When my wife Natalie and I visited Dublin to speak at TBEX, we stayed at the Merrion Hotel, known as Dublin’s nicest hotel. We were not disappointed. Here are 8 things to know and love about The Merrion Hotel.
1. It’s one of the city’s best hotels
The Merrion Hotel is known for being one of Dublin’s best hotels. It’s a five-star luxury property and is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, so you know it’s beautiful.
The Merrion Hotel is set in the heart of Georgian Dublin on Upper Merrion Street. It’s directly opposite the government buildings, which is the home of the Irish government. You don’t have to walk more than 10 minutes to get to the city’s most famous, and one of the world’s most expensive, shopping streets, Grafton Street.
It’s also situated within walking distance of Trinity College, which was founded in 1592 and modelled after Oxford and Cambridge universities. Their library has over 4.5 million printed volumes and significant quantities of manuscripts including the Book of Kells. There are loads of other shops, restaurants and historic pubs within two blocks of the Merrion.
3. A Place in History
The Main House of this five star hotel is comprised of four meticulously restored Grade I Listed Georgian townhouses. The houses were built in the 1760s by Lord Charles Stanley Monck for wealthy Irish merchants and nobility. He lived in No. 22, which became known as Monck House. The most important of the four houses is, however, No. 24 Upper Merrion Street. This was leased to Garrett Wellesley, Earl of Mornington in 1769 and has since been known as Mornington House. The house is remembered historically as being the birthplace of Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington. After an extensive restoration project, it became a hotel in 1997. Here’s the Merrion’s entire history.
Since the Merrion Hotel opened, it’s been winning all kinds of awards. In 2013 alone it has won the following:
‘Readers’ Choice Awards 2013’
The Merrion was voted ‘No 1 hotel in Dublin’, Conde Nast Traveler, October 2013
‘Dublin’s Best Afternoon Tea’
The Irish Times, May 2013
World’s Top 100 Hotels
Robb Report, May 2013
The Platinum Circle 2013
For hotels featured on ‘The Gold List’ for more than 5 consecutive years, Conde Nast Traveler, USA
The Merrion Hotel has 142 guest rooms including 19 suites and they are all designed using Irish fabrics and antiques to reflect the architecture and original interiors of the 18th Century Townhouses. As their website states, they are the epitome of elegance and are also supremely inviting and comfortable. Our room was plush and comfortable.
6. Cellar Restaurant
Dublin, and all of Ireland for that matter, isn’t exactly known for having great food. But that’s all been changing in the past few years and now the city has excellent restaurants. The Merrion is home to one of them with a two Michelin star rating. The Cellar Restaurant is the creation of Patrick Guilbaud and he uses only the finest seasonal ingredients. Here’s a copy of the menus.
It was a long walk from our room to the Cellar Restaurant, which is where breakfast is served. The most surprising feature of the hotel was that it has two landscaped period gardens. I later learned that they were designed by Jim Reynolds, a noted Irish landscape artist. Both gardens re-create the feel of an 18th century garden with box hedges, water features, pathways, statuary and obelisks. Don’t miss them!
8. Talking to the doormen
The best part of the Merrion, Dublin, and indeed all of Ireland, is the people. Honestly, the people are what make this place special. When we first arrived at the train station, we jumped on a public bus (bus #145) and the kind driver let me slide when I discovered that I was short about 20 cents. He then made sure we knew when and where to get off and then beeped the horn and waved goodbye as we got off. And he wasn’t an anomaly. The people in Ireland are truly amazing and so are some of the Merrion’s doormen. Stick around a bit to get to know them.
As you can tell, the Merrion Hotel is an exceptional place and a beautiful hotel with a real history behind it. It might not be in the budget but if you do have deep pockets, are on an expense account or are looking for a special place to celebrate a special occasion, consider staying at the Merrion!
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