Lovers of contemporary style will adore the Treacy family’s impressive boutique hotel. It replaced their original much-loved property, which was a sort of ‘Queen Mother’ of the hotel world; all that now remains is the lovely bow-windowed frontage, which still gives a hint of the cosy charm that lay behind.
Today's design-led experience is very different, beginning in a striking reception area, where leather seats are seen in th eery glow of electric-green lighting; then there is the Pink Lounge, which is indeed shocking pink - after that things calm down but it prepares the first-time guest for a funky stay.
This Killarney Hotels accommodation comprises of thirty rooms and five suites, and is exceptionally comfortably appointed as would be expected, but much quieter in tone than the public areas; the style and many of the details will be familiar to guests who know the Treacys’ Killarney Park Hotel (see entry), just across the road.
Some spacious rooms at the front look across to the waiting jarveys with their jaunting cars and horses, and two bay-windowed suites at the top have views across the town to the National Park, but most rooms are notable for comfort rather than outlook.
Public areas include the aptly-named and stylish Lane Café Bar; with glass all along one wall and quirky furnishings, it’s the coolest place in Killarney to meet for cocktails and they serve very good bar food and tapas all day making it popular with local people as well as visitors.
Rooms 29 ( 5 suites, 6 family, 1 disabled, all no smoking); B&B €110 pps (€90 low season), ss €110; Children welcome (under 2s free in parents' room, cot available free of charge); Free broadband wi/fi, secretarial services. Lift; Closed 24-27 Dec.
Undoubtedly the jewel in this stylish hotel’s crown, this stunningly theatrical restaurant is on two levels - a 20-seater mezzanine and a 40-seater lower dining room- and, although a lift is also available, the grand entrance down a curving glass and steel staircase is the stuff that dreams are made of.
Everything about it is larger than life, including the brilliant lime green and shocking pink furnishings (albeit tempered by the sobre greys and browns of the main stage set); but there is definitely method to this mad creativity as it is not only a delightful place to eat but - except that the head waiter’s desk is not handy to arriving guests, which can cause a small delay on arrival - it’s an exceptionally well-designed restaurant from the working angle.
Head chef Ian McMonagle has had responsibility for all food operations in the hotel since it opened, and his à la carte menus in Cellar One are smart and modern, with strong world influences - cajun spiced calamari & lime aioli a signature is offered as an individual dish or (like most of the starters) a sharing dish, for example, and a speciality main course is Tequila prawn & firecracker rice (two rices flavoured with chilli and vanilla) and Tequila butter.
But there are also a few classics and plenty of named local ingredients: a daily special may be devised around Cromane mussels, for example, Kerry beef is an all-time favourite, and you’ll find Skeaghanore duck from nearby west Cork in various guises – in crispy wontons, perhaps, and in a pleasing updated classic main course such as peppered duck breast with braised red cabbage, baked apple, orange & honey sauce.
Vegetarian dishes are very appealing too – and you could finish in high retro style with an individual Baked Alaska.
The stunning setting and great cooking is backed up by friendly, professional staff, and both food and wine are good value. A great night out in fact.