This weekend just gone, I spent one of the comfiest weekends of my young life in the warm and cosy surroundings of The Kingsley, County Cork.
A ten-minute taxi from the train station, this place is perfectly designed for those of you who want to sack the car, see a new city and get away from it all.
But the best part of it all? The deadly people both front and centre and retiring in the shadows of this marvellous structure.
Behold, The Kingsley.
She's a beaut, ain't she?
What was once considered a 5* hotel, The Kingsley, situated on the banks of the River Lee, was destroyed several years ago by the infamous Cork floods that left the city in tatters.
However, from ashes rise the phoenix, and thus The Kingsley 2.0 was born.
The brains behind the operation decided, both wisely and modestly, to reopen as a mere 4* hotel, as to not compete with their former glory. So, yep, you guessed it – each room, each meal, each massage and even each bed cover are of 5* quality. They're basically just being modest. And giving you a more affordable rate.
Another reason they reopened as a 4* was because they also boast a 5* hotel in Fota Island Resort, so they can offer you both a 4* and 5* hotel, any day of the week.
But we're not here to talk about the comfiness of the beds, or the luxury of the treatments or even the best dessert I've ever had (more on that later), we're here to talk about the customer service.
In the hospitality industry, ironically, the better the reputation of the place can often mean the snottier the staff are. Not always, but it's definitely a ratio that hasn't gone unnoticed.
However, The Kingsley staff could teach us all a lesson. Hospitality industry, or not. These guys could give crash courses on being sound.
I mean, just look at the little details they go out of their way to do to make sure your trip is the best one ever...
And our personal favourite... They put your bloody NAME ON THE TV.
They go out of their way to LITERALLY PUT YOUR NAME IN LIGHTS.
Needless to say, we screamed.
But considering that from the moment we stepped inside the regal doors, we were treated like royalty, it didn't come as too much of a surprise.
All you need to do is check the review section on their Facebook page to confirm that I'm not having you on. We've always been told before that Cork is the real capital, but only now are we starting to believe it.
Each passing moment was filled with wholly genuine smiles, the gliding movements of people who are so good at their job it's almost mesmerising and a warm, welcome feeling of relaxation.
And don't even get us started on the spa...
But anyway, down to the grub.
Naturally, we expected a lot from a previously 5* menu, and it definitely, definitely delivered. Their head chef, Ger Lynch, regularly features on RTÉ to show of her culinary prowess and make us all jealous that we're neither her nor her immediate family. I reckon I'd sell my sisters for a lifetime supply of the pistachio parfait alone.
Imagine having these on hand any time of the day?
We'd be ruined. Maybe it's a blessing that we're not.
Perhaps the only aspect of the whole experience that's better than the food (the jury's still out on the parfait) was the incredible bunch working in the background, foreground and middle ground, allowing every step of our Corkonian visit to be a glorious one. And that's not just because the slippers may actually be made of clouds or a cloud-like substance.
Our overnighter also involved us indulging in some spa treatments, which you can't help but get stuck into upon glancing at the facilities. There's a full luxury thermal suite on offer, which is the greatest of ideas considering the weather we're faced with.
But the best part of it all is that everything used onsite is made up of 100% natural products. So no need to worry whether your sensitive Irish skin would be able to handle things or not – because these professionals have got you covered.
This is speaking from experience... It's rare that I'm not a heated shade of magenta due to my genes, yet I swanned out crystal clear.
We also treated ourselves to massages, which were just excellent. And if flimsy massages aren't your thing, then don;t fret, as these therapists give you just the amount of pressure you want. And I'm pretty sure they sorted out every back problem I've ever had. Nbd.
One of the coolest facets of the whole spa was a heated outdoor pool, from which you can glance upon the River Lee in all its glory, and get check out the scenery from the comfort of your own perch.
They boast very competitive prices for the calibre and standard of services they provide, so if you do have time to kill in Cork City sometime soon, I would highly recommend popping in for an hour to treat yo self. You will not regret it. Vous ne le regretterez pas.
Would I go back?
In a heartbeat. I'm dying to go back to check out the petrified wood structures alone!
You're guaranteed the most relaxing few days of your life, and some spectacular history, luxury and grub in the mean time.
Oh, and did we mention they put your name on the telly?
Check out The Kingsley's website for more details and a look at their impressive rates.