A family affair at Hayfield Manor
Hayfield Manor has a lot of heart, and it’s willing to share the love as Niamh Mac Sweeney discovers on a recent visit.
From Bill Clinton, Lionel Richie, Tony Bennett, Bob Dylan and Diana Ross to Noel Gallagher, Henry Kissinger, Pierce Brosnan, John Cleese and Paul Weller, the list of famous visitor to Cork’s premier hotel, Hayfield Manor, reads like a who’s who of international political, cinematic, musical and entertainment luminaries. And from the moment we stepped into the hotel reception until it was time to depart, we too were treated like every bit the celebrities we are not!
First impressions last, and as we made our way up the tree-lined entrance to Hayfield Manor, we knew instantly that we were in for a real treat. A unique country house right in the heart of Cork city, the hotel is set on two acres of tranquil, leafy gardens and although only a stones throw from the vibrant city, it feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
HEART TO HEART
An oasis of calm, Hayfield Manor first opened its doors in 1996 and since then has been winning over the hearts of its guests with five star luxury and service.
After a prompt and friendly check-in, Frank from concierge shows us to our manor room and home for the weekend – and it is indeed homely. Think old world sophistication blended with contemporary country house charm and you get an idea of the opulence and warmth that emanates from the room.
A building is mere bricks and mortar but what brings it to life is people
Featuring antique furniture and exquisite fabric and soft furnishings, the bedroom has been designed with comfort in mind, and although the room has all the modern amenities one would expect, the traditional features of an old manor house permeates throughout. Rare, warm spring sunlight burst through the four windows of our manor king suite, illuminating the lush interior, and we are happy to bask in it, relax, take a breath and just be.
A building is mere bricks and mortar but what brings it to life is people and this is very true of Hayfield Manor. Personal, uncompromising, inviting, inspiring are all adjectives that spring to mind when describing the staff that work so passionately to make this hotel what it is. And it is this level of professionalism that makes up the core foundations of Hayfield Manor, and secures its reputation as Cork’s finest and friendliest hotel.
Dining at Hayfield Manor offers many options. Located in the conservatory, Perrotts Garden Bistro is a firm favourite among guests and locals alike and its distinct relaxed atmosphere and bright, airy décor, provides an ideal venue to enjoy Mediterranean and international dishes in an informal environment.
‘Go big or go home’ was our motto for the weekend so with that in mind we dined at Orchids Restaurant. Renowned executive head chef, Mark Staples is no stranger to five star establishments having worked his way up from Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland, to London’s Teatro Restaurant and the Merrion Hotel in Dublin. At Hayfield Manor, not only is he responsible for the creation and execution of the imaginative menus, but he also trains the 24 chefs that make up the team at Hayfield.
With so many taste sensations on offer, we have to take our time to consider what to choose from Staples very considered and confident menu. Finally, we make our minds up and start with the tuna tartare with cucumber, wasabi and coriander cress, and the pan seared Atlantic scallops with sweetcorn and crisp pancetta. Both starters are simple but are well executed and wholly delightful.
For the main event, I can’t resist the black sole fillets with lemon pomme fondant, puy lentils and Jerusalem artichoke, while my companion will struggle to find room for desert after a feast of rack of lamb with sweet potato gratin, minted pea purée and tomato, rosemary jus.
Needs must, and somehow we do find room for deserts – a delightful baked Alaska and a blackberry parfait with white chocolate caramel, honeycomb and apple. Both provide the perfect end to a sumptuous dining extravaganza.
The wine cellar at Hayfield Manor is superbly stocked, and sommelière Sandra Biret-Crowley is a font of knowledge. Whether you are an experienced wine buff or an enthusiastic amateur, Sandra is on hand to expand your knowledge and tantalise your palette with new and traditional vintages. And as we linger with the last of our wine, we agree that it is not surprising that Hayfield Manor has been awarded Best Wine Experience in Munster by the Restaurant Association of Ireland.
When you’re fully wined and dined, and want to kick back and relax, there are many nice places within the hotel to sit back and take it all in. From the atmospheric Manor Bar, to a cosy spot in front of an open fire, or my personal favourite, a small art gallery area where local artists’ work is creatively displayed in inspiring and inviting surroundings.
It seems that no stone is left unturned when it comes to inviting guests into Hayfield Manor to enjoy all that is good about life – beautiful art,excellent cuisine and fine friendly people; what’s not to like?
Designed to ensure the utmost comfort and relaxation, The Beautique Spa at Hayfield Manor is a sanctuary for the mind, body and soul.
We take our time to consider what to choose from Staples very considered and confident menu
If chandeliers and pearls are your bag, then you’ve come to the right place. Individual treatment rooms, fully equipped with vintage accessories and antique furnishings, create an elaborate ambiance that is easy to submerge oneself in.
The indoor heated pool, steam room and outdoor Jacuzzi complete the luxurious experience, and if high octane sport is more your thing, then the cardiovascular and weight training gym are there to be enjoyed and endured. It’s far from the city we feel as we are enveloped in the enchanting thermal suite. An Elemis facial and massage seals the deal and we leave dizzy with relaxation.
Hayfield Manor’s tagline – Beyond the Best – certainly lives up to its grand ambitions. Cork’s finest dinning experience, and its friendly and efficient service, certainly goes beyond five star rating. And whether its for business or leisure, a visit is an experience in itself and one worth repeating. This independent, family-owned hotel operates at the highest level and this is palpable at every turn.
General manager, Ettienne Van Vrede is married to the proprietors daughter, Annemarie Scally, and together they expertly manage Hayfield Manor with pride and passion.
A member of two unique hotel collections: Ireland’s Blue Book and Small Luxury Hotels of the World – membership that is a real testament to the uniqueness of this five-star establishment – Hayfield Manor does what it does best and without any visible signs of effort.
An Elemis facial and massage seals the deal and we leave dizzy with relaxation
It appreciates loyalty and recognises faithful customers, and whether a first time visitor or a repeat guest, one thing is certain, you are sure to get the same consistent service and welcome every time.
As the proprietor Joe Scally rightly points out: “As a born and bred country boy, what could be better than having all the amenities of a vibrant city on your doorstep and then to have the ability to gently close the door and leave it all behind you.”
Ettienne Van Vrede backs that statement up by saying: “To me, success is bidding adieu to guests and knowing that they are sure to return to us because they know that they have experienced something special here. I love nothing more than knowing that we have made our mark… we never stop looking for a new angle, a tiny touch here and there that sets us apart.”
And Hayfield Manor is certainly a world apart from many other establishments, mostly because it has a big heart.
THE PLEASURE OF BUSINESS
Hayfield Manor can accommodate meetings from two to 110 delegates in a range of purpose built meeting rooms. All of the conference rooms at Hayfield Manor Hotel feature natural daylight, LCD Projector and screen, complimentary wi-fi and delegate stationery.
A dedicated member of staff is on hand to look after proceedings and there is a Business Centre located within the hotel with complimentary access for meeting organisers. For information or to book: t: +353 21 4845900 / e: firstname.lastname@example.org
FACTFILE • 9km from Cork International Airport • 1.5km from Cork city centre • 3.5km from Kent train station • 88 bedrooms • Three grand suites • One master suite
• 9km from Cork International Airport
• 1.5km from Cork city centre
• 3.5km from Kent train station
• 88 bedrooms
• Three grand suites
• One master suite