19/01/2011 05:51 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Hotel Review: The Clarion, Cork, Ireland

City chic on the banks of the river Lee and walking distance from Cork's shops, bars and restaurants, The Clarion is the perfect weekend base to explore Ireland's second city.

The Clarion

The USP: Cork's largest hotel, the four-star Clarion has the best location in the city on the banks of the river and despite having two restaurants and a spa, it won't cost you a fortune.

Book it now if: You fancy doing your bit to help the Irish economy with a budget break mixing some shopping, spa, sightseeing, activity sports and that famous Irish craic in the 'Venice of Ireland', a city that's cheaper and less discovered than Dublin – but don't mind that you'll be sharing the hotel with a few business travellers.

Bedding down: Anonymously stylish rather than quirky boutique, you don't miss out on any comforts in the bedrooms – nearly 200 to choose from. Some have views out across the river or look out onto the giant golden sphere sculpture in the atrium. The comfy double beds have Egyptian cotton sheets and there's seaweed extract toiletries in the bathroom

Feed me:
There's no chance of going hungry. Choose from the hotel's two restaurants - Augustines, named the top restaurant in Cork, specialises in Modern French and Italian, with locally sourced ingredients like the Clonakilty Black pudding. The six course tasting menu costs around £21. There's also Kudos for Asian-inspired dishes and a special cocktail every month. Or wander two minutes along the riverside to The Boardwalk Bar & Grill for some incredible steaks and an iced jumbo shrimp cocktail that's a work of art.

Easily bored:
Make the most of the Clarins treatments in the hotel's Essence spa – there's a special offer including massage, facial and mani-pedi for £84. If you're visiting in summer, check out the Cork Midsummer festival while the Cork Film Festival draws the celebs in November. But there's plenty to explore whenever you visit the city, which dates back to the 7th century. Check out Cork's old merchants' houses as you wander the cobbled streets, shop yourself senseless on St Patrick Street and eye up the bars in the old Huguenot Quarter just off it. See how many of the city's 22 bridges you can cross, and take to the water with some night kayaking from around £40 per person. Check out our Starter for 10 guide for more tips on adrenaline-boosting thrills.

What's the damage:
Rooms start from £65 if you book online. There's currently a two night special offer for £150 per person, based on two sharing, including breakfast, dinner on one night at Augustines and an express spa treatment.

Point me in the right direction:
The Clarion Hotel, Lapps Quay, Cork, Ireland (+353 21 422 4900/

The Clarion