The five-star Castlemartyr Resort in east Cork is gearing up to facilitate hybrid conferences, with a blend of live and virtual events, as organisations in Ireland get ready for a return to the office.
The hotel has already received enquiries from employers keen to foster engagement and collaboration among staff in a gradual return to meetings and conferencing, Brendan Comerford, Castlemartyr’s general manager, said.
“The pandemic catapulted us into the worlds of Zoom and Microsoft Teams, but the feedback we are getting from businesses is that building relationships is more important now than ever before. ‘Zoom fatigue’ has set in and people are in need of interaction,” Comerford said.
With social distancing set to remain a feature of how we live and work for the foreseeable future, Castlemartyr Resort is well placed to cater for organisations’ requirements, Comerford said.
The hotel is set on a picturesque 220-acre estate with a 17th-century country manor house sitting adjacent to the ruins of an 800-year old castle. Famous names who have stayed at the resort include Bruce Springsteen and Bill Clinton.
In all, Castlemartyr has 109 guest rooms and suites alongside 50 luxury self-catering lodges situated on the grounds. The ten-treatment room spa with EPSA and Germaine de Cappucini treatments is complemented by a fitness studio and pool overlooking the gardens.
The hotel offers three dining options: the gourmet Belltower restaurant, the more casual Twelve Ten The Grill and the Clubhouse for bar food. A major attraction for many conference delegates is the 18-hole inland links-style course, according to Comerford.
“We have a number of other activities, such as laser clay pigeon shooting, archery and team games. This year, we have added disc golf, which is golf with frisbees. We also have trail runs and walking and jogging routes,” he said.
Sustainability is to the fore at Castlemartyr, which recently joined a global tree-planting initiative. “We were delighted to introduce our new partnership with the reforestation non-profit One Tree Planted, with the goal of further increasing the resort’s commitment to operate in a socially and environmentally responsible way,” Comerford said.
“The One for One initiative will see Castlemartyr Resort contribute to the planting of thousands of trees around the world every year, in partnership with our guests, wedding couples and corporate clients. Once guests arrive at the resort, there is no need for them to leave. However, for those who want to explore all that east Cork has to offer, our location is very convenient.
“The picturesque Castlemartyr village with its boutiques and specialist shops, is on our doorstep. Several beaches are nearby, as are Midleton Distillery, Ballymaloe Cookery School and Ballycotton with its cliff trail. Cork city is a 20-minute drive.”
While the corporate market is key for Castlemartyr, the resort also offers a memorable setting for weddings. The safety of the extensive grounds and the availability of dog-friendly lodges means it has a particular appeal for families holidaying at home this year.
As vice-chairperson of the Cork branch of the Irish Hotel Federation, Comerford said the city and county had always been “an incredible draw” for tourism, with an “unbeatable” selection of destinations, attractions and activities for all.
“Having worked in hospitality in Cork my whole life, I was honoured to be appointed as one of the vice-chairs of the Cork branch of the Irish Hotel Federation earlier this year,” he said. “The federation does wonderful work supporting and promoting hotels in Cork and throughout the country. Its work is more important than ever in the current climate.”