Old Jun 2, 07, 9:06 am
  #25  
jmd4211
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 72
Originally Posted by RAPC View Post
I've just come back from a great stay at the Sheraton Fota Island and was really impressed with the hotel.

The Stay
Two nights from 25th-27th May

Location
Knowing that the hotel is a few miles away from the centre of Cork, we decided to hire a car to get to and from the hotel as well as to visit some of the surrounding area whilst we were there. The hotel is about 15 minutes drive from Cork airport, but we weren't travelling at rush hour. It is pretty easy to find, although you do need to watch out for the turning to the hotel as it is around a bend, so pay attention to the handy sign that the hotel has put up. (I didn't!)

The hotel is accessed up a long drive from the road to Cobh through wood and parkland up to the hotel. It is surrounded by wide open spaces, with the golf club being a little bit further up past the hotel. I didn't visit the golf club whilst I was there, but it does have an excellent reputation from what I gathered.

Check-in
After parking in the free car park in front of the hotel, it is a very short walk to the main lobby entrance. We were greeted by one of the concierge team and taken straight to one of the check-in desks across the lobby. There are 3main check-in desks and the whole process is a bit more relaxed as you get to sit down whilst you check-in. The whole process was very warm as we were asked where we had come in from and if we had had a good trip over etc. We were asked if we had any newspaper preferences, wished for a wake up call to be arranged or needed any dining reservations making etc. We asked a few questions about the hotel facilities as well as the restaurants and were given helpful information to help us decide on dinner as well as what to do for the rest of the day.

We were also informed at check-in that we had been upgraded from a Superior room (their 'standard' room I believe) up to one of their suites. In this case it was the same Cherry Suite that leisure warrior had stayed in last year. This was a really nice upgrade for an SPG Gold as we found out when we got to the room.

At the end of the check-in we were walked to the lift and told to get in contact if we needed anything. Another nice personal touch.

The Room - Cherry Suite, Room 304
It really is a superb room and if it is typical of the majority of the suites at the hotel then they are well worth staying in. As you walk in from the wooden floored corridor (another nice touch) you go straight in to an entrance area which then leads into the main living room. Before getting to the living room there is a toilet to your left a separate storage area to your right with a couple of wardrobes and room for luggage.

The main living room itself is pretty large. Part of it is taken up by a small dining table and chairs, the larger section of the room has the main seating area and coffee table etc. Due to the size of the room, it is very spacious even with the dining area, a 2 seater sofa, two chairs with footstool and another additional chair. The sofa and chairs are all very traditional, but very comfortable. Also in the living room is a very large (42 inch or so) flat screen TV, tea and coffee making facilities, a safe and a good supply of reading materials. You could easily host 5 or 6 guests in the living room without it feeling too full!

On arrival in the room we had a selection of fruit waiting for us as well as a hand signed welcome note from the GM. Later each evening a couple of large bottles of water were delivered free of charge along with a bucket of ice.

At the far end of the living room there is access to a private outside decking area. This went across the length of the suite and had a table and chairs to enjoy a drink or a spot of food with views of the woodland behind the hotel. A really nice spot to relax in especially when the weather is nice.

The bedroom itself was a good size with a connecting bathroom through a pair of sliding doors. The king bed was pretty big and probably more of a superking in European terms and featured some good quality bedding as well as a very comfortable mattress. There was plenty of storage space with even more wardrobes and plenty of drawers available. There is woodern flooring in the bedroom unlike in the living room which is carpeted. The bedroom has it's own flat screen TV as well, but it still only the 2nd TV out of 3 in the room! There are circa 30 channels available including the main Irish and British channels, as well as French, German, Italian and American choices as well.


Through the sliding doors leads to an impressive marble bathroom. This features a separate toilet, a nice sized shower, wash basin and changing area as well as a full size bath. As an added bonus for the TV addicts out there, there is also a smaller flat screen TV for you to watch whilst in the bath. Plenty of nice soft towels are in the bathroom (so no need to ask for extra towels for once) and the suites at least feature Molten Brown toiletries.

A fantastic room to stay in with plenty of space to either work or relax in.

Hotel Facilities
Besides the golf course at the hotel, one of the other main features for the hotel is the Fota Spa. We went in on the Sunday afternoon to use their hydrotherapy suite which was fantastic and a nice way to spend a couple of hours. There is also a well equipped gym and a large swimming pool area as well. There are plenty of treatment rooms at the spa and a large range of treatments available. Prices looked pretty reasonable and certainly no more than other good hotels. If you visit the hotel, then I definitely recommend a visit to the spa.

One other bonus at the hotel is that free internet access is available via the business centre PCs which was useful when I needed to quickly check a couple of emails during the weekend.

Food and Drink
From what I can tell there are 3 main areas here:

1) Amber Bar & Lounge serving drinks and bar meals in a nice informal environment. We had a spot of afternoon tea here when we arrived and it was very nice and fresh.
2) The Fota Restaurant. This is where breakfast is served (16 Euros for Continental Breakfast, 22 Euros for the Full Irish option) as well as evening dining. We had one breakfast here which was pretty nice. We also ate here on both evening. The evening menu had a good range with circa 7 or 8 starters, mains and desserts available at a price of 32 Euros for 2 courses or 40 Euros for a 3 course meal. The food was well cooked and tasted delicious. They do some excellent sea food dishes as well as a very succulent Rib-Eye Steak! Service is very good, striking the right balance between friendly and formal.
3) The Cove. We didn't eat there, but this is their top end a la carte dining restaurant with a very nice looking menu. It is a bit more expensive than The Fota Restaurant, but a local couple we spoken to at the hotel were raving about the place. It apparently has a good local reputation.

Check-Out
Again this was swift and smooth, but at 5:30am I wasn't really expecting much of a queue. We were offered a coffee whilst checking out which I thought was pretty good, especially at that time of the morning but unfortunately we had a flight home to catch. The staff member was again friendly and wished us a good onward journey.

Overall
We really enjoyed the stay at the hotel. The staff were very friendly and attentive, the room was great and the spa alone is worth a visit. We'll definitely go back as it is only a short hop from the UK, so a good location for a weekend break. For anyone coming from further afield it is also a good base to explore Cork and the surrounding region. We had a day trip out to the likes of Blarney, Macroom and Cobh in the hire car, but there are plenty of options within driving range to comfortably fill a week.

Finally I also had chance to say hello to James who posts on here from time to time whilst I was at the hotel. As well as being one of Starwood's finest, he's a nice chap as well. If you visit the hotel, tell him FlyerTalk sent you!

If anyone has any questions about the hotel or my stay then feel free to ask away.

Cheers,

RAPC
Dear RAPC,

Thank you for taking the time to provide such detailed and positive feedback following your brief time with us. I am delighted that you enjoyed your stay, and look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Regards,

James
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