The Shelbourne, Dublin isn't just a historic five star hotel, it's been a mainstay of Irish society for almost 200 years.
Located on the north east corner of St. Stephen's Green in the heart of the city, its wide bay windows look out over a leafy public park and the location is so central that it's become the first stop for generations of visitors to Ireland's lively capital city.
Oscar Wilde was a guest here, so were the Kennedy's and Academy Award winning movie stars like Julia Roberts. And it's as if all the glamor and sophistication of their respective eras have been distilled to their essence, because once inside these doors an old world standard of service and professionalism is maintained.
Senior Irish politicians conduct informal meetings in the Horseshoe Bar here (it's located steps away from the Irish parliament). The nearby No. 27 Bar is one of the city's most dependable spots for celebrity spotting, and afternoon tea in the Lord Mayor Lounge is one of the most beguiling and unhurried ways to spend time in this legendary city.
Luxury is the watchword. Rooms are spacious and meticulously decorated. Bath robes and comfortable slippers come as standard, refrigerators are filled with refreshments and treats. Guests will quickly discover that their every request has already been anticipated when they check into this elegant and superbly run hotel.
Not content to rest on its reputation, the Shelbourne offers an ideal blend of old world sophistication and 21 century comfort and connection. WIFI is available in every room and it is fast and dependable, multiple outlets ensure you stay connected to each tech devices whether you're a business person, a journalist or an internet star.
In this centenary year you may be interested to know that in May 1922, The Shelbourne played host to its most important historic event - the drafting of the Irish Constitution.
Bunreacht na hÉireann was drawn up in room 112, under the leadership of rebel leader and statesman Michael Collins. This room is now called The Constitution Room. That might give you an idea of the Shelbourne's storied history, because the hotel actually played a part in the foundation of the Irish state.
Hotel's rarely achieve that kind of centrality in the life of a nation, but The Shelbourne is no ordinary hotel. In a way it functions as an unofficial Irish embassy, presenting the best of Irish hospitality, customer service, five star cooking and understated elegance.
Master chefs prepare your dishes, attention to detail is remarkable, produce is locally sourced and invariably organic, desserts are among the greatest you will ever experience. Even the house coffee is memorable – and quickly, rather addictive.
I recommend you order a high tea in the Lord Mayor Lounge, if just to experience the artistry and skill with which it has been prepared and presented. Few things ward off the chaos of modern life like an artfully prepared raisin scone with jam and cream, and the staff of The Shelbourne know this and will indulge your requests.
Check in is pleasant and effortless, your bags will be whisked off to your room and your progress will be effortless. Maid service is attentive and unobtrusive. Staff will ask you about your stay and offer to help unbidden. The whole experience is like a dream from an earlier age.
To visit Dublin is to walk among some of the liveliest people in the world. The Shelbourne can be your bridge or your refuge, depending on your needs, and don’t be surprised if they anticipate them before you do.
There are few hotels in the world that can combine The Shelbourne’s commitment to service with its storied history and it's unfailing understated elegance. Visit as soon as you can and stay as long as you can. You'll thank me later for the advice.