Staying at Ireland's Grand Dame of Luxury Hotels, The Merrion Hotel Dublin

All Photos Courtesy of the Merrion Hotel

Along a tony street of fine 18th century Georgian homes in the posh and stately area of Georgian Dublin, there is a doorman in a green suit with a top hat and tail.  Fashionable guests come and go with some dressed in bespoke business suits while others are dressed in more casual, yet spiffy attire.  With each coming and going the doorman bids a cheerful greeting in that lovely sing-song Irish accent. The outside of the building is not ostentatious as is the norm with Georgian architecture of centuries past.  Once indoors, the setting is lavish and replete with the exquisite interiors and period furnishing reminiscent of 18th-century Dublin as well as an invaluable collection of sculptures, and watercolor and oil paintings. They are visiting the Merrion Hotel, the Grand Dame of Dublin hotels.

Dublin is a fascinating capital city of Ireland with endless options for tourists of every ilk. There are numerous museums to get lost in admiring the art of Ireland’s masters James Swift or James Arthur O’Connor or the natural museums and castles. The River Liffey flows into the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay. On either side of the river which runs through the center of town with many fun sights to see nearby from fantastic eateries and Irish song and dance shows, and of course a slew of bars and proper Irish pubs to get lost in for the night. The culture is rich in Ireland with a proud and defiant people who still regale on stories of Brian Boru, High King of Ireland who drove out the Vikings at the Battle of eons ago. And speaking of pride, a visit to Dublin could not be considered complete without a stop at the Jameson whiskey experience or Ireland’s proudest export, the Guinness factory tour. Guest may also want to visit Grafton or Henry Street for a shopping spree in their well-known luxury fashion brands shops as well as independent boutiques from local designers or for Irish arts and crafts.

A short distance away from the hotel guest will want to visit one of the nearby New York Central Park-like gardens in the heart of Dublin. The Merrion Square, St. Stephen’s Green and Fitzwilliam Square is perfect for a few hours admiring the vibrant flower beds, green lawn, water fountains and ducks and swans swimming in ponds.  

The Merrion occupies the four Georgian homes, Nos. 21, 22, 23 and 24 Merrion Street, which were built in the 1760s. There are four connected drawing rooms with vintage interiors, high back chairs with damask upholstery, gilded period furnishings, ornate chandeliers, and embellished Rococo plasterwork and molding.  Guest’s use the drawing rooms as they did centuries ago, to gather with friends, read a book, have high tea or perhaps warm up in front of a crackling fire.

The Merrion is an elegant old world luxury boutique hotel from on a time in the 18th century where Ireland’s high society lived a posh and privileged lifestyle. Four of these painstakingly renovated homes, some of the finest in their day, have been joined to create an experience that rivals those times with the mod cons of the 21st century.  The hotel seems to perfectly balance its unique heritage yet remaining current and contemporary

Once beyond the entrance, a grand foyer welcomes guest with a bright and bold interior of glistening black and white marble tiled floors, Adam’s style 18th-century neoclassical style of plasterwork on the walls and ceilings, Doric columns and original marble fireplaces. Guests will also begin to notice the wonderful works of art that adorn the walls throughout the property.

The 123 guest rooms and 19 suites are, in a word, elegant, with the execution of the finest details in the décor, furnishings and amenities. The color palette is pale brown, green and blue pastels pleasant to the eye and quite calming as is intended. The décor was inspired by subtle palette inspired by Paul Henry’s Irish landscape paintings which you’ll find in the lobby of the hotel.  The accommodations include Irish fabrics and period-style furniture, fresh cut flowers, as well as uber comfortable bedding and 400 thread count Egyptian cotton linens to ensure their guests with a good night sleep.     The bathrooms are exquisite as well with Carrara marble with soaking tub and Asprey toiletries.

The suites maintain the architecture and interiors of a proper Georgian townhouse and have more spacious living space, many with fireplaces, a dining room table, sitting area with sofa king size bed.

The history of the hotel rings true as one would imagine life years ago in the townhouse of Ireland’s upper crust in the details yet it’s completely contemporary with the mod cons required by today’s connected traveler.

As one would expect, a hotel of this caliber has the dining experience on par with the accommodations. Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud is the only restaurant in Ireland with two Micheline stars and serves contemporary Irish cuisine. The restaurant is culinary royalty in Ireland and has been a staple of the food scene for over 30 years.

The Garden Room is their all-day dining and casual restaurant with modern Irish food from artisan food producers and harvests from the land and sea.

For a tad bit more of a casual experience head down to the hotel’s Cellar Bar and bend the elbow with locals having a toast after work from the vast selection of Irish craft beers or perhaps a Jameson on the rocks.  The cellar has a catacomb-like ambiance with high arched ceilings and walkways and exposed rock and mortar coves and nooks. The food is great as well serving proper modern Irish pub dishes using the best local and seasonal ingredients

Dublin is a thrilling city.  Hotel guests will enjoy visiting the National Art Gallery, or the Museum of Natural History which are a five-minute walk away. But guest can also appreciate the invaluable collection of art at the hotel with one of the most significant private collections of 19th and 20th-century art in all of Ireland. There is a self-guided audio tour where the notable works by William Leech, Jack Yeats, and Mainie Jellett are among the highlights of the 90 works art in the paintings and sculptures throughout the property. 

The hotel has really created a peaceful sanctuary and nowhere is this better on display than their courtyard garden with babbling water fountains, box hedges, delicate flowers, and a life-sized sculpture of Ireland’s favorite son, James Joyce. It’s the perfect place to get lost of a few hours wandering through the grounds, having a spot of tea or lunch from the Garden restaurant, and finding a quiet spot with your favorite book.  

The hotel also offers pampering through its full-service spa, indoor pool and work out facilities for their road weary guests.

For guests looking for an elegant base to explore the exuberant city of Dublin will find what they seek in the grand dame of Dublin hotels, the Merrion Hotel.

Glenn Harris

Glenn Harris is an accomplished journalist focusing on international travel, fine dining, and luxury lifestyle events. His wanderlust has taken him to over 95 countries where he is constantly straying off the beaten path uncovering new and often exotic finds. He particularly enjoys seeking out lesser known travel gems and places to stay, dine, or experiences to capture. ...(Read More)

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