Cork's historic Metropole Hotel reopens; 'It’s great to turn on all the lights'

Cork's historic Metropole Hotel reopens; 'It’s great to turn on all the lights'
Roger Russell, General Manager, at the Metropole Hotel which has reopened in Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane.

“IT’S great to see it,” remarked a bread delivery man on MacCurtain Street, beaming as Cork’s historic Metropole Hotel opened its doors to the public for the first time in months.

The Metropole Hotel Cork, established in 1897, has been closed since March due to Covid-19 but it was all systems go yesterday for the grand reopening.

“It’s very exciting. It’s great to turn on all the lights. It’s great to have the team back,” General Manager Roger Russell told The Echo.

The team at Cork's Metropole Hotel are excited to welcome back guests and colleagues to the hotel The team, led by Gen. Mngr Roger Russell and Ria Greaves (asst. Gen. Mngr) and concierge John Coleman have been very busy preparing the hotel for the return of guests. Pictured is Catriona Power, Front Office Manager along with Janice Casey and Damien Fitzgerald. Picture: Brian Lougheed
The team at Cork's Metropole Hotel are excited to welcome back guests and colleagues to the hotel The team, led by Gen. Mngr Roger Russell and Ria Greaves (asst. Gen. Mngr) and concierge John Coleman have been very busy preparing the hotel for the return of guests. Pictured is Catriona Power, Front Office Manager along with Janice Casey and Damien Fitzgerald. Picture: Brian Lougheed

“We’re all really excited waiting for our first guest that we’ve had in the door of the hotel since March.

“It’s crazy when you think of it from that point of view, but that’s the reality of it. We’re looking forward to getting back to what we do best now.”

Whilst guests can expect the same excellent service during their stay at The Metropole, Mr Russell highlighted a number of changes the hotel has implemented to ensure the safety of both guests and staff members.

“Our restaurant, The Met, has reduced capacity so we’ve taken out tables to allow for the two metre distancing. We’ve done the same in our Riverview restaurant where we serve breakfast and we won’t have a buffet breakfast any longer, it will all be à la carte, which we don’t foresee to be a big challenge to us because we always had a very good à la carte breakfast menu anyway. It just means the continental aspect of breakfast will be à la carte as well.”

In the bedrooms, guests will not have additional pillows or blankets in the wardrobes and will have a reduced number of things such as tea and coffee sachets.

“It’s just so guests realise that nobody has touched them before them,” Mr Russell said. “All the rooms will be fully cleaned and sanitised and we put a door seal on each door for the guests so that they know the last person in that room was the housekeeper who fully sanitised everything.”

Roger Russell, General Manager, at the Metropole Hotel which has reopened in Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Roger Russell, General Manager, at the Metropole Hotel which has reopened in Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane.

Under the Government’s roadmap, hotels were permitted to reopen from Monday, June 29, but while The Metropole Hotel was receiving bookings, there were not enough to reopen until now.

“Normally at this time of the year, we’d expect to be at 90% occupancy,” Mr Russell said. “We think we’re going to come in somewhere around 30% which is frightening in many respects. It’s going to be tough. We are, not only us but all the hotels in Ireland, very reliant on staycations because, quite simply, there is no other type of business. There’s no corporate business be it domestic or foreign and there’s no foreign tourism coming in either so all the business that we have are going to be people who choose to stay in hotels in Ireland and support the hotel industry.”

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