Wednesday 24 July 2019

Ireland's No.1 hotel revealed: 'It just has that wow factor'

Ireland's Favourite Hotel: The Shelbourne, Dublin

The Shelbourne, Dublin
The Shelbourne, Dublin
The lounge in The Shelbourne's Princess Grace Suite
Adrian Murphy of The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin
The Irish Constitution was drafted on the first floor of the Shelbourne.
The Saddle Room at the Shelbourne
The Shelbourne Hotel

Reader Travel Awards 2019

You should never ask a lady her age.

But we'll make an exception for Dublin's Grand Dame. In 2019, the five-star you named Ireland's favourite hotel celebrates her 195th birthday.

"Location, location, location" was a recurring theme for readers in this category. Words like "grace", "elegance", "historic luxury" and "old-fashioned charm" peppered your comments, hailing a stay that "oozes charm and opulence". The Shelbourne offers "old-school glamour in the centre of Dublin", you said. It is a "stunning, stylish, extravagant" stay.

Ireland's Top 10 hotels

  1. Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin
  2. Monart Spa, Co Wexford
  3. The Europe, Co Kerry
  4. Ashford Castle, Co Mayo
  5. Kelly's Hotel, Co Wexford
  6. Adare Manor, Co Limerick
  7. Powerscourt Hotel, Co Wicklow
  8. The Cliff House, Co Waterford
  9. Harvey's Point, Co Donegal
  10. Amber Springs, Co Wexford

The Shelbourne hotel's history (see timeline below) is mouthwatering. The Constitution was drafted here, for cripes' sake. It's mentioned in Ulysses. But our judges also noted the deft, modern sensibility at play beneath that classic look and feel.

Now part of Marriott's Renassiance Collection, the 265-bed hotel has overhauled its facade, Lord Mayor's Lounge, corridors and guest rooms (the Princess Grace Suite, below, is a highlight... albeit one that costs an eye-popping €7,500 a night), and this year sees the completion of a major refurbishment with reboots of the Horseshoe Bar, No. 27, Great Room and entrance areas.

Princess Grace Suite Lounge.jpg
The lounge in The Shelbourne's Princess Grace Suite

"If you truly mean Ireland's top hotel, this is it," readers said, citing its "impeccable service and attention to detail." You love "the combination of old world and new".

Some raved about the breakfast; others the "fantastic cocktails" or afternoon tea. This is a "timeless" and graceful escape from the "city slicker life". "I love to go in and have even one pint to savour the atmosphere... Still the king of hotels, even if you just want to grab a coffee!"

While the hotel "may be a bit pricey for the average Joe (i.e. me)", you love the welcome and note "staff that are not too pushy, but more then willing to help and guide you in the right direction." "It just has that wow factor... with a wow price. But it's definitely worth experiencing once."

Shelbourne: Timeline

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Adrian Murphy of The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin

1824: The hotel opens after Martin Burke leases 27, 28 and 29 Stephen's Green for £300 a year. In 1825, it becomes the first hotel in Dublin to be lit by gaslight.

1922: The Irish Constitution is drafted in Room 112 under the chairmanship of Michael Collins. Today, the space is known as 'The Constitution Room'.

1958: John and Jackie Kennedy stay. Celebrity guests have also included Princess Grace and Peter O'Toole (famously reported to have taken a champagne bath).

2014: The Shelbourne is acquired by US property investment group Kennedy Wilson, but continues to be managed by Marriott International.

2019: This April, the five-star concludes a multi-million euro refurbishment process as Irish Independent readers name it Ireland's Favourite Hotel.

Your say

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The Saddle Room at the Shelbourne

"Living in Dublin, why would I stay in a Dublin hotel? Because it is The Shelbourne - truly iconic in every way. From the second we arrived to the second we left the experience exceeded our (high) expectations. It was close to Christmas, so extremely busy, but the staff just took it in their stride and treated each guest as if they were the only person there. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy or pretentious. Just love it!"

How to stay

The Shelbourne Hotel has a 'Pardon Our Appearance' special offer running to April 5, with an overnight stay, free parking, a bottle of house wine and breakfast in The Saddle Room from €289 per room. See theshelbourne.ie.

NB: The Irish Independent Reader Travel Awards 2019 are sponsored by Iarnród Eireann. Read the full list of winners here.

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