Hotels in Cork re-opened their doors for the first time today following a further easing of restrictions.
Among those who welcomed back guests was the Clayton Hotel Cork where Lilly (68) and Roy (70) O’Sullivan were among the first guests through the door.
The pair, who are from Blackrock, planned a night away in the city hotel to kick start their summer with style and to celebrate their vaccinations, the end of cocooning and also Roy’s postponed 70th birthday.
"It’s brilliant, we have been so looking forward to this – it is our first break in nearly 18 months and I started packing about a week ago," said Lily.
Asked what they were looking forward to most about their stay Roy said: “I’m looking forward to being able to sit in the restaurant for dinner tonight – I’ve missed that, and of course a couple of pints of Murphys!”
The couple plan on having a bigger event for the whole family later in the summer to mark Roy’s 70th Birthday, but for now, after 48 years married they are delighted to be able to take a breakaway.
On welcoming the couple, General Manager Conor O’Toole said “This is what we have missed – planning celebrations and marking important milestones for people. It is a wonderful day to be back and we have been busy planning postponed birthdays, engagements and wedding anniversaries for the summer ahead.”
Mr O’Toole said there was a lot of pent up demand for bookings with a busy June planned.
“People want to chill out, relax, have a few beers and enjoy some luxury,” the General Manager said.
The hotelier said the summer was looking “busier than anticipated” and they were expecting a strong July and August.
Mr O’Toole said they had a lot of bookings for families and extended families as well as a lot of interest in the penthouse and the suites from couples.
“There are a few bookings for families going away for the weekend with other families, booking four or five rooms together and people coming from say Dublin, Galway and Waterford to Cork to meet up. We have never had that before.
“Also there seems to be a lot of couples celebrating engagements and things like that, looking to spoil themselves with a night away.”
Mr O’Toole said there were 80 bottles of Champagne ordered for the month of July, which was unheard of.
The Clayton Manager said that his hotel had a slight advantage at the moment as they had remained open throughout the pandemic and had retained a huge portion of their team.
“There are a lot of hotels looking for staff at the moment and retraining but we have been open the whole time, we have our team and we are constantly retraining.”