The aptly-named relaxation suite at the Cork Imperial Hotel presents a wonderfully calming environment

WHILE Cork is famed for its traditional villages and historical landmarks, and celebrated for its scenic countryside, its city has never been one to be deprived of recognition.

Playing host to Queen Elizabeth in recent years, and ranked as one of Lonely Planet’s top-10 cities, Cork city has a host of acclamations to be proud of.

Situated on the picturesque River Lee, the city has a clear dedication to the arts, entertaining numerous festivals throughout the year.

It celebrates the Cork Jazz festival in October and is set to see A Cork Christmas arrive this December.

The city is also a clear mecca for foodies, which seemed fitting when we arrived at our hotel destination, the Cork Imperial hotel.

The four-star accommodation is located on the doorstep to the city’s finest fish and meat markets, a stone’s throw from the popular English Market, and just a brief stroll to some of the city’s best dining destinations.

Taking my mum on a girly break to the four-star Cork Imperial saw us arrive at one of the city’s most central havens.

The hotel prides itself on possessing a “contemporary luxury” – a detail immediately evident upon arrival.

The high ceilings, low-hanging chandeliers and meandering hallways were a gentle reminder of the building’s 1812 origins.

After settling into our third-floor bedroom, and admiring the folded bath robe and chocolates presented on each bed, we made our way to the hotel’s main dining room, the Pembroke Grill.

As one of the city’s top restaurants, the chefs at the Pembroke Grill make the most of their surroundings, using fresh local produce to complement the varied menu.

Dinner brought with it a warm goat’s cheese and fennel tartlet, West Cork smoked salmon and an indulgent dessert of Malteser cheesecake with fruit coulis, before we enjoyed some after-dinner drinks in the cosy alcoves of South’s Bar – a haven, it seemed, for both guests and Cork locals alike.

Since a girly break away wouldn’t be complete without some self-indulgence, we treated ourselves to some down-time the following morning, at the aptly-named Escape Spa, located on the lower floor of the hotel.

The boutique-style spa embraces the use of the popular Aveda brand in their treatments, as well as a vitality suite, an aroma salt grotto, an Evian hydrotherapy pool, a relaxation suite and friendly staff members.

My treatment was a personalised elemental nature facial – a 60-minute facial that used a customised masque, personally-chosen aroma oils and some extremely relaxing facial techniques.

With Michael Collins and Charles Dickens named proudly as former guests of the historic hotel, you can see why the Cork Imperial still manages to attract such a huge influx of guests.

The lobby is busy with visitors coming and going, but the restaurant and bar have a steady stream of peaceful company, with the city streets failing to impact on the tranquil interiors of what must be one of Cork City’s most cherished retreats.

For further details on the packages available at the Cork Imperial, see www.flynnhotels.com, or telephone 021 427 4040.

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