‘A botanical paradise with spectacular views’: The hotel you need to visit on your next trip to Cork
17th Oct 2021
Shayna Sappington reviews one of Cork’s top-notch hotels, with fun and vibrant décor, delicious food, creative cocktails and an unbeatable view.
Our journey to Cork was an adventure within itself — one that ended with a night of pampering and luxury. The IMAGE team and I took a much-needed weekend getaway and, after a long few months of strictly Zoom meetings and phone calls, it was a refreshing tonic.
We boarded the train from Dublin on an early Thursday morning and, after a nearly three-hour train ride, hopped into the nearest taxi we could find. The hotel was just a five-minute drive from the station and the driver wasted no time zooming there. We held our breath as he squeezed the small car between alleyways and parked cars, slowly climbing upwards with each turn.
But the hotel soon came into view and made our short trip up the hill beyond worth it. Built within the former 18th Century residence of a merchant prince, The Montenotte Hotel is set on a cliffside, overlooking a breathtaking view of Cork city below. Its lovely, extravagant exterior is set on a picturesque background and was indeed a site for sore eyes after the narrow streets of the city.
Sweeping views of Cork city
Into the front doors and we were greeted by the lobby, filled with velvet furnishings, unique and colourful art and a lovely lounge that is lined with bookshelves and plushy sofas.
The best views, though, lie just beyond the lobby from the Panorama Bistro and Terrace. The restaurant is at the edge of the cliffside, allowing guests an unhindered, panoramic vista of the city, from the sunken Victorian gardens on the hotel’s property below to the waters of the River Lee and the silhouettes of city buildings along its bank.
If you can, I’d recommend eating your breakfast out on the terrace, so you can enjoy the beautiful view while sipping your morning coffee.
Modern and edgy rooms
The rooms at the hotel are a fun mix of contemporary design and modern amenities. Mine had tartan carpet matched with red patterned pillows and a flamboyant dog statue, balanced by crisp white bed sheets and calming, grey walls.
Small touches truly elevate the space — a Nespresso machine with hot chocolate and coffee pods, a chamomile tea bag and swig of lavender beside the bed, Viennese swirls on the desk and locally made shampoos and soaps for your bath.
After check in and a delicious brunch, the team and I went on a wild dolphin watching tour that afternoon. Our tiny jet boat was met with rain and high swells, so a hot bath in the quiet room was a welcome respite after our adventure.
By far, the highlight of my hotel stay was The Montenotte’s newest addition — The Glasshouse bar and terrace.
After freshening up for dinner, we were escorted through the lobby and Panorama Bistro out onto the terrace outside. Then down a sweeping, open-air staircase into the separate Glasshouse bar.
Its isolation gives the space an elevated, exclusive feel and the inside’s gorgeous interior confirms this even more so. The botanical inspired bar has a vibrant, Art Deco design — a mix of bright colours, plush furniture and fresh greenery fill the space.
The bar slopes out from the south wall into the center of the room, with a sleek, white countertop, blue tiles underneath and a gold frame above wrapped with trailing plants. If I could coin its look in one phrase it’d be ‘sophisticated botanical’ — a refreshing atmosphere from the usual silent and stodgy environment of other high-class hotels.
We tucked ourselves into one of the high-backed, leather booths, sharing an equally tasteful view of the space and the evening vista shining through the clear walls beside us, with moonlight calmly reflected on the riverside rooftops below.
The cocktail menu is filled with classics as well as the hotel’s signature drinks, each prepared by trained mixologists. I highly recommend the Royal Rose, made with the hotel’s bespoke Montenotte gin, strawberries, lemon juice, egg white and a shot of Prosecco on the side. It’s crisp, light and sweet, making it the perfect pre-dinner cocktail.
We could have whiled away the evening in that lovely atmosphere, but the time came (too soon) to move on to our dinner in the bistro. And while the food was fresh and delicious, I found myself sneaking back onto the Glasshouse Terrace for a final nightcap underneath the stars.
Book your stay
Right now, The Montenotte Hotel is offering a ‘Sunset Breakaway Package’ for only €295 per stay. The package includes:
- One night bed & breakfast for two adults
- A reserved table at The Glasshouse on arrival where guests will enjoy a “The Royale Rose” cocktail
- A two-course lunch at the Panorama Bistro either on their arrival or departure day, to further extend and enjoy the visit
For further information on The Glasshouse at The Montenotte Hotel, or to make a reservation, please visit here.
The Montenotte Hotel has a range of fun activities on offer, including regular movie nights in their glamorous Cameo Cinema, their relaxing Bellavue Spa set in a Georgian period house, and their fully equipped Health Club, with an indoor swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi and gym. To book your stay today, click here.