Ireland’s capital is a child-friendly crowd pleaser, with zoos, museums, toy shops and hotels that roll out the red carpet for families.
Dublin is a great city for families. There are parks, promenades, beaches, museums and all-ages attractions – and many hotels in Ireland’s hospitable capital cater for groups with kids in tow, with larger rooms to sleep all, child-friendly dining times, junior room-service menus and even on-call babysitting. After all, it’s a holiday for you, too. Here’s our pick of the best hotels for tots, teenagers and worn-out parents.
With a junior room-service menu, dishes served on “Miss and Master Merrion” crockery, mocktails and mini bathrobes, children at the Merrion get VIP treatment. Rooms can be augmented with cots and extra beds to cater for families. The hotel is surrounded by many of Dublin’s cultural and entertainment attractions, such as the Royal Hibernian Academy, an art gallery that runs a dedicated kids’ programme and workshops, and is also close to the children’s playground in leafy St Stephen’s Green park.
Situated on the edge of St Stephen’s Green, with its fountains, swans and children’s playground, the Shelbourne is a perfect place for a family city break. The hotel offers a children’s menu, babysitting services and interconnecting rooms. It’s also just down the street from the city’s main shopping and entertainment area.
Located in the affluent Ballsbridge area of south Dublin, the Intercontinental offers a fine start for families. The spacious family rooms sleep two adults and two children, with interconnecting rooms available. Aside from the excellent swimming pool, the hotel has a two-acre (0.8ha) private garden to explore and is close to Sandymount Strand, one of Dublin’s most popular beaches.
Families are drawn to the Fitzwilliam for its location at the top of the famous Grafton Street, on the edge of St Stephen’s Green and in the heart of Dublin’s entertainment district. Guests get a discount on neighbouring Cogs toyshop, children receive a welcome pack of goodies, families can enjoy bespoke menus in the restaurant – and there’s even a Wonka-themed afternoon tea. Rooms are spacious and, when interconnected, offer extra sleeping or living legroom.
Ariel House is a guesthouse created within three adjoining Victorian homes in south Dublin. The en-suite family rooms offer two double beds and are in the modern wing of the house. Rugby fans will appreciate the location, close to the Aviva Stadium – great if you’re off for a family day out. Breakfast produce is locally sourced, and the staff are proud of their honest cooking.
Located on Dublin Bay’s C-shaped coastline – with the Dún Laoghaire promenade, countryside and beach walks close by – the Royal Marine is a great choice for families. As well as its swimming pool and children’s menus, the hotel has executive family suites that include a king-size bed, sofa pull-outs and rollaways or cots, as needed.
With its grand turrets and glowing lanterns, children will relish the chance to stay in a real Irish castle. The family package includes welcome packs for little ones, and the hotel is close to crowd-pleasing attractions such as Dublin Zoo – plus there’s plenty of open space to run around on Clontarf’s seafront promenade. During the festive season, it’s decked to the nines, making for a great pre-Christmas break.
In the picturesque Ballsbridge area of Dublin, the Herbert Park Hotel sits beside the city’s titular 48-acre (20ha) park. The family package includes in-room movies and pizza – a welcome treat after a day’s adventures in the city. Families can plump for the interconnecting rooms, comprising double and twin beds.
Families staying at the Ashling Hotel will find themselves next door to one of the largest galleries in the country, the National Museum of Ireland, with its family-friendly exhibits, and across the river from the Guinness Storehouse. In short, it’s a great base for exploring the west side of Dublin. Family rooms can be configured as required, with interconnecting rooms available for extra space – and kids will have fun counting the treasure trail of cuddly sheep hidden around the hotel.
Family rooms at the Skylon are decorated with comfort and relaxation in mind and can be kitted out with double beds and singles, as required. The area around the hotel has a number of dining options, from Italian Il Corvo to Irish Restaurant 104 (set in a building immortalised by James Joyce’s Ulysses). Access into the city centre is easy, too, with a major bus route embarking from the hotel’s front door and proximity to Croke Park stadium, an interactive sports skills and games’ zone.