Note to fellow fools thinking it’s easy to book a hotel in Cork city days before you arrive: it’s not. Hotels get booked up fast.
So on a recent solo trip to the Rebel County I was beyond thrilled when a last minute room popped up at The Imperial Hotel for €160 for a one night stay. Possibly one of the nicest hotels in the city would be my home for evening.
Built in 1813, the Imperial Hotel was initially used as commercial rooms for city merchants, and the hotel’s most famous guest was Michael Collins, who spent his last night in Room 115, before meeting his fate at Béal na Bláth on August 22, 1922. Fun fact, eh?
Checking in on a sunny afternoon I was instantly impressed with the marble lobby and sparkling chandeliers. Mind you, anytime I’d been in Cork previously it had been grey and rainy so the sunshine combined with the unexpected glamour of The Imperial had me buzzing.
The Imperial Hotel is a 200-year-old building that’s had a recent refurb of its 45 bedrooms
€300,000 was spent on doing up the bedrooms at the start of the year, and each room features King Koil Club Pocket luxury beds, while upgraded bathroom facilities include rain head showers and gorge smelling Orla Kiely toiletries.
Walking down the corridor to the rooms you can tell it’s an old building – the floor practically bounces you along it’s so springy but once you open your bedroom door you’re back into the 21st century.
Rooms have a light blue and orange colour scheme and the light streams in through huge windows.
While the interior of the hotel itself – including the lobby and bar – are quite dimly lit, the bedrooms are a haven of light and I’d soon flung myself on that luxury mattress.
Located right in the middle of everything, I soon settled into the city and hopped in and out of the hotel
My main reason for wanting to stay in The Imperial was its location. Just 10 minutes walk from The English Market and the same distance from the bus station, you can’t beat the convenience of stepping out of the front door and already being where you need to be.
Even when I was checking in early and my room wasn’t ready just yet it was so handy to be able to drop my bags with the concierge, pop out for a stroll and some lunch and get back to the hotel in just a few minutes.
Local coffee shop The Bookshelf Coffee was right next door and kept me fuelled for 24 hours with cold brew coffee and almond milk, as well as their famed baked scones, while speakeasy cocktail bar Upstairs was also mere metres away.
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A luxury spa in the hotel even has a unique Evian hydrotherapy pool – yep, like the water brand
My only regret from my whirlwind stay here? I didn’t get a chance to so much as dip my toe into the spa pool.
Escape Spa has a full Vitality Suite with secluded tropical, rain and mist showers as well as Aroma and Salt Grottos for full relaxation vibes.
Their spa treatments use only organic Voya and Aveda products and there’s some tempting deals on the site that I’ll defo be keeping in mind for my next trip west. The Dry Floatation treatment sounded particularly intriguing: You’re cradled by a warm cosy cushion which adjusts to the shape of your body allowing you to experience a heavenly weightless sensation that’s the equivalent of three hours sleep.
I didn’t get breakfast with my booking and to be honest I don’t think you need to, as Cork has more than its fair share of cute spots to brunch your heart out in.
Leaving my bags once more after checking out, I went for a final wander before swinging by the hotel on my way to the bus stop.
You can’t get handier than The Imperial Hotel in Cork. Timeless decor, a sense of history and all the modern touches you could ever want? Ideal.