The last few years have seen an increase in the number of ambitious hotel projects being launched in Dublin. Whether they are signalling the end of an era (as with the demolition of the Clarence, once Dublin's hippest hotel; or the beginning of a new one (witness the style offensive launched by trendy Dylan, one thing's for sure: the city's hotel industry is thriving.
The Docklands, in particular, will be getting more than its fair share of signature hotels, as big-name architects like Manuel Aires Mateus inject some glamour into the quaysides. But it's not all about five-star makeovers: as we go to press, plans are being submitted for a 'monastic, no star' hotel by Grafton Architects, in which polished concrete rooms will give budget accommodation a Le Corbusier spin.
Of course, just like anywhere, Dublin also has its fair share of duds. There are plenty of dank, dark, hideous establishments, last decorated in 1981 with plaid curtains, floral carpets and the dirt of decades in the corners, and they all seem to charge €100 a night or more.
You may have to be flexible – if you want a sea view but you haven't got much cash, consider staying in a guesthouse (some of them are wonderful and, for the money, better than anything you could expect from a large hotel). Similarly, if you want to stay in Temple Bar or around Dame Street, but you're a light sleeper, bring earplugs – those are noisy areas. Meanwhile, only the most expensive hotels have air conditioning: bear this in mind if you plan to visit in the summer and you hate stuffy bedrooms.
Wherever you stay, you're likely to get sick of the standard Dublin breakfast of eggs, bacon and sausage – sometimes with white and black pudding – fairly quickly. The bigger the hotel, generally speaking, the more likely you are to face the hellish prospect of the breakfast buffet. Guesthouses inevitably provide the most innovative morning options.
Unlike many other busy tourist towns, Dublin's hotels are not concentrated in any particular area of the city; it is possible, in other words, to stay in virtually any neighbourhood. Budget hotels tend to cluster just north of the river, but there are a few good ones south as well, while luxury just spreads out wherever it damn well pleases: the fabulous Fitzwilliam perches on the edge of St Stephen's Green, the celeb fave Morrison looks over the Liffey with cooler-than-thou hauteur.
Downriver is the sleek Clarion Dublin IFSC, where business bods like to stay close to the office action; inland, the newly decked-out Shelbourne and the gorgeous Gresham keep the traditionalist flags flying. Meanwhile, hideaways like Number 31 are squirrelled away all over the place. And out in the suburbs, the big touristy Fitzpatrick Castle Dublin and Clontarf Castle Hotel make the most of Dublin Bay.
No smoking: almost all of Dublin's hotels are now non-smoking throughout.
Special offers: check hotel websites for special offers, and always ask if any are available before you book. Many hotels will give lower rates for children if you book in advance.
Hidden charges: VAT is included, but be aware that at the upper end of the market, hotels may also add a 12 to 15 per cent service charge.
Rates listed are given as a general guideline only, and you should always check with the hotel to see if prices have changed before you book a room; hotels can, and do, change their rates frequently. Rates can also vary depending on the day of the week, the month of the year, or whether any special events are on in the city.
While every effort and care has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this guide, the publisher cannot accept responsibility for any errors it may contain. Before you go out of your way, we strongly advise you to phone ahead and check the particulars.
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