One of the after-effects of the Celtic Tiger building spree is that Dublin is full of hotels. Now that boom-time is over, many of them are crying out for guests. The top hotels, which were impossibly expensive in the past, have dropped their prices, and are offering deals that bring them within reach of ordinary mortals.
Several Dublin hotels also underwent makeovers during the past decade, and their quality is truly high. Many of them are bound up in Irish history, so that they offer a combination of modern luxury and old world charm.
Valentine’s day is just around the corner, and it’s time to start thinking about that romantic break. With that in mind we take you through the finest and most famous of Dublin’s hostelries.
This beautifully appointed historic building opened its doors in 1824, and its décor, with glamorous chandeliers and open fires create a sense of grandeur and tradition. It also played a role in Irish history – the Constitution was drafted there in 1922, in a room now called The Constitution Room. Recently refurbished, it tops our list for a reason.
Rates: If you book 30 days or more in advance you can have a room for $217 per night.
For more information on the Shelbourne and its rates click here.
Overlooking Westmoreland Street and across the road from Trinity College, the Westin is right at the heart of the city. The building used to house the Allied Irish Bank and it has high vaulted ceilings to show for it. Its rooms have a classic elegance, and at night you can look out their windows onto the city’s glimmering lights. The Atrium is a tea room and bar that spans several storeys and has a glass roof looking up to the sky.
Rates: From $195 per night
For more information on the Westin and its rates click here.
The Westbury is another old Dublin hotel famous for its class, just off Grafton Street. A grand piano often tinkles in the spacious lobby upstairs (if you don’t want to stay there, it’ a wonderful, central place to stop by for tea). The bedrooms are modern rather than traditional in style.
Rates: From $286 per night.
For more information on the Westbury and its rates click here.
Part of the world famous Four Seasons chain, this Ballsbridge hotel nevertheless has its own unique feel. The bar and lobby downstairs are vast and gorgeous, and it’s a pleasure just to sit there; if the weather allows, there’s a pretty outdoor area too. Rooms are modern in style, and have elaborate bathrooms. You could even order the Romance package, which involves rose-petals on the bed, chocolates, and special bath oils. A Valentine’s treat, perhaps?
Rates: If you book two consecutive nights, you get a third free, a deal that comes to $160 per night for a “moderate” room.
For more information on the Four Seasons and its rates click here.
Voted Best Hotel in Dublin by Conde Nast Traveller in 2009, the Merrion is a venerable Dublin establishment, favored by politicians and Ireland’s elite. The décor is subtle and the whole place has a cosy drawing room feel. The hotel’s Cellar Bar is well known and frequented by Dublin locals.
Rates: In the St. Patrick’s special (March 15-19) a standard double room with queen bed is $170.
For more information on the Merrion and its rates click here.
Buswell’s is part of Dublin life. Directly opposite the Dail, its bar is a known watering hole for politicians and journalists and the hotel itself, made up of five Georgian houses linked together, has operated as a business since 1882. The atmosphere is both refined and relaxed.
Rates: in the “online special,” a single room is $128 per night, a double room $137.
For more information on Buswells and its rates click here.
Famous at least in part because its owners are Bono and The Edge, the Clarence is hip hotel along the banks of the Liffey. It also has an excellect cocktail bar, The Octagon.
Rates: On Valentine’s night a king room is $193.
For more information on the Clarence and its rates click here.
The Gresham is a historic hotel on O’Connell Street in Dublin. O’Connell Street is not always the most salubrious at night time, but you couldn’t be closer to the heart of the city. The hotel was founded in 1817 by Thomas Gresham when O’Connell Street was still called Sackville Street, and it was refurbished in 2006.
Rates: In their January sale you can get a room for $79 per person. The “Valentine’s surprise,” from $155 per person, includes breakfast, chocolates and a bottle of champagne.
For more information on the Gresham and its rates click here.
Bewleys hotel, Ballsbridge
A short distance from the city center in the exclusive Ballsbridge area, Bewleys hotel is in a beautiful 19th century building, which was originally a Masonic School; and it’s a stone’s throw from the American Embassy. It is excellent value and provides a nice family environment.
Rates: In their “big room sale” double rooms are going for $79 per night.
For more information on Bewleys and its rates, click here.
Wynns’ is an old Dublin favorite in the city center. Its charms are less elaborate than the likes of the Shelbourne or Westbury but it offers decent accommodation at a good price. The hotel has been open since 1845, when its owner was a Mrs. Phoebe Wynn. Little is known of her but the operation that she began is still going strong. The hotel has played its part in Irish history. In 1913 founding members of the Irish Volunteer force met there, as did the women’s wing of the group, Cumann na mBan. Actors and playwrights from the Abbey Theater have also spent time in its bar.
Rates: In the “Winter warmer” deal a double or twin room is $113, including a full Irish breakfast.
For more information on Wynns' hotel and its rates, click here.
Historic film of old Ireland from 1934 (VIDEO)