While often overlooked in favor of Dublin, Cork offers a truly authentic, almost locals-only vibe (in fact, locals like to think of it as "the real capital of Ireland"), making it the perfect place for travelers craving an off-the-beaten-path escape. Ireland’s second-largest city is also celebrated for its fantastic food scene, youthful quality, and awe-inspiring natural beauty (think: rugged coastline, unspoiled beaches, and towering mountains). It’s not surprising, then, that such a dynamic destination is home to equally eclectic places to stay, including the luxurious River Lee Hotel. Ahead, our full review.
The Look of The River Lee Hotel
Housed in a modern glass building along the river for which it’s named, the hotel’s exterior looks contemporary and stark. The interior, however, is full of whimsy, and will surprise and delight design enthusiasts. Common areas feature colorful couches and patterned rugs, and the lobby has a small library with plush seating to cozy up in. The River Club Bar & Terrace screams trendy thanks to hanging greenery, gorgeous marble tables, and a mix of tufted leather sofas and patterned upholstered seating. The Grill Room is equally chic with its teal-paneled walls, curved leather banquettes, striking light fixtures, and a roaring fireplace. And, last but not least, is the swanky cocktail bar, which serves libations and indulgent afternoon tea in a glamorous setting that features a hand-carved, white marble-topped mahogany bar. Compared to the punchy common areas, guest rooms have a more serene aesthetic with understated décor and a primarily neutral color palette. The large windows let in plenty of natural light and select accommodations have river views.
The Vibe at The River Lee Hotel
The River Lee was designed to serve as a social hub for locals and visitors, and the vibe here is appropriately buzzy. The bar is the place to be for pre-dinner drinks, with a casual and relaxed ambiance. However, if you come for afternoon tea service, expect a vibe shift: While it’s not fancy, per se, it’s definitely more polished.
Who Will Love The River Lee Hotel
Anyone looking for a hotel that’s bursting with amenities — there’s a gym, an indoor pool, a sauna, as well as the various on-site bars and restaurants — but won’t break the bank will love it here.
Who Might Not Love The River Lee Hotel
Rooms clock in at under 330 square feet, which means that large families and groups may want to seek more spacious accommodations. Similarly, it’s worth noting that there are no suites here.
Best Amenity at The River Lee Hotel
The on-site members-only NRG Fitness & Health club is especially noteworthy. Highlights include a 65-foot-long indoor swimming pool, a Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room facilities, and complimentary classes ranging from pilates to spin.
What’s Included at The River Lee Hotel
Your stay includes Wi-Fi, 24-hour room service, and access to the NRG Fitness & Health facilities.
Extra Fees & Costs You Should Know About at The River Lee Hotel
On-site parking is available for an additional cost (approx. $10 per night).
How to Get a Deal at The River Lee Hotel
Check the hotel’s offers tab to view the latest deals, discounts, and promotions, some of which include breakfast, cocktails, or afternoon tea. Doyle DISCOVERY members can snag an additional 10% off their room rates.
The Sweet Season
Visit in Ireland’s low season (October through February) to enjoy the lowest rates on lodging coupled with fewer crowds. Just be sure to pack warm clothes to combat the cold weather!
In The Neighborhood of The River Lee Hotel
The property is set on the banks of the eponymous River Lee. Its central location puts you within walking distance of ample restaurants (including Paradiso for top-notch vegetarian cuisine and Holy Smoke for award-winning BBQ) and galleries (Lewis Glucksman Gallery and Crawford Art Gallery are two must-visits). Notable nearby attractions include The Granary Theatre, The English Market, Fitzgerald’s Park, and Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral.
Nearest Airport to The River Lee Hotel
Cork International Airport is about five miles away (approx. 15 minutes by car)
Nearest Public Transportation to The River Lee Hotel
The Lancaster Quay bus stop is a one-minute walk from the hotel.
For a fun and fashion-forward place to stay that has a plethora of on-site amenities, look no further than The River Lee Hotel.