A hotel with easy elegance – The River Lee in Cork is reimagined with style and sophistication in a chic new look

Guests to Cork’s central and elegant The River Lee, set on a picturesque bend in the river just a short walk from Cork city centre, have seen some stunning changes to the hotel, with renovations during 2018 and this year to the entire ground floor, and refurbishments to the hotel’s 182 bedrooms well underway.

The River Lee has been entirely reimagined and the hotel’s ground floor now includes sleekly stylish spaces like The River Club Bar, Terrace and Grill Room, the glamorous private events space, The Mirror Room, and the new destination in the lobby, The Cocktail Bar, which is also home to the hotel’s cleverly quirky afternoon tea with menus changing seasonally and where local collaborations bring an inspired update to a classic afternoon tea.

The River Club at The River Lee brings a polished and confident sense of relaxed glamour to Cork’s buzzing restaurant and bar scene. With a cool cosmopolitan vibe in the Bar, sophisticated dining in The Grill Room and a distinctly Mediterranean feel on the riverside Terrace, The River Club is Cork’s most indulgent destination to eat, drink and be social. 

Where modern luxury meets the renowned charm of Cork, The River Club’s stylish décor is complemented by friendly staff, a vibrant atmosphere, creative menus championing Cork produce and an unmatched riverside location. Since it opened it has become a go-to venue for Cork’s social set and hotel guests alike, an attractive series of spaces designed to be enjoyed at all times of the day and night, with a natural flow created as the lighting, music and mood shifts from work to play.

In The River Club Bar, a tall handsome room with reclaimed wooden beams from Scotland, the long mahogany bar with its towering backdrop of sparkling mirrored shelving and fine selection of local pours anchors the space. The chevron-patterned floor tiles at the bar are echoed in the herringbone parquet floors and in the angles of the impressive frosted glass Deco-style chandelier casting a soft glow on the room. Cosy deep-buttoned leather couches and marble-topped tables create the ideal setting for slow sips and long chats.

On The River Club Terrace, dappled riverside light and tropical tree ferns create a balmy urban hideaway that can be transformed into a heated winter haven, where the mood and pace reflect the river running alongside – upbeat and energised or easily meandering. The River Club Terrace is the perfect place to enjoy all-day outdoor dining, even in the winter months when it is transformed with rich textiles, cosy throws and warming drinks, and at the weekends vinyl playlists set the tone for a buzzing brunch scene.  

Then venture further into The River Club to experience The Grill Room. With its deep teal-panelled walls, curved cognac leather banquettes, richly reflective brass accents, golden blown-glass globes casting a flattering light and playful art, The Grill Room is a laid-back restaurant channeling old-school glamour in a confident, contemporary way. Whether it’s date night, a leisurely Sunday lunch or a late-night treat, The Grill Room’s elegant atmosphere is matched by the gourmet simplicity of the menus, bringing the bounty of this famously lush part of the world to the city, using fine local ingredients in creatively crafted ways.

The Mirror Room is a stunning new space offering an unparalleled setting for special events, overlooking the river. With its own dramatic mahogany bar, imposing gilt-edged mirrors, luxurious Italian wall hangings, mid-century German chandeliers and plush velvet seating, the glamorous Mirror Room raises the bar for private event spaces in the city. 

The Cocktail Bar at The River Lee is a chic, modern take on a mid-20th century cocktail bar. With an irresistibly smart and sassy menu full of gorgeous interpretations of classic drinks filtered through the lens of exceptional Irish ingredients, as well as new and imaginative cocktails, The Cocktail Bar ticks all the boxes for any cocktail lover. With rich textures inviting you to linger, a magnificent hand-carved mahogany bar with white marble counter and a wonderfully relaxing ambience, rare and famous whiskeys from neighbouring Midleton and elsewhere are served in bespoke crystal cut glassware, handcrafted in Criostal na Rinne, showcasing the great produce of Cork and its surrounding regions.

Renovations to the 182 bedrooms at The River Lee are underway, bringing the signature style touches seen throughout the ground floor through to the rooms. Cool, soothing décor with an emphasis on timeless style will have the occasional vivid accent of coloured velvet echoing the adding an extra sensory layer to these refined and graceful rooms.

The dedicated business floor, The Hub, offers eight flexible working environments with space for anything from five to 110 people. Each of these quiet and secluded rooms is infused with natural light and offers views across the historic part of the city, taking in sights like St Fin Barre’s Cathedral and University College Cork. With the latest conferencing equipment and secure underground car parking available, The River Lee hotel is a great place to host a wide variety of events, while the business centre’s private lounge provides a spacious reception area, perfect for registration and refreshments throughout the day

With spacious, thoughtfully-designed rooms, luxuriously laid-back riverside dining, a first-class fitness centre with 20m pool, secure underground car-parking, complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and expert concierge services to ensure all guests make the most of their stay in Ireland’s ‘second city’, The River Lee makes an amazing base to discover everything Cork has to offer.

Cork is a lively cultural town with an opera house, independent art galleries, museums and theatres, and electric nightlife, hosting several festivals throughout the year – notably culinary, music and film. Additionally, it has a thriving and eclectic cocktail and craft beer culture and a food scene centred on the famous English Market, plus it is ideally placed for visits to historic inland towns and villages, as well as those sprinkled along Ireland’s ruggedly beautiful southern coastline with its many Blue Flag beaches.

The River Lee, Cork – easy elegance in the heart of Cork on the banks of the River Lee.

WCP Staff

WCP Staff Writer

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