Cork's Metropole Hotel is a touch of glamour in the Victorian Quarter
Tradition meets modernity meets really, really nice cocktails.
It's no doubt holidays abroad are going to be popular this autumn, but that doesn't mean you can't still take yourself on a little staycation. What better place to go than the real capital, Cork?
And what better place to stay than the city's oldest hotel? Located smack bang in the middle of Cork's Victorian Quarter, The Metropole Hotel might be best known for its Jazz Festival - and the considerable number of weddings that have taken place there - but the 4-star spot has been at the centre of the city's hospitality for over 120 years.
Thankfully, a century of service doesn't mean century-old lodgings. The hotel has been beautifully renovated to include a contemporary bar, tasteful bedrooms, and cosy dining areas perfect for a three-course meal or an afternoon tea.
A sprig of modern glamour in the Victoria Quarter, the hotel doesn't shy away from its historical past with touches of tradition peppered throughout, including a vintage elevator floor indicator and the prevalence of its iconic red carpeting.
While buffets may be closed at the Metropole, the sit down breakfast menu does not disappoint. For breakfast, myself (a vegetarian) and my guest (a vegan) were offered full Irish breakfasts to suit our dietary needs. The veggie breakfast might have been missing a plantbased sausage or two, but the eggs, crispy hash browns, and the adorable pot the beans came in made up for it.
Also on the menu each morning were pancakes, selections of pastries, Eggs Benedict, fruits, and cereals. Services was fast and the food was fresh - and the orange juice was not mired by the usual 100ml glasses that tend to dominate hotel breakfasts.
Such dietary specific offerings were a little more scarce at dinner, with just one veggie/vegan option for the main course - a vegan cauliflower and potato korma that was light, creamy, and totally delicious.
Starter-wise, veggie options were a lot more frequent with choices between a seasonal soup of the day, a Macroom mozzarella Caprese salad, and a vegan miso seared turnip. I opted for the calamari for a starter because I'm a bad vegetarian. It was worth it.
Myself and my guest went for a cocktail instead of dessert, because listen, we were on our holidays. But if we had've gone for something sweet at the end of the meal, the menu boasted a whole host of tasty treats, vegan and otherwise.
The Barry's Tea crème brûlée absolutely would have been a shout had we not filled ourselves up on curry, Espresso Martinis, and a single Old Fashioned - a necessary night cap, obviously.
Guests of the Metropole can also avail of the hotel's food truck lane, Harley StrEAT. Adjacent to the hotel, the lane offers a small selection of light bites including tacos, nachos, and curries.
But for all the good food and tasty drinks, and the real shining star of the Metropole was the staff. Attentive, helpful, and just generally really lovely, every single interaction we had at the Metropole was more pleasant than the last.
From waiters in the restaurant to housekeepers we met in the halls, everyone was as accommodating as they were friendly. In a lot of hotels you pay for good service - and you pay even more for great service. Here, staff treat you like you're the only guest in the building for a night's stay that isn't going to break the bank.
But hey, maybe it just comes natural to them. Cork wasn't voted the friendliest city in Ireland for nothing.
*The writer was offered a complimentary stay in The Metropole Hotel in exchange for a fair and honest review. You can book yourself a stay in The Metropole Hotel here.