Wednesday 28 September 2016

Cork's Grand Dame: The Imperial Hotel's million-euro upgrade

In Photos: Rebel City refurb

Published 22/06/2016 | 01:00

76 on the Mall, Imperial Hotel, Cork
76 on the Mall, Imperial Hotel, Cork
A newly refurbished bedroom at the Imperial Hotel, Cork
Newly refurbished bedroom, Imperial Hotel, Cork
Seventy Six on the Mall, Imperial Hotel, Cork
Lobby at the Imperial Hotel, Cork
Pat O’Connell, Lord Mayor Chris O’Leary and Paul O’Connell pictured at the 200 year anniversary celebrations of The Imperial Hotel in Cork city. Photo by Conor Healy Photography.
Imperial Hotel, Cork
Nicky Foley, executive chef at the Imperial Hotel, Cork
Spa at Imperial Hotel, Cork
Imperial Hotel ballroom

Cork's Imperial Hotel, celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2016, has re-launched after a year-long upgrade.

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The Flynn Group invested almost €1 million in a step-up and renovation of its flagship four-star hotel ahead of its bicentenary year.

The investment sees a revamp of all 125 bedrooms, a new gym for residents, and a new bar replacing South's, just off the lobby - ‘Seventy Six On The Mall’.

The hotel has also appointed a new executive chef, Waterford-born Nicky Foley, who has worked for five years with Richard Corrigan at Bentley's in London.

Originally designed as commercial rooms for city merchants in 1813, the Imperial has a storied history. Charles Dickens once gave a reading here, Daniel O'Connell addressed an assembly at the hotel, and Franz Liszt gave a piano recital in 1841.

Most famously, Michael Collins spent his last night in Room 115, before meeting his fate at Béal na Bláth on August 22, 1922.

A newly refurbished bedroom at the Imperial Hotel, Cork
A newly refurbished bedroom at the Imperial Hotel, Cork

The Flynn family bought Cork's 'Grand Dame' in 1998, investing €10 million in a re-develompent that included the addition of its Escape Spa in 2006.

One of four hotels operated by the Group, the Imperial's renewal sees bedrooms redesigned with blue tones, luxe fabrics and digital interactive TVs, while the bar has been inspired by the work of Irish architect and interior designer, David Collins.

Seventy Six on the Mall also features a wide palette of blues, a marble bar, private dining booths and an atmosphere described as "a somewhat nautical, summer sky, holiday feel" that invokes the coast, "or indeed the Hamptons".

The bar serves lunch, dinner and a wide selection of drinks.

Nicky Foley, executive chef at the Imperial Hotel, Cork
Nicky Foley, executive chef at the Imperial Hotel, Cork

The Imperial also features the Aveda Escape Spa, a ballroom, Lafayette’s coffee dock, Pembroke Restaurant and "posh fish n' chips" at the Fish Hatch.

And the price?

Rooms are available from €105pp, while a #LoveCork package bundles two nights' B&B, one dinner and a signature 'Michael Collins' cocktail from €189pp.

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