Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Radisson SAS Hotel and Spa

1 Dec 2005 by business traveller

First impressions Having opened in September, this is the ninth Radisson SASto arrive in Ireland and when the new terminal at Cork airport opens next year the hotel will no doubt capture some of the three million extra visitors expected as a result. Initially I was a little disappointed as the hotel is set on an industrial estate mostly inhabited by pharmaceutical companies. But I was pleasantly surprised. A long driveway lined with trees curves up to the new hotel, which is joined to the listed 19th century Ditchley House, which is now used as meeting space. The modern section houses the guestrooms, a hydrotherapy swimming pool, a huge ballroom and a large bar and restaurant.

Where is it? Little Island is an industrial estate with around 160 companies. It's a10-minute drive from both the airport and Cork city centre.

How many rooms? 129 including seven suites.

Room facilities The rooms have two themes, "urban" and "ocean". I had an ocean room, decorated with water-themed photographs and an icicle-shaped mirror. The carpet was a swirling wave of blue, green and beige and the bed was lit with wave-shaped back lighting in the same colours. The urban rooms are red and orange and decked with modern art.

All rooms have free broadband internet access, tea and coffee making facilities, minibar, electronic safe, hairdryer and an ironing board so well hidden I could not find it at first (it slides out from the TV unit). None of the rooms has air conditioning. The view from my room looked out over a building site, but this will change in time; in the meantime it might be worth asking for a room overlooking the lawns and driveway.

Restaurants and Bars The Island Grillroom serves modern cuisine and is comfortable, with dark colours and dimmed lights. I chose duck with potatoes and steamed organic vegetables, which was excellent. There is also an excellent buffet breakfast served in the same room, and with bright morning light streaming through the windows it feels much fresher than in the evenings. The Banks bar is next to the restaurant and is popular with local businessmen working on Little Island, making it already feel like a friendly local.

Business and Meeting facilitiesThe business centre is open 24 hours and is equipped with two computers with internet access. For meetings, the hotel can cater for 400 people in the ballroom and there are smaller meeting rooms in Ditchley House – most with views over the lawn. There is wifi for guests with their own laptops, and cables for in-room wired access are available at reception.

Fitness Centre The Retreat Spa and Fitness Centre has several individual treatment rooms with Elemis products. The 18-metre hydrotherapy pool is impressive with its individual massage seats, waterfall and counter jet streams. The pool looks over the main driveway which I found slightly disconcerting as there is two-way glass and guests arriving and leaving can peek in. There is also a well-equipped gym.

Verdict The hotel offers efficient and friendly service and the new building seems well placed next to the charming Ditchley House. Both parts of the hotel keep their own distinct character, and being close to the airport and Cork is an advantage.

Price Full rate for a standard room is €140. Internet rate for midweek stay in early December was €125 (cancellation fees apply).

Contact Radisson SAS Hotel and Spa, Ditchley House, Little Island, Cork, +353 21 429 7000,

Felicity Cousins

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