Set in two acres of gardens near University College Cork, the city's premier hotel provides every comfort and a remarkable level of privacy and seclusion, just a mile from the city centre.
Hayfield Manor has the feel of a large period house, and is managed with warmth and discreet efficiency by General Manager Etienne van Vrede and his team. Public areas include a choice of restaurants - the formal Orchids, which overlooks gardens at the back, and the smart-casual Perrotts Garden Bistro - and a pleasant bar that skilfully links the contrasting traditional and contemporary styles of the interior.
Spacious suites and guest rooms vary in decor, but all are are furnished with a mixture of antiques and modern furnishings and have generous marbled bathrooms, each with separate bath and shower.
Pets are welcome by arrangement; there are some rooms with direct access to the gardens, which may be available to guests travelling with a dog, and kennels are also available.
This Cork hotels on-site amenities include the unusual Beautique spa, with indoor pool, and treatment rooms furnished with antiques.
Outside, there have been some interesting additions to the gardens in recent years, including table tennis ingeniously set up in a greenhouse; beside it a there's a big hutch full of lovely friendly pet rabbits and, nearby, an aviary with a varied collection of beautiful birds - plenty to interest younger guests here, and many older ones too.
*Hayfield Manor was our Hotel of the Year in 2006.
Conferences/Banqueting (110/120); business centre, secretarial service; free broadband wi/fi. 24 hr room service. Lift. Turndown service. Garden, golf nearby, leisure centre (fitness room, pool, steam room, jacuzzi); spa (treatment rooms, massage, hairdressing).
Rooms 88. (4 suites, 4 interconnecting, 4 for disabled); children welcome (under 12s free in parents' room, cot available free of charge, baby sitting arranged). Pets by arrangement (permitted in some rooms; kennels available). Lift. B&B about €100 pps, ss €80.
Allow time in Hayfield's Bar - a judicious blend of cosy traditional and chic modern - for an aperitif before going in to this fine dining restaurant, which overlooks the walled garden at the back of the hotel. Its elegant contemporary style works well with the old style of the building, and the well spaced tables are imaginatively arranged in three sections at varying levels, with the main area opening onto the garden.
Emphasising the relative formality - Orchids is normally an evening restaurant, although open for lunch when there is demand - tables are set up classically, with pristine white linen and gleaming glasses.
Menus are based on local produce where possible ("committed to sustainable use of the earth's resources"), and Head Chef Mark Staples continue the tradition of fairly classical cuisine with some contemporary twists for which this restaurant is well known.
Breakfast is a highlight at Hayfield Manor, and it is also served in Orchids. The whole of the adjoining room is set up with a series of buffet tables offering a wide range of juices, fruits, cereals, baked goods, smoked fish, meats and cheeses, and a good hot menu is offered too. With its garden outlook it's a very pleasant place to start the day, and breakfast service is excellent.
Perrotts Garden Bistro:
In a conservatory area at the front of the hotel, this smart and relaxing contemporary restaurant offers an informal alternative to dining in Orchids. Open for lunch and dinner daily, it has a bright and airy atmosphere and plenty of greenery, and quickly became established as a favoured destination with discerning Corkonians who enjoy the ambience and stylish bistro cooking.
The choice of dishes offered is wide, ranging from updated classics, to international lunchtime favourites like Perrotts home-made burger with bacon and Emmenthal cheese, spicy guacomole and tomato relish dip, and hand-cut chips.
Stylish surroundings, varied menus, confident cooking and helpful, attentive service make for a very enjoyable dining experience.