Behind the scenes of every hotel in our collection is a dedicated team committed to protecting and preserving the wonderful legacy of Europe’s greatest historic hotels. We travelled to the south of Ireland for a closer look at two very different locations: a hotel overlooking the majestic beauty of Kerry’s Kenmare Bay and a Victorian gem in the heart of Cork City.
Let’s meet some of the people at the heart of these world-renowned hotels to find out a little bit more about what makes them truly unique — from inspiring food philosophies to a new campaign designed to get guests involved in local history.
Park Hotel Kenmare: Kerry, Ireland
Kenmare in the south of County Kerry is a picturesque heritage town surrounded by the beauty of the Ring of Kerry. Overlooking the stunning bay, the charming Park Hotel Kenmare dates back to 1897 and prides itself on serving up delicious, locally produced fare to its global visitors. We caught up with Executive Head Chef James Coffey for insights into his food philosophy and explored the daily routine of beloved Bar Manager John Moriarty.
My journey began in County Limerick in 1979 when I was born in the midst of great land and produce. Michelin-starred chef Aidan McGrath was my first mentor; after a number of years, with his encouragement, I ventured to London to complete my training in a number of inspiring Michelin Star Restaurants.
Ireland called me home and I worked in a number of five-star hotels, moving through the ranks before taking over as Executive Chef in the world-renowned Park Hotel Kenmare. Here I had found my tribe. I am an avid hunter and forager and in Kenmare I found the perfect restaurant to form and cook my style of food — cooking local, ethical food and working with the local farmers, fishermen and growers who surround and supply the hotel. Their fields, boats and farms are stations in our kitchen.
I am surrounded by a great team and am proud of having attained RAI Hotel Restaurant of the Year 2019 and The Ireland Guide 2019 Chef of the Year. I have had wonderful people who inspired me on my food journey; I live for food and make the most of everything nature provides in Kerry.
Another important member of the Park Hotel Kenmare team is Bar Manager John Moriarty, who presides over an impressive in-house whiskey collection. Over the decades, John, who studied at Middleton’s Whiskey Academy, has encouraged many new team members with words of advice and training. He takes pride in making guests feel at home in the elegant hotel bar and enjoys sharing tales about the local area, its history and culture. John unwinds in his free time with invigorating hikes on the nearby Kerry Way walking route.
Metropole Hotel: Cork, Ireland
Nestled in the heart of Cork City’s vibrant Victorian Quarter, The Metropole Hotel Cork is the city’s most iconic hotel, legendary for its high standards of hospitality and warm service. Rich in character, this opulent hotel has hosted world-famous authors, actors and artists and its welcoming atmosphere is well-known. We spoke with General Manager Roger Russell to find out why 2022 is a very special year for this historic landmark.
This year, The Metropole Hotel Cork celebrates 125 years in Cork City. As one of Cork’s oldest hotels, we celebrated with our #MET125 Campaign. We wanted to showcase our rich and unique heritage as well as our hotel’s place in history in the heart of Cork City. Our digital team took their skills offline and partnered with the local Cork Archives to curate an exhibition with photos of our hotel and the city throughout our history.
We uncovered fascinating stories throughout the years — including the burning of Cork, a visit from Walt Disney and Ella Fitzgerald, the history behind why Turkish Delight (a Persian delicacy) is now widely accepted as a ‘Cork’ treat, and much more. We commenced our historic tours of the hotel to allow guests to steep themselves in its history and discover more about ‘The VQ’ — the historic area of the city in which we are located. To become part of the celebration, guests can also avail of our anniversary offer, which includes bespoke treats throughout their stay.
Curious to learn more about our historic hotels? Check out the full Collection.