Tuesday 19 September 2017

€7m revamp . . . the times they are a-changin'

In its day, the Morrison wasn't just any Dublin hotel, it was a statement of swagger from a city which had just found its edge.

Its John Rocha-designed interior was unmistakably hip and if you dropped into the bar of an evening, you might easily have found yourself sipping cocktails next to a visiting rock star while Bob Dylan gazed coolly out at you from the enormous Elliott Landy photo on the wall. But those were different times, and the Morrison, like the city outside, has moved on.

Having reopened after a spell in NAMA and a €7m revamp, the hotel, now under the umbrella of the Hilton DoubleTree chain, appears far softer and brighter. The black wood and leather has been replaced by a lilac and cream colour scheme, with occasional bold splashes of deep purple.

The central foyer has been opened up so that the Quay 14 bar and Morrison Grill restaurant now form one light, welcoming space, while comfy leather chairs offer a perfect spot to watch the world go by over morning coffee or an after-work drink.

The designers have gone to great lengths to maintain the hotel's rock 'n' roll credentials: a mirror on the lobby wall is daubed with lyrics by local heroes like Damien Rice and The Hothouse Flowers while at the bar, the cocktails are inspired by drinking songs.

The bar and restaurant menu are big on locally sourced produce, with typical dishes like steak, fish and chips and homemade pasta.

If you'd picked the Morrison for a mini-break, you'd be delighted with its great location and helpful staff. But Bob Dylan is gone, and so have the suggestively dark corners he once watched over. Which is just as well, as he might have raised an eyebrow at the cheesy muzak on the speakers.

The new Morrison's still got soul, but it's a little too grown-up for rock 'n' roll.

Liz Kearney

Rooms from €139 per night. See www.morrisonhotel.ie

Irish Independent

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