A fascinating blend of the elegant and interesting
Bringing together a 17th century classic manor house and a luxurious contemporary wing, with gorgeous grounds featuring a tranquil swan lake, a challenging golf course, the dramatic ruins of an 800 year old castle and impeccably restored parterre gardens, Castlemartyr Resort in East Cork is a fascinating blend of the elegant and interesting, the modern and historic.
A 5 star country house hotel in 220 acres of mature, rolling parkland speckled with meandering streams and glistening lakes, the lovely old mansion house at the heart of the resort, with its cut-stone pillars and Georgian windows, is allied to a crisp-angled block housing the magnificent spa and linking to the new wing with its lavish bedrooms.
The clean lines of the new wing fit perfectly with the regular, symmetrical, Georgian lines of the old and, of Castlemartyr’s 103 bedrooms and suites, 11 of them are in the original and impeccably restored manor house and 92 in the sophisticated and contemporary new wing.
Many of the Manor House Suites have sweeping views of the parkland and lakes, and all the bedrooms at Castlemartyr have plenty of space in which to relax, ranging from a generously proportioned 500 sq ft to an enormous 3,000 sq ft.
In warm tones of cream and gold, with rich reds, browns and polished woods, parquet and shining brass, deep-pile rugs and marble bathrooms, throughout Castlemartyr all is comfort, and relaxed, traditional elegance. With occasional pops of contemporary style in the classic spaces and gentle nods to tradition in the modern, there are many interesting artworks and quirky details. Underlying everything else, however, there is a relaxed and warm, genuinely hospitable sense that comes from professional staff who care about what they do. Castlemartyr is close to Midleton, home to one of the country’s finest farmers’ markets, showcasing the huge array of excellent produce grown and raised in the locality. The famous cookery school and its legacy at Ballymaloe is also very close by, so the whole area feels particularly alive to the quality and choice of superb ingredients, and it is reassuring to see the best of the local producers’ names dotted throughout the menus at Castlemartyr. Whether it’s in the Bell Tower Restaurant overlooking the gardens, in the relaxed and elegant Knights Bar, or the contemporary Clubhouse, or indeed at a wedding or conference at Castlemartyr, Chef Kevin Burke, from Bandon in West Cork, produces food which echoes the same relaxed, comfortable, confident feel of the entire hotel, celebrating local provenance, craft and quality, and delivering maximum taste.
Traditional afternoon tea at Castlemartyr is a firm favourite, served daily at 3 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. in one of the lounges or, in fine weather, on the Garden Terrace overlooking the pretty beds of the restored parterre gardens. A stunning country house setting for an elegant wedding, all the elements of Castlemartyr make it a superbly picturesque backdrop to a special day. Accommodating up to 190 guests, the hotel also caters for civil ceremonies, with a range of private rooms perfect for intimate vows or larger celebrations. From bespoke weddings to inclusive packages, Castlemartyr’s wedding coordinators are available to meet prospective brides and grooms from Monday to Saturday or by appointment. Castlemartyr also specialises in luxury pre-wedding pamper packages in the spa to help preparations for the big day and to calm any nerves!
The Spa at Castlemartyr Resort is a spectacular 24,400-square foot wellness, spa and fitness centre where the wrap-around glass frontage surrounding the 20 metre swimming pool and Water Room gives unbeatable views out over the country estate. Whether the rain is beating against the glass while you enjoy a gently heated dip in the depths of winter or the expansive blue sky stretches cloudless over your swim on a glorious summer’s morning, this is a special experience, to be had only at Castlemartyr.
With 10 treatment rooms, jet pool, aromatherapy sauna and steam room, Spa Café, relaxation rooms and vitality lounges, the Spa at Castlemartyr uses the gorgeous ESPA spa products, as well as offering Shellac Nails, Jessana manicures and pedicures, and MAC makeup.
All guests have complimentary use of the 200 square meter gym and fitness studio, equipped with the very latest Technogym fitness equipment, that has stunning views from its setting above the pool, out over the manicured lawns. There is also the option of personal training in the fitness studio with daily programmes of exercise and relaxation classes including aqua exercise, pilates and yoga.
With archery, croquet on the lawn, clay pigeon shooting, or even a game of hurling, there are options of all kinds to get outdoors at Castlemartyr, including taking Earl & Countess (the resident Irish Setters) for a walk in the grounds, or through adjacent Castlemartyr Wood, or playing a round of golf on the resort’s golf course.
The inland links-style golf course and stylish and contemporary pavilion Clubhouse and Pro Shop at Castlemartyr are popular with golfers from home and abroad. A stimulating 18 hole, 6,790 yd, Par 72 golfing challenge from renowned designer Ron Kirby, who also created Irish masterpieces at Dromoland Castle, Old Head Kinsale and Mount Juliet, golf at Castlemartyr Resort is visually pleasing, testing and a pleasure for players of any calibre. The golf course at Castlemartyr Resort is a reduced impact course, pioneering in its use of pest-tolerant, low-maintenance fescue grass and the first in Ireland to employ Perma Pore peat substitute.
Castlemartyr Resort is a family friendly place, where children have their own Kids’ Zone, enjoy their own splash times in the indoor pool, and choose from their own menu in the Bell Tower. For those V.I.Ks (Very Important Kids) there are mini bathrobes and slippers, arrival treats, a selection of DVDs, Wii, cupboards full of games, and the option of fully qualified and registered baby-sitters. As well as Kids’ Club activities daily during holidays, fun-filled days out in Fota Wildlife Park, Leahy’s Open Farm and Blue Flag beaches beckon, all just a short trip beyond Castlemartyr’s gates.
The village of Castlemartyr itself takes its name from the ruined castle on the grounds, built in 1210 by the Knights Templar under the leadership of Richard Earl de Clare, more commonly known as Strongbow. In the centuries that followed, the castle and lands changed hands many times, with Sir Walter Raleigh and Richard Boyle, the first Earl of Cork, among its owners.
Now, hundreds of years later, Castlemartyr Resort is a prestigious and welcoming 5 star treat, where there is great food to be had, walks to be strolled, spa treatments to be indulged in, golf to be played, with swans on the lake, horses in the paddocks and dogs to be walked and all right with the world… pleasure and relaxation, history and modernity, elegance and luxury, all in wonderful East Cork, on the doorstep of the vibrant city of Cork.