River Lee Hotel Review – The Best Hotel in Cork City for Families

River Lee hotel review

If you’re looking for the best hotel in Cork city for families we have you covered with this River Lee Hotel review.

Let’s dive in a tell you more.

Cork City River Lee Hotel

Family friendly Cork Hotels are located throughout the charming city centre of Cork.

River Lee Cork view
River Lee Cork city

There are numerous fine family-friendly hotels in Cork City to choose from, but if you’re looking for a family hotel that’s also conveniently located then we recommend the River Lee Hotel.

Beating off stiff competition, the River Lee Hotel is less ideally situated in the city centre close to lots of restaurants and amenities for kids.

Having stayed in this hotel as a solo traveller, as a couple and then with kids I’ve seen the hotel through many lenses and can see the value in such a beautiful hotel for all who visit.

How Close is The Hotel To The City Centre?

Located at the start of the Western Road at the end of Washington Street, you can’t get luxury much closer to the city centre shopping areas of Grand Parade and St. Patrick’s Street.

Cork city center Ireland
Cork city center

The River Lee Hotel is in easy 10 minute walk from Grand Parade and 3 minutes from the gates of University College Cork, U.C.C.

Can I Park My Car At The River Lee Hotel?

There is a large underground car park for the hotel.

As you drive in over the entrance bridge, continue past reception and you’ll see the entrance to the subterranean car park on the right.

Remember – There is free parking for hotel guests and people dining. Simply ask for your car pass to be cleared at Hotel reception.

Why it is the best hotel in Cork City for families?

The hotel is so spacious from the moment you step out of the elevator into the hotel lobby.

Opulent wood furnishings and plenty of lounging areas line the common areas around the reception.

River Lee hotel for families
River Lee hotel perfect for families

These are perfect for playing cards or a board game with your family while sipping your G&T or pint of Murphys (Cola or 7-UP for the kids) or relax and read a book while people watching.

The River Lee Hotel is a family-friendly hotel that offers many amenities for adults and kids of all ages.

At the Hotel – Kids of all ages will love the large pool area with kids pool. There’s also a sauna, steamroom and Jacuzzi plus a gym is available for guests. There’s an outdoor tennis court. You can’t go wrong here.

Family Friendly Restaurants in the River Lee Hotel

There are two dining options in the hotel.

Several times my family and I have eaten there and the bar area is so spacious.

We were fortunate enough to get the right corner seating area with brown leather couches and surrounded by a mixture of artificial green foliage and enhanced by the outdoor ivy covered pergola.

It is normal to book your dining option here rather than the main dining hall.

Restaurants River Lee hotel Cork
Family friendly restaurants River Lee hotel

The menus are extensive both for adults and kids and the staff have always been super attentive to my two kids, bringing colouring pencils and paper and speaking to them like real people which my kids love.

Eating here, we have never felt pressurised to eat too quickly and move on.

The bar are is so large and relaxed you can really unwind here and enjoy your meal. The kids will love it too.

Main Dining Room at The River Lee Hotel

The dining room isn’t open all the time for dinner.

On special occasions, like University graduations, communions and confirmations it will be open for celebrations.

Heads Up! Make sure to book your family occasion in advance as it does fill up. It’s also a great location for less formal wedding dinners as it’s close to the city Registry Office.

Otherwise, the dining room is open for breakfast each morning and the food is fabulous and service of highest level.

Again, kids will love the pancakes and other choices of breakfast.

Family Bedrooms in The Hotel

River Lee hotel bedrooms comfortable and clean
Book River Lee hotel

The bedrooms are of good quality at The River Lee.

They are not luxurious by any means but comfy and clean. Some of the rooms face on to the Western Road and have a bay window which is a great place the watch the world go by.

Make sure you ask for a room on the side facing the road. The higher up you go the better your view over the rooftops towards the north side of the city with beautiful copper beech trees and oak trees.

My kids loved sitting at the window and spotting ‘crooks’. Its a game they play identifying who looks dodgy but innocent fun.

Excellent Advice – A useful tip when you check-in is to ask for an upgrade, failing that ask them for access to the executive lounge where you can go for a coffee and snacks between meal times.

In the mornings they have croissants and other pastries to keep you going.

The Most popular attractions in Cork City Centre

The English Market

Cork’s most popular attractions are The English Market which is an old style market located in the heart of Cork City.

The English market Cork city Ireland
The English market Cork city

It contains over 100 stalls offering the very best in traditional Irish foods. You can find local produce here alongside exotic ingredients from all corners of the world.

Visitors to Cork City will be able to buy fresh fish, fruit, locally produced cheese and the O’Connell’s fishmongers is famous due to the glorious interaction between Pat O’ Connell and the Queen back in 2010.

Fitzgerald’s Park

Fitzgerald’s Park is 100 acres of recreational parkland. It’s just a five-minute walk from the hotel.

There’s something for everyone in this perfect place to take children of all ages. It’s home to a huge playground but so large it’s hard to keep an eye on the small ones if you have more than 1 kid.

Fitzgerald's Park near River Lee hotel in Cork city
Fitzgerald’s Park

Feed the ducks in the ponds or go for a nice walk around the park and visit the war museum.

In recent years they built a fabulous outdoor theatre area which is a great spot for outdoor events in summer (weather permitting).

Wheelchair access is good throughout the park and there are numerous picnic areas and coffee docks to meet and greet with friends and family on sunny days.

Even Better – Walking back to the hotel make sure to stop and get the blue ice cream or locally made delights in the shop just opposite the gates to U.C.C.


Cork city river at night
Cork city at night

Does the River Lee Hotel have free WiFi

Most certainly it is free and no need to register accounts in order to avail of the service

What other Restaurants are near the River Lee Hotel?

The hotel is so close to the famous vegetarian restaurant, Cafe Paradiso. Also in close proximity you will find Liberty Grill and some bar top bistros such as SoHo on Grand Parade.

River Lee Hotel Outdoor Dining

The outdoor dining experience has been pushed to greater standards in a new COVID world. There are heaters and a plenty of greenery around the area. Traffic might be loud at peak commuter times but it’s still enjoyable


I would thoroughly recommend the River Lee Hotel to any family visiting Cork. The location is perfect, with easy access to all parts of Cork City and it’s attractions.

The staff are solely focused on ensuring you have a great experience which you will. You can book up until last minute and they always seem to find a room for you.

The kids will thank you for such a wonderful visit. Families who visit the River Lee Hotel will sure make memorable times here.

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