Radisson SAS Royal Hotel
Great Value Right between St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Temple Bar—on paper, ideal; in reality, a ho-hum stretch of Golden Lane. But it’s what’s inside this hotel that counts.
The public spaces are cool to the nth degree (no surprise here: the property is part of Radisson’s new, high-style “Royal” division). The open-plan reception, lounge, and bar are lined in high-finish woods and marble; the central staircase is wrapped in glass etched with text from the Irish Constitution. Rooms at first glance are business hotel as usual, but closer scrutiny reveals that the standard- issue gray carpet is shot through with streaks of fuchsia; the champagne-colored curtains glitter with iridescence under the spotlights. There’s some stealth luxury in the bathrooms, too; even standard doubles have separate tubs and huge rain showers.
Do people really take meetings under deep-purple mood lighting, to a background track of Saint Etienne and Joy Division?You may want to conduct your business someplace a bit more…businesslike.
The design factor, and the value for your money: this is an affordable, full-service business hotel, in the center of one of Europe’s most expensive cities. Golden Lane; 353-1/898-2900; sas.radisson.com; doubles from $250.
Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt, County Wicklow
On the 18th-century Powerscourt Estate, a 30-minute cab ride from central Dublin. The hotel’s main building is a five-minute walk from Powerscourt’s 44 acres of formal gardens.
Luxury-chain lovers laud the arrival of this palatial structure, which opened in October 2007. The 200 guest rooms feature eiderdown-swathed beds and massive, marble-clad bathrooms with heated floors and Bulgari bath products. There’s a Gordon Ramsay restaurant, a pub, an Espa-run spa with 22 treatment rooms, and access to the Powerscourt Golf Club.
The hotel’s helicopter pad, which is visible from the Sugar Loaf Lounge. Some jet-setting guests might consider it glamorous; others might have preferred an uncorrupted view of the majestic Wicklow Mountains.
The enthusiastic multinational staff, knowledgeable about both hotel amenities and the attractions in the rolling, church- and castle-dotted hills of County Wicklow. Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry; 800/241-3333 or 353-1/274-8888; ritzcarlton.com; doubles from $744.