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Four Georgian Townhouses, Manicured Gardens And A Two Michelin Starred Restaurant, The Merrion Hotel, Dublin
November 7, 2017
Occupying four Georgian townhouses across from the imposing Government buildings, The Merrion’s location is unbeatable with; the National Gallery, National Museum and Grafton Street shopping district all within a few minutes’ walk. Yet it’s not just the address that makes this property stand out, the hotel is home to Ireland’s largest private collection of 19th and 20th century art works which adorn the walls of the public spaces and bedrooms. Guests can take an audio guide through the hotel which ties together the artworks with the history of the residences and is narrated by Fionnuala Croke, Director of the world-renowned Chester Beatty Library and Irish actor, Barry McGovern.
We arrive in the late afternoon when the drawing rooms are filled with guests and locals sitting down to the “Art Tea”, the hotel’s innovative take on the traditional afternoon tea, inspired by the surrounding artworks. The fires are lit and the glowing lamps create a warm and homely ambience in a stately setting of heavy curtains and grand upholstery.
The hotel is divided into two wings with the main house at the front and the spacious Garden Wing to the rear, enclosing a beautifully landscaped quadrangle of fountains and greenery where a new restaurant, The Garden Room, has recently opened under the watchful eye of chef Ed Cooney. We check into a Merrion Suite in the main house that opens into a spacious living room with opulent furnishings and J.B.Yeats sketches hanging on the walls. The bedroom is smaller, with a huge double bed at the centre, leading through to a gleaming marble ensuite bathroom equipped with Asprey toiletries. It’s purposefully dated, recalling the regency era and a nostalgic kind of elegance, whilst the rooms in the Garden Wing are more contemporary in style with subdued tartan fabrics and pastel colour palettes.
The service, matching the hotel’s ambience, is discreet and friendly. There’s a bottle of champagne and box of chocolates awaiting us on arrival with a note card welcoming us to the hotel, and when we call to discuss afternoon activities, the concierge team is helpful and polite. The Tethra Spa is currently undergoing expansion, growing into the space where The Cellar restaurant used to be and will open as a major new city spa in the summer of 2018.
The hotel is renowned in Dublin for its gastronomy and is home to the only 2 Michelin star restaurant in Ireland, Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud which serves contemporary Irish cuisine with tasting menus ranging for four to eight courses. Sadly, the restaurant is closed on Mondays so we choose to dine in the more casual Cellar Bar, located in the original 18th-century wine vaults of the Main House. We settle into a romantic candlelit stone alcove and order a selection of sharing plates including oysters (served on a platter of ice), moules mouclade with crispy, skinny fries and a half pint tasting of the Monick Ale which comes paired with baked cheese and toasted beer bread. It’s all delicious (particularly the mussels) and the staff are quietly attentive so that we get to enjoy the meal without our wine being topped up every two minutes.
For those who favour minimalist, all white design hotels with high-tech appliances and a mini bar stocked with oxygen shots, The Merrion isn’t the place for you, but for anyone seeking a quiet kind of luxury in the heart of the Dublin’s centre, there’s no where better.
For more information The Merrion Hotel, see here.
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