The Maryborough

A forest hotel experience in the heart of Cork – a must visit for hotel enthusiasts

The long and winding road to Cork from Dublin had a lovely surprise at the end of it, in the form of The Maryborough Hotel and Spa in Douglas, a hidden gem awaiting discovery. Having frequented Cork City on numerous occasions, I opted to visit Douglas, away from Cork City but close enough if you wanted to drive in for a browse around. Steeped in history, the Maryborough estate surrounding the hotel boasts a rich heritage dating back over 300 years, with Maryborough House and Gardens at its heart.
Upon arrival, the driveway will take you through lush foliage which immediately sets the tone for a truly indulgent experience. As you step into the lobby, a crackling fire and inviting armchairs embrace you, signaling the beginning of a luxurious retreat. The tranquil ambiance, accentuated by the verdant backdrop of the gardens, immediately eases any lingering tension.

Throughout the hotel, a serene colour palette and spacious layout exude an air of relaxation. Whether you seek solitude with a good book or engaging conversation with fellow guests, the ample dining and lounge areas cater to every preference. As for the accommodations, the rooms offer private balconies overlooking the verdant gardens, complete with sumptuously plumped bedding promising a restful night’s sleep.

A must visit for both myself and my twins is always the swimming pool, which is a great size and with no deep end, I can enjoy some laps while they play in the pool. I was also able to relax in the tranquillity of the adjacent adult jacuzzi, steam, and sauna facilities—a true haven for solo parents seeking respite. There is also a gorgeous spa where you can avail of the Thermal Suite as a hotel resident or book a treatment and spend the day there – anywhere that provides Espa products is a win/win for me.

After working up an appetite, we ventured to the bar for an appetising meal, which earned top marks from both myself and my hungry twins (the children’s portions are great value and a great size portion for €10) We took a leisurely stroll through the gardens where the children were enchanted by the ancient, gnarled trees, resembling an enchanted forest movie scene.

Returning to the comforts of the hotel, we were treated to a plate of homemade cookies—a thoughtful touch and they were devoured by my son. Drifting off to sleep, we felt like royalty atop our luxurious beds, cocooned in comfort.
The following morning, we decided to drive to Kinsale, a first time visit for myself and my twins. From secluded coves (I had a dip with the locals) to bustling streets with tourists, the allure of this coastal retreat left a lasting impression, indicating future visits.

Back at the hotel, we had another swim in the pool before indulging in an appetising dinner at the bar. There is also a restaurant called Bellinis if you would like a more varied food selection but the bar offers a great selection also.
We also opted to explore Fota Wildlife Park in nearby Carrigtwohill, a must-visit for families and animal enthusiasts. Be sure to wear your walking shoes and grab a guarana boost, as this expansive park demands a fair amount of walking, especially if you intend to revisit your favourite spots. For those with little ones and no stroller handy, there’s a train within the park offering single and round trips. With plenty of cafes, ample parking and abundant seating throughout the park, it’s easy to spend a full day here—don’t forget to pack a picnic. Plus, charming Cobh is just minutes away, offering its own array of attractions. Depending on your time in Cork, tailor your activities to suit your interests, whether you’re traveling with family or flying solo.

Throughout our stay, the attentive service provided by Martin, the affable bar manager and the hotel staff, underscored Ireland’s renowned hospitality—a fitting finale to our midterm getaway at The Maryborough Hotel and Spa in Douglas.


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