Wednesday 16 October 2019

Is this Ireland's most expensive one-bedroom apartment ever?

9 The Residences The InterContinental Hotel Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

Asking price: €1.2m

Agent: Galvin (01) 4964612

At your service: The accommodation at No9 includes the 500 sq ft open plan living and dining room
At your service: The accommodation at No9 includes the 500 sq ft open plan living and dining room
The wide entrance hall
Doors leading through to the kitchen
The bedroom with dressing room and ensuite
Swimming facilities to which the owner has access
Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

'This home is NOT a hotel!" has long been a favoured rebuke of Irish parents - aimed at unruly offspring who turn up for meals when they feel like it, who throw their clothes on the floor, or bring friends around at all hours.

But you can't deploy that one while living at Residence 9 at the five-star luxury InterContinental Hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 because (a) it IS part of a hotel and (b) as a one-bedroom apartment, it's for singles or couples so any children present are either visiting or clever enough to have breached hotel security and picked the lock.

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The other rather special aspect about Residence 9 is the price - it's asking €1.2m. This makes it the single most expensive one-bedroom apartment in Ireland bar none, and quite likely the most expensive one-bedroom apartment ever offered for sale in Ireland at any point in time.

But the advantages for those who will pay it are myriad, particularly for a high-end commercial traveller, who might need an office and meeting room and residential base in Ireland with everything thing rolled into one.

Doors leading through to the kitchen
Doors leading through to the kitchen

The very fact that it comes attached to one of Dublin's most prestigious hotels means you can get your meals and dry cleaning sorted with a quick call. That you have access to the InterContinental's renowned spa, swimming and gym facilities. Your room can be cleaned at your whim and you can have fresh linen and towels any time you want.

There's a bar at hand. You can order whatever cocktail you fancy at any time of night. Breakfast can be supplied just as you like it. Whether that's avocado toast and eggs benedict or Coco pops.

The wide entrance hall
The wide entrance hall

You get safe parking on-site and of course the Ballsbridge location is handy for the city centre as well as being in Dublin's swishest postcode.

Even though this is a one-bedroom home, it's actually much larger than a typical hotel luxury suite. Indeed its space exceeds that of both floors of a typical city family residence. Extending to 1,230 sq ft, this one-bedroom apartment matches the upstairs and downstairs floorspace of an extended three-bed semi.

The bedroom with dressing room and ensuite
The bedroom with dressing room and ensuite

It could likely fit four bedrooms into it, but why would you do that given the selfish luxury at hand?

The apartment benefits from a discreet entrance away from the hotel's main doors (just in case you need to avoid bumping into someone).

Swimming facilities to which the owner has access
Swimming facilities to which the owner has access

You walk into an airy and stylish hallway and then into its very large open-plan living room and dining room area, which spans 500 sq ft. Off this is a fitted luxury kitchen. The single bedroom is also enormous and has its own walk-in dressingroom with built-in wardrobes and a big bathroom ensuite. There's also a guest wc.

The property is for sale through Galvin which is also seeking to let out the two -bedroom penthouse suite in the same hotel scheme for €6,500 per month.

An agency spokesperson says: "The appeal of Residences at The InterContinental is greatly enhanced by the fact that owners can avail of all of the five-star services provided by the hotel including concierge, reception and room service."

The hotel was built in 2001 by a consortium put together by Derek Quinlan's Quinlan Private and was originally known as the Four Seasons. Amenities on the doorstep include the RDS, Leinster Rugby's home ground; the local shops and restaurants of Ballsbridge and Sandymount and the 34 acres of Herbert Park. Dublin Airport is now within 20 minutes' drive via the Port Tunnel.

Sales of hotel rooms have been popular as an investment throughout European capitals since the property market recovery. More usually they are acquired as a buy-to-let hands-off option and are hired out normally by the hotels.

It happens in Dublin but has not been as common as in cities like London.

Two years ago a single-bedroom hotel room at the Grand Canal Dock hotel in Dublin 4 was advertised for sale for €99,000 and sold soon after.

It was placed for sale by a private buyer who had in turn acquired it from the hotel a few years previously, for personal use.

Aside from the housing crisis pushing poorer families into budget hotels, there has also been a long tradition of wealthy individuals living in high-end hotels over protracted periods.

Perhaps the best known was Coco Chanel who famously lived at The Ritz in Paris for 30 years and decorated her own suite.

Peter Sellers lived for a time at the Dorchester in London; Marilyn Monroe lived at the Beverly Hills Hotel for two years (Howard Hughes also lived here for a time). Some hotel-living celebs loved their homes so much that they ended their days in their suites.

Among them are Tennessee Williams (who died at the Elysee in New York) and Dylan Thomas (he passed at the Hotel Chelsea in New York). The Irish among them liked to pock their last check out with humour. Oscar Wilde's last words were uttered in the Hotel d'Alsace in Paris and recorded as: "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death, one or the other of us has to go." Meantime, the Limerick-born actor Richard Harris, who had lived for many years at the Dorchester was removed from it finally by stretcher to an ambulance. And as he was being taken out of the hotel entrance into the street, the star of The Field exclaimed loudly for all to hear: "It was the FOOD!"

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