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Dublin may be a small capital, but this medieval city is packed full of historical architecture, buzzing nightlife and an excellent food scene – not just the Guinness Storehouse. The newly-renovated Docklands area is home to tech giants Facebook, Google and Twitter, while tucked away in the old town are traditional Irish pubs alongside hip new cocktail bars. Below, we’ve selected the best hotels in Ireland‘s capital – from quirky boutique retreats to eco-friendly establishments.
The Hendrick Smithfield is a celebration of art, giving centre stage to the carefully chosen graffiti that street artist James Earley has selected for the walls. The white walls and minimalist furnishings create a perfect backdrop for the urban gallery, with each room serving as its own playful art space. But this hotel does not sacrifice function for form; each of the 146 rooms has been thoughtfully designed to maximise space, and those with bunk beds are a convenient option for groups. Relax in the industrial-style bar, which sells Bretzel Bakery pastries for a light breakfast. The hotel is ideally located for exploring the nearby attractions of Smithfield, including the independent Light House Cinema and the Jameson Distillery.
This striking four-star hotel is just around the corner from Trinity College and Grand Canal Dock on the waters of the Liffey. Trinity City blends Georgian architecture with its maximalist interiors, with chandeliers and gilded mirrors giving common areas a sense of old-school opulence. By comparison, the bedrooms are simple, with practical design in signature shades of warm purple. Despite its main-road location, noise from the street is minimal, guaranteeing a peaceful stay.
Located in a Georgian townhouse, Number 31 is a home-from-home; the beating heart is its kitchen. Guests rave about the breakfast made by Delia; it includes hot dishes such as kippers made to order, as well as lighter bites such as cranberry and orange loaf. Outdoor space may be rare in the city, but here you can enjoy your morning coffee in Number 31’s courtyard garden and sheltered terrace. Bright furnishings and white walls keep guest rooms light and airy. This hidden oasis is just a five-minute walk from St Stephen’s Green and the National Concert Hall.
The Dean, a stone’s throw from Dublin’s energetic Camden Street, is a stylish base for revellers looking for a spot of culture. A neon sign designed by Turner Prize-nominated artist Tracey Emin takes centre stage above the reception desk, where guests can pick up a pocket guide to the boutique hotel’s art collection or some merch. The buzzing, top-floor restaurant hosts DJs on the terrace until the early hours on weekends. Those staying in one of the suites can also create their own after-party, thanks to the turntable, vinyl and guitar supplied.
Overlooking St Stephen’s Green, The Shelbourne is a Dublin institution. Founded in 1824, it has hosted monumental events in Ireland’s history. In 1916, the hotel welcomed injured parties at The Easter Rising, and in 1922, Ireland’s first constitution was drawn up in a guest room. Over the years, The Shelbourne has hosted esteemed guests such as Charlie Chaplin, Elizabeth Taylor and the Kennedys. Writers like Seamus Heaney have frequented the famous Horseshoe Bar, too. The Shelbourne is by no means low-key, but the appeal of this hotel is not only about old-world elegance; the beauty salon and hotel spa make it a standout urban retreat.
As popular with the business crowd as it is with families, The Marker Hotel is a chic and luxurious five-star destination. This hotel is no wallflower; located in Dublin’s Silicon Docks, the checkerboard-style exterior is a city landmark and sets the futuristic theme of the hotel. The 187 comfortable rooms include doubles, twins and suites aimed at families travelling with children. There’s substance to support the hotel’s style; amenities include an award-winning brasserie, a rooftop bar and luxury health spa. Yogis can take to the rooftop terrace for a complimentary yoga session.
Nicky Branagh-Schmidt contributed additional reporting to this article.