The second half of our trip to Ireland brought us to Cork, where we had the privilege of staying the the historic Maryborough Hotel & Spa.
The hotel has such a rich history dating back to the early 1700s, and I loved that staying here made me feel like I was stepping back in time to a country retreat. The country manor was built in 1710 and was the original house of the Newenham family. When you walk into the lobby, there is a beautiful fireplace framed by two comfortable arm chairs and everything keeps with the period the house was built when the Newenham’s walked its halls. I particularly loved looking up at the elaborate crown molding and the beautiful ceilings.
Our room was enormous with a separate bedroom and sitting room with high ceilings, exposed beams and even a fireplace. The sitting room was so charming, and they provided us with a vintage tea set with a pretty pink flower pattern and loose tea which was such a nice touch. Our first morning we put up some water and sipped tea in our plush robes before setting out for the day. It made us feel distinctly un-American, in a good way.
Despite the hotel keeping the decor aligned with its history, and sourcing furniture and other pieces from that time, we loved that it had modern fixtures in all of the right places. An example would be the bathroom, which was wstunning and fully stocked with Espa bath products. We loved the beautiful shower and bath, and even threw in some of the divine bath crystals they provided us with, which came in handy after a long day in the cold exploring the scenery on the Ring of Kerry.
The hotel sits on eighteen acres of property that is beautifully manicured and green every which way you turn. In addition to the grounds, they have a greenhouse extension call the Orangery which is the perfect venue for weddings, corporate events or other functions such as a bridal or baby shower. Our hotel room overlooked the Oranegry and we were in awe of its beauty. In the daylight, the sun drenches the interior.
The staff just went above and beyond our entire stay, from greeting us warmly, to arranging transportation each day, to opening the restaurant up early. There were delicious macaroons and cookies as well as wine laid out in our room upon arrival, which was such a sweet gesture.
We had the most exquisite dining experience at Maryborough’s restaurant, Bellini’s. In the mornings, it is where they serve breakfast. We were fortunate that the staff was attentive enough to open the restaurant up an hour early for us before our Ring of Kerry tour one morning so that we could get a healthy breakfast in. They have a wonderful buffet, with a selection of yogurt parfaits, hot and cold cereals, fruits, meats and pastries and also have a hot menu you can order from. We sampled from the buffet and then ordered up an egg scramble with hot bacon and blood orange tea before our tour, which kept us really full.
Dinner at Bellini’s was next level. I loved that the ingredients are locally sourced from neighboring farms and that they take a moment to spotlight where they source their ingredients. I started with the roasted parsnip and apple soup which was warm and flavorful and got the chill out of me after a long day outdoors. My friend had the pan seared scallops to start which were prepared with tomatoes and rocket oil.
There were too many amazing main dishes for us to settle on one each, so we picked two to share and were blown away by how well they were prepared. We learned early on that Ireland is cow country and the beef is delicious and tender, so, we ordered the Hereford Fillet of Beef, which was served with carrots, celeriac, truffle puree and tellicherry emulsion. We also had the duck breast with fondant potato, butternut squash, fennel and beetroot. I have to say, these dishes were so good that we cleaned out plates, including the carbs and that’s how you know it was good. But seriously, each dish was cooked to perfection, the flavor profiles were rich and interesting and everything was perfectly seasoned.
So, you would think that would be enough for two girls about to go out on the town, right? Wrong. We were stuffed, but the dessert menu was so good that we ordered the gingerbread baked Alaska to split. There’s a reason that Bellini’s won restaurant of the year just recently.
The Maryborough has one of the nicest hotel gyms and spas I’ve ever set foot in, and after reading everything we ate above, you can imagine we made good use of it. It’s another example of where they really splurged and create a modern gym and spa environment worthy of the finest hotels. The gym is gigantic and has beautiful polished wood floors, state of the art machinery and ample space to do floor weights and exercises. We spent a few hours in the gym on the treadmill, stair master and floor space. They also had foam rollers which came in handy given it was the end of our trip and our legs were super tight. The spa and steam rooms were also wonderful and added to the relaxing vibe of the hotel. For those looking for group classes, they offer spin class and others as well. There is spa water on hand, both lemon infused and orange infused.
Our two-night stay went by too quickly, but we have only the fondest memories. Our last morning we had a 5am bus to catch to Dublin. In a sign of the type of service you can expect at The Maryborough, the staff was up and early and had prepared two to-go breakfast boxes for us complete with scones, croissants and fruit to take on our journey. Completely top notch stay all around.