Something that is imperative, for me at least, when setting off on any city break is having the perfect base. Not only a place that is centrally located for us to zip back and forth between while exploring, but somewhere that can provide the ultimate comfort. Comfort in the non-conventional sense though, the kind of comfort that allows you to leave ‘thought’ in the lobby and let the utter convenience of everything kindle thoughts of fresh white linen and cloud like cushions, afternoon trips to the golf course after a late lunch and waking up to stunning views over Dublin city at whatever pace you decide comfortable.
Perfectly located in the heart of the city, the Conrad Dublin is situated a few minutes’ walk from one of the most famous (and fashionable) streets in Dublin, Grafton Street. It’s ideally located to offer guests a range of activities, from literary trails and woodland walks to a round of golf. You can indulge in some retail therapy or enjoy the vibrant nightlife of Temple Bar. With easy links to both the airport and almost all the main attractions being within walking distance, it was exactly the perfect base we needed. In their own words, the hotel is heavily inspired and influenced by Dublin’s rich literary culture and heritage, featuring 192 beautifully refurbished guest rooms and suites. We were guests to one of their superior rooms on the top floor, beautifully decorated and kitted out with everything you could think of needing (and some extras you didn’t think you needed until you did).
After a pleasant transfer from the airport in unusually sunny weather, we were swiftly checked-in in the lobby, decorated with a hint of modern luxury. The staff were doting and couldn’t do enough for us, friendly and approachable is exactly what you hope for after a long delay getting into Dublin due to foggy weather. The young man who checked us in made sure we knew where the hotel was in relation to the top attractions and arranged for us to be escorted up to our top floor suite. The room was light, airy, luxurious and thoughtfully designed, making the most of the space to ensure the utmost ease in our stay. There was an element of flourishing in the idea that we were speculatively within the clouds, safely away from any hustle and bustle the city exudes, allowing us to choose when to dip in and out. The bathroom was complete with fluffy white robes and mandarin tea bath products, perfect for unwinding with after our journey…
One unbeatable aspect of staying at the Conrad Dublin was the impeccable concierge service, they have something called the Stay Inspired initiative. This consists of expert local knowledge helping guests to plan their time as perfectly as possible, offering 1, 3 and 5 hour experiences giving a take on Dublin’s local art, culture and food. We opted for a tour of one of the many local whiskey distilleries – Teeling Whiskey Distillery. One of Dublin’s newest distilleries, opened in just 2015 by Jack and Stephen Teeling, it’s also one of the most successful. We had an expert guide take us step-by-step through what makes Teeling whiskey quintessentially and unmistakably Irish. The secret is in the triple distillation and the Irish law that dictates a minimum of 3 years ageing. Now, for someone who doesn’t drink alcohol, I wasn’t expecting to be able to take part in the tasting afterward, but the team went above and beyond in creating a unique non-alcoholic cocktail with some of my favourite flavours, a really special touch and end to our tour.
The hotel facilities are in and of themselves enough to motivate a visit. The fitness center is equipped with state-of-the-art cardio machines and weights. The hotel also offers great access for a round of golf at the nearby Royal Dublin Golf Club, which features an 18-hole golf course. Or, you can just enjoy a leisurely walk or brisk run in the nearby picturesque Iveagh Gardens or the iconic St. Stephen’s Green jogging routes, both yours to be enjoyed. The luxury Dublin hotel also features a range of dining options. Experience a true brasserie and finer dining at The Coburg, or opt for a more casual experience in bright surroundings at Alfie’s Byrne’s, overlooking the National Concert Hall. We were treated to a delectable dinner at The Coburg and had the most accommodating staff and kitchen – being vegan often means I can’t choose from much on a menu and during our dinner there weren’t any options suitable for me. After a quick chat with the maître d’, she reworked the menu to suit me and even had the pastry chef whip up my own diary free dessert. To me, that’s the sign of a fantastic restaurant.
Another wonderful aspect to the hotel was its residential store, Eirlooms. Offering a wonderful capsule collection of beautiful Irish Craft and owned by craft designer Mary Whelan, the shop is now open for hotel guests to enjoy. A little something to suit everyone from Irish made gifts to confectionery. Each of the talented makers featured in the range is passionate about what they do and love the challenge of creating wonderful contemporary designs using traditional methods. Pieces rarely found on the high-street, you can pick up something really individual. So if you need a thoughtful, bespoke gifts or hampers, then pop in and visit the wonderful store, on the ground floor.
Waking up on our second day, we worked out, showered, ate a light healthy breakfast and embarked on a day of exploring. The most wonderful part of the day was knowing we had the perfect base to return to and from when exploring a city as diverse as Dublin, and the thought of enjoying another nights rest before setting off on wherever the day took us next.