Hidden down a side street beside University College Cork, this Georgian hotel feels like a fancy family home with its vine-swathed, redbrick exterior, wood-paneled library furnished in deep chesterfield sofas, and lots of fire-warmed corners to curl up in when it’s raining. When the weather is fine, it’s a pleasant 10-minute walk to sites like the English Market that lie south of the River Lee; it’s about 30 minutes by foot to the Cork Butter Museum and Shandon Bells Tower on the river’s north side.
While Hayfield Manor is certainly central to the 120,000-person city, it feels almost suburban thanks to two acres of pretty, flower-filled grounds. A bunch of resident rabbits hop between the cedar, beech, and chestnut trees that shade the greenhouse, and there’s a sometimes-sunny terrace for afternoon drinks. The elegant manor clearly has blue-blooded roots: the Musgrave family, who originally owned it, has come to rule the Irish grocery business since they opened their first greengrocer in Cork in 1876.
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The plus side to the hotel’s residential surrounds? It’s leafy and very quiet. The downside? It’s a bit of a walk to pubs, restaurants, and sights near the center of town. No visitor to Cork should leave without ringing the Shandon Bells at the top of the Church of St. Anne, stopping into the quirky Cork Butter Museum, or sitting down to lunch of beef casserole and Caesar salad at Nash 19 (pick up the homemade granola to take home).
Need to Know
Rooms: 88 rooms, 4 suites. From $200. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Order the gin-and-tonic–cured salmon in Orchids Restaurant, the elegant dining room, or have something slightly more casual (like simple roast chicken or fish) in Perrotts Garden Bistro. Spa and gym details: Beautique, the spa, has a steam room, Jacuzzi, and a pearlescent ceiling reflecting an indoor pool—plus treatments using Elemis products. The small gym is open 24 hours.
Who’s it for: Anyone who appreciates some cozy Georgian comfort—and who doesn’t mind stretching his or her legs a bit to get to the city center. Our favorite rooms: Follow in the footsteps of Lionel Richie, Diana Ross, Henry Kissinger, and Bob Dylan. All have stayed in the Master Suite, which has a dressing room and two bathrooms. Plan ahead: Orchids Restaurant is popular among locals; reserve a weekend table in advance.