Hotel-Hopping in Dublin
Published: April 2009
By Maria Shollenbarger
There are over 300 hotels in the Celtic capital, so where should you stay?Here, T+L takes a look at four properties making news.
The stately, red-brick Victorian is situated on an elm-lined lane in the exclusive Dublin 4 neighborhood. Those two-story brick row houses across the street go for 2 million euros a pop.
Its public spaces are definitely angling for the year’s “Most Designed Hotel” award—if you’re not a fan of black-and-red faux Fortuny wallpaper, avoid the bar. But rooms are spacious and contemporary, and come in shades of cream, brown, and deep red. Flat LCD screens and iPod docks are standard, while closets are stocked to the gills: hair dryers, irons, shoehorns, robes, extra down pillows.
Is it us, or is the house music in the reception area a tad too loud?(Perhaps it’s a matter of preference—or of age; the average here appears to be about 28.)
A wide terrace dotted with deep armchairs, low tables, and glass lanterns—ideal for pre-dinner drinks. Eastmoreland Place; 353-1/660-3000; dylan.ie; doubles from $586.
A small compound set behind an ivy-draped wall, just off Leeson Street in the city center; a brass bell engraved with Number 31 serves as the only sign. The hotel is a two-block stroll from St. Stephen’s Green.
The first impression is of a groovy Irish uncle’s bachelor pad, especially when Noel Comer, the charismatic owner, is on hand to offer an effusive welcome. The hotel consists of two converted coach houses and a listing Georgian terrace; the latter was completely renovated in 2007 with burnt-juniper paint and Regency-style sofas and chairs upholstered in Technicolor nubby wools. The coach houses, meanwhile, proudly wear their original 50’s redo; note the sunken “conversation pit” common room—it’s still chic after five decades.
Historic buildings are rarely soundproof. If you’re in the terrace house, expect to hear the comings and goings of your neighbors.
The gourmet breakfast prepared by Comer—who’s no slouch in the kitchen—and his staff. Organic mushroom omelette?Coming right up. Fresh pot of French-press coffee?On your table before you think to ask. 31 Leeson Close; 353-1/676-5011; number31.ie; doubles from $356, breakfast included.
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.