After rejecting a trip to London as a matter of principle ($1600/night for a non-suite in Hyde Park, based on Pound/Dollar conversion), I happened to check the Four Seasons web site for promotions and found a 3-night, 4th free in Dublin. This worked out to roughly 1650 Euro for a 4-night stay for a two-room suite.
(Apparently breakfast was included in the promotion, but I only learned this upon checking out. This is the second time I've experienced this phenomenon this summer. There may be a new don't-ask-don't-tell policy making the rounds, much like the $10/sauna use now cheapening many luxury brand hotels. Note to self: always ask if there are any amenities included at time of check-in. Oversight cost me about $200, but I shouldn't have had to ask.)
4S Dublin is located southeast of downtown, while the airport is well north. Taxis are plentiful and run about 40 euro for the ride, which was pleasant. Cabs themselves run from E-class Mercedes to undersized Toyotas, but the taxi line (ok, queue) was well-managed and brief. Bus service is cheaper, but cattle-callish. A private car-service company, Pro Motor Cars, operates out of Four Seasons, and you can arrange personal pickup for double the cost of a cab.
The hotel was built in 2001, roughly five floors of rooms (private 4S residences occupy at least the top floor; Dublin doesn't really have high-rise buildings, yet.) Place is immaculate, but rapidly approaching the need for makeover mentioned in earlier posts. Sculptures from J. Seward Johnson decorate the parking area, and the ambience upon arrival is instantly soothing.
We arrived at 10:00 AM, with a projected 3PM check-in. We thought we'd leave bags and walk downtown for some coffee. Not necessary: a suite was available, just finishing up house keeping, if we would be so kind as to have some coffee in the reading room for a few minutes. Common areas are indeed opulent in 4S tradition, and this is a business meeting destination, so expect to see suits and dresses in these areas. If you feel self-conscious wearing jeans and a t-shirt surrounded by better-mannered locals, perhaps you'll pack a tad more carefully (and it's colder, so bring sweaters, jackets, etc., even on Labor Day). If you're like most Americans, however, you'll flop down and start gabbing on your cell phone, oblivious to the quiet conversations of your neighbors.
The hotel is known for meetings and weddings, and our weekend was no exception. The main areas had a bridal party on Saturday, but it was easily handled by the number of rooms and attentive staff.
Our suite was clean, comfortable, and ample. The bathroom had only a single basin, but closet space was larger than expected (a full-blown walk-in with racks and storage bins.) Housekeepers obsessively kept every towel and toiletries refreshed. Twice a day we would return to find fresh ice in the bucket. Iron and board were not stocked, but one phone call remedied the omission.
The spa is limited. An advance call to set up treatments was a study in "no." The lap pool, like so many hotel lap pools, has in fact become a splash ground for kids. The whirlpool is surprisingly cool (maybe 80, hardly a hot tub experience.) The steam and sauna rooms are well-maintained, as are the locker areas.
Concierge service is efficient and courteous, what one would expect from 4S. This includes reservations, car service, even getting security to resolve minor problems. The best buy is the courtesy car to downtown (best buy, as in, free). The two drivers are fine professionals who know every inch of the city, and they'll drop you where you like after a short ride in the hotel's Jaguar.
We tried walking downtown the first day. Frommer's and front desk staff suggested it was an easy 15-minute stroll. The reality is more like a 30-minute power walk. Bring good hiking shoes. Note well: there is a DART station one block from the hotel which drops you behind Trinity College for about $2 (roughly $10 for a day-pass). It's more comfortable than the myriad busses, and it can get you to shore towns north and south of the city for excursions in less than an hour.
Walking downtown, we saw the hotel alternatives around St. Stephen's Green and near Grafton Street. There is your range of tres chic and grande dames to choose from. They are more convenient to the city centre. But at the end of the day, Four Seasons brings consistency, reliability, and an understated professionalism all too often lacking at home and abroad. I had some niggling complaints, but they don't bear mention here (except perhaps the poor service and food quality at breakfast). Value is a relative concept. Dollars are not competing well against the Euro these days, so it's hard to say 4S represents a great value in Dublin. But compared to what else is available in the EU, this might be Europe's best-kept secret.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- InterContinental Dublin is a 20 minute stroll from Trinity College and Grafton Street and a short walk to Aviva Stadium to experience the thrill of championship rugby. The Hotel offers a landmark location in the city's most desirable neighbourhood, combining embassies and stately homes with pubs and restaurants. For Dubliners, this is the most attractive place to live in the city. Guests enjoy authentic experiences of today's Dublin; fresh and modern, yet warmed with a sense of Irish tradition. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- 4 Seasons Hotel Dublin
- Four Seasons Dublin
- Dublin Four Seasons
- Four Seasons Hotel Dublin