Ask the Manager – Shane Fitzpatrick, GM, The Dean, Cork

Can I have a short biography of your career? 

Not giving away my age, but I have worked in the industry now for nearly 27 years working through bars, restaurants and hotels. 

I worked in many different areas and properties to gain as much experience as I could and to name a few, Sheen Falls Lodge, Mickey Neds Bar and Restaurant, The Clarion Group, Lahinch Coast Hotel, The Radisson Group and various places in Australia while I was there on a year out. 

When did the Dean Cork open? A time scale of the openings. 

We got to launch and officially open for about three weeks in December 2020 and then had to close again with lockdowns and Covid restrictions. Thankfully, we got to reopen again on June 2nd 2021 and it’s been all go since. 

As a striking, black monolith on the Cork skyline, what has been the reaction from people? 

In general, the majority of people love the building. The shape and design outside has had many people in Cork talking about it and they’ve been intrigued to see the design and feel of the hotel under the shell. 

I think for so many people locally, they watched this building go up day by day and finally they see the end result and really like it. 

Some guests call us and ask will they know where to go when they get off the train and we always say: ”You can’t miss us.” 

The Dean Hotel, Cork. Photograph – Joan Scales

What type of outdoor dining does the Dean Cork have? 

We are really lucky to have some brilliant options for guests when it comes to outdoor dining. Sophie’s on the sixth-floor hosts two terraces, one on each side of the building. Both can be used in the wet weather as they are fully heated and covered. 

The river terrace can accommodate up to 36 people and has great views over the River Lee, Cork City and the docks, it has been really popular with guests and visitors to the hotel. 

Our back terrace can fit up to 34 people and overlooks the lower Glanmire Road side of Cork city. This is a really intimate terrace and as it’s secluded it is ideal for dining and private parties. We also have seating outside the hotel on the ground floor where we serve coffees, drinks and small bites to eat. 

How has business been since you reopened? 

We have had huge support since we re-opened and it has been great to see so many Cork people coming to stay with us. 

Sophie’s Restaurant on the sixth floor continues to be a great success and our bedroom bookings are doing very well. 

Our event space on the first floor hosted its first wedding last month and our new gym, POWER, which opened in June has also proved to be a brilliant success. 

We are extremely grateful for the support we have received since we opened our doors and we’re delighted with how everything has gone so far. 

How have you coped with staff shortages, if you had any? 

The whole industry is going through a tough time in terms of recruitment and retention. Covid-19 and the lockdowns did not help this. 

Thankfully we have been very lucky here and we have a really great team on board. We all work very closely together and just have a really good vibe that makes it a great environment to work in. 

What plans have you got to enhance guests experience? 

What we have created now is a really cool space for our guests. The design and feel of the interiors backed up by some other standout elements like Sophie’s, The Blue Room event space, POWER Gym and the swimming pool really makes this a memorable guest experience. 

Our staff are also key to the delivery of this and one of the main tag lines we use is ‘we don’t do conventional, we do fun.’ 

How are bookings going, what is the autumn looking like? 

Summer has been very good and we are thrilled with the start we had. Autumn booking are not bad but until the corporate business really comes back to Cork, mid-week business will be slow for now. 

Thankfully there is now an appetite out there for all businesses to get back to normal as quickly as possible, so we are very confident once this happens it will make a big impact. 

It’s important that we remain positive and always promote Cork as the great destination it is for business and leisure. We have a number of brilliant organisations promoting Cork as a destination so it’s important that we all back this up and support it. 

Where do your guests come from mainly? 

For June and July they were mostly Cork and Munster-based but in August we have welcomed guests from all over Ireland which we were delighted to see. 

Are there any signs of movement in the corporate market? 

Yes, there is – but it will be slow to start off. I think once the shift from working from home reverts to the office again then we will see a little more momentum in this sector. 

Have you any special offers to entice visitors back to your hotel? 

We have many great offers running now. Our Missed Moments package that runs from Sunday to Friday is a great offer and has been very popular. We also Weekday Work and Wellness offers which are great value too, see offers here.

 

 

 

 

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