Hotel rooms

Cork’s smallest hotel rooms in the city’s shiny new micro bed

BIG in Japan, small in Cork – the city’s first microsleeper, a trendy 10.5 million euro hotel on MacCurtain Street/York Hill, is set to open to guests this weekend as part of the new brand expanding REZz.

Originally slated to open in May but delayed by the pandemic, the 2,000m², 72-room, seven-storey ground-floor premises on a 546m² site bring a new tourist offering to the city, where guests will spend the night in co-coordinating compact pods, each with a king-size bed, bathroom with power shower, high-speed Wi-Fi and 50-inch TV.

Photo: Larry Cummins

Ray Byrne, director of MacCurtain St Hoteliers Ltd, which created the REZz brand ‘bigger isn’t always better’ with business partner Eoin Doyle, said he was ‘very happy’ with the way REZz Cork s turned out – he expects him to plug the gap between hostels and budget hotels. He previously described the brand as “Ryanair meets the Penneys of micro hotels”.

Hotelier Ray Byrne on the roof of his MacCurtain St. Hotel Photo: Darragh Kane
Hotelier Ray Byrne on the roof of his MacCurtain St. Hotel Photo: Darragh Kane

REZz Cork managing director David Manning said they were very excited about the new venture, a hotel with the cleanest rooms (in size) in the city, designed by Meitheal Architects, on a site once occupied by the four-story Windsor Inn.

Maxi bedroom - access by sliding door to the bathroom (on the right).  Double bed with wall-mounted TV.  Pictured: Larry Cummins.
Maxi bedroom – access by sliding door to the bathroom (on the right). Double bed with wall-mounted TV. Pictured: Larry Cummins.

“It’s so different, I think it will be amazing. And the city is our lobby, which is great for our customers. Everything is close at hand – bars, restaurants – guests can just drop their bags and head out to explore.” Mr Manning said they were delighted to be in the increasingly busy Victorian quarter and intended in the coming months to create a food offering in conjunction with nearby restaurants and by using Banba, a contactless ordering mobile app, designed by Cork man Cormac O’Riordan.

Dave Manning, General Manager, on the Penthouse balcony of the REZz.  Pictured: Larry Cummins.
Dave Manning, General Manager, on the Penthouse balcony of the REZz. Pictured: Larry Cummins.

This means guests will be able to order food at the hotel using the app and choose from menus at nearby locals such as the White Rabbit and Gallaghers, as well as MacCurtain Street’s newer arrival, Thompsons Restaurant. and Moody’s Tapas Bar at the start of the Lower Glanmire Road.

Mr Byrne, who with his wife owns Wineport Lodge in Westmeath, and who owns the Eccles Hotel in Glengarriff with Mr Doyle, said they would start with around 25 per cent of rooms booked at the REZz this weekend “and would build from there”. The top floor penthouse suite is not ready yet, but the hotel bar is opening this weekend. Guests looking for teas and coffees or a place to wash/dry/iron their clothes can do so in the common rooms on every second floor, where brightly colored doors and funky wall art combine well. with the industrial aesthetic of the building.

Martins Drilis of Spectrum Signs (Westmeath) puts the finishing touches on wall art at REZz Pic: Larry Cummins.
Martins Drilis of Spectrum Signs (Westmeath) puts the finishing touches on wall art at REZz Pic: Larry Cummins.
Deirdre Breen and Jamie Howard decorating the main floor exterior with a mural/artwork.  Pictured: Larry Cummins.
Deirdre Breen and Jamie Howard decorating the main floor exterior with a mural/artwork. Pictured: Larry Cummins.

Mr Byrne said he expects REZz to appeal to Gen Z – people in their 20s and 30s who want an inexpensive central base from which to explore the city.

With the hospitality industry reopening, he thinks the time is right for REZz. In West Cork at Eccles, which Mr Manning also manages, they are having a bumper season.

“We went from closed to full overnight. We have a great team at Eccles and everyone is working six or seven days a week to get the money while we can,” he said.

Photo: Larry Cummins
Photo: Larry Cummins

Mr Byrne said they were already seeing signs of recovery in the hospitality sector last year, with huge demand from the domestic market, although it was “very stop and start”.

However, the Eccles were currently enjoying “a rather vintage summer”, as was Wineport Lodge. Mr Manning said Eccles, 278 and with 60 rooms, was ‘full to the brim every night’.

Mr Byrne, along with Mr Doyle, has a number of other hotels in the works, including others under the REZz brand, in Dublin and Kilkenny. Of two planned for Dublin, preliminary work is underway on one at Dame Court, with a decision pending from An Bord Pleanála regarding a second REZz from Dublin to Rathmines. Kilkenny REZz is also currently with An Bord Pleanála.

Mr Byrne also has planning permission for a 58-bed hotel on the site of the former National Bank of Ireland on the South Mall, but is waiting to see what the future holds for the £80million Cork events center Euros, for which the turf was laid over five years ago, on the site of the former Beamish Brewery.

Former Irish National Bank, South Mall.  Photo: Larry Cummins
Former Irish National Bank, South Mall. Photo: Larry Cummins

“When you see all that is going on in Cork, especially in Docklands, you have to be optimistic,” he said.

He said the opening of the South Mall hotel “is not dependent” on the green light for the Event Center. Ideally, he would like to start as soon as possible, as the contractors who built REZz, Townmore Construction, also had to build the South Mall hotel “and I hope to move them,” Mr Byrne said.