‘Art Tea’ at The Merrion, Dublin’s most elegant afternoon tea with pastries inspired by hotel’s unique private art collection of 19th- and 20th-century; Ireland’s only two star Michelin restaurant; an exquisitely manicured lavish courtyard garden and an indoor heated pool with Spa – are just some of the highlights of the heritage The Merrion Hotel in Dublin.
With an enviable location in the heart of Dublin, The Merrion is an ideal choice for both officials/corporate and leisure travellers. The Irish Government and Parliament are steps from the hotel. So are the National Gallery, the Royal Hibernian Academy and the Douglas Hyde Gallery in Trinity College, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art – making The Merrion an ideal base for art afficionados.
Architecture is yet another impressive feature of The Merrion, a quintessentially Georgian gem. The Merrion is made up four restored Georgian townhouses. Some of the interior design elements were remodelled by hand using the same skills that would have been used two hundred years before.
My favourite spot in the hotel were the drawing rooms, with their classic ambiance and working fireplaces, which were busy with in-house guests and visitors at all times of the day. Whether attending a business meeting or a drink with family and friends, the Drawing Rooms make up one of Dublin’s most elegant venues.
The rooms and suites which are spacious and airy are dominated by furnishings in pastel colors. The emphasis is obviously on comfort and functionality, with ample wardrobe space and marble bathrooms which feature separate glass enclosed showers and bathtubs. Throughout my stay, I have also felt a strong residential feel. Views of the courtyard garden are a bliss at any time of the day.
Service is of a good standard, yet, at times, due to the size of the hotel (132 rooms and suites), there is a lack of personalized approach, especially for first-time guests like me. I could notice repeat guests were recognized by name by all staff, benefiting from a more personalized service. Concierges at The Merrion are probably among the best in Dublin, available to fulfil any demand guests might have.
As the hotel was running at full capacity, housekeeping was also running at a slow pace. Although I left my room in the morning, it was only serviced early afternoon after I made a specific phone request. Service in the Cellar Restaurant which is venue for breakfast, was fast and efficient. So was the quality of food – my preference was for a traditional Irish breakfast.
For a relaxation moment and although being in the heart of the city, The Merrion is privileged to have two period gardens, designed by Jim Reynolds, an Irish landscape artist. The smaller of the two gardens, known as “Lady Mornington’s Garden”, links the Main House to the Garden Wing. This contemporary wing completes the enclosure of the garden, and many of the guestrooms overlook the larger, central garden. Both gardens re-create the feel of the 18th century, with box hedges, water features, pathways, statuary and obelisks.
As it was a short stay, I did not have time to visit the Spa or any of the restaurants for dinner, but hopefully, I shall do so, during a potential future visit.
Oliver Petcu in Dublin
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