop & Drop package is available until January 31. It includes one night B&B, cocktail on arrival and 10pc off at the Kilkenny Shop. See

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