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The first time we visited Dublin, Bill and I stayed at the Marker Hotel, which is a very nice business class accommodation located near Ireland’s Facebook offices.  The Marker Hotel was, at that time, Trip Advisor’s number one pick for hotels in Dublin.  I don’t think that’s why I booked it, though.  I think it’s because the Merrion Hotel was full during the time we wanted to visit.  When I travel without the dogs, I like to stay in nice hotels.

Super nice digs!

Bill and I liked the Marker Hotel fine, but the location wasn’t ideal for us.  It’s very close to the Liffey River, kind of away from all the pubs and sights.  The Merrion Hotel, by contrast, is right in the thick of things, off Merrion Square and close to St. Stephen’s Green.  It’s directly next to a street lined with restaurants and it’s also not far from the RDS Arena, which is where Paul Simon would be performing.  The Marker Hotel’s location is a bit more residential and not as convenient to non business related activities.

The Merrion Hotel is also just plain more to my liking.  It’s more of a traditional hotel, with more of a classic feel than the Marker Hotel’s ultra sleek modern vibe.  Both hotels are expensive.  Both hotels are very nice and offer excellent service and good food.  But my preference is for the Merrion, which our cab driver assured us is the best hotel in Dublin.  I believe him.  For readers who are wondering which one they’d like better– if you’re going to splurge, that is– I’d say choose the Marker Hotel if you like modern decor and want to be close to the river and/or Facebook.  Choose the Merrion Hotel if you like a more traditional decor with character and lavish service.  Either way, you really can’t go wrong.  They are both beautiful hotels.

If your preference is more for “interesting”, I’d recommend checking out the Charleville Lodge, which is run by a hilarious guy who is very active on Facebook.  I have not stayed at the Charleville Lodge myself, but I have a feeling I would enjoy it… if only I weren’t so posh.  The guy who runs the Charleville Lodge also runs the White Moose Cafe, which was all over the news a few months ago after the owner exposed a blogger.  Hmmm…  I guess that’s another reason I decided not to book there.  Seriously, if you like cheeky humor and don’t mind some ribbing, you might want to check it out.  Maybe we’ll stay there next time we go to Dublin, but only if I’ve given up writing by that time.

So, anyway, back to the Merrion Hotel.  I had prepaid for the room, but they took an imprint of Bill’s credit card for “incidentals”.  We knew there would be incidentals, too.  The Merrion Hotel has two restaurants, a pub, and a cocktail bar, as well as a beautifully equipped spa.  I never made it to a spa treatment, but I did try out the beautiful pool and took note of the well-maintained exercise room, which, of course, I didn’t use.

We were assigned room 333, which was a standard room on the “garden” wings.  The garden wings are relatively newly built wings to the original hotel, which originally consisted of four Victorian era townhouses.  While the newer rooms lack the character of the original rooms, they are still extremely well appointed and comfortable and even come with free chocolate and water.  Below are some pictures.

They gave us free Fuji water, which we never got around to drinking, and three chocolate bars, which we brought home with us.  Chocolate is definitely a plus.

The bed.  Not sure what that stripe down the picture is.  Maybe my iPhone malfunctioned.

A tray of amenities.  If you need dry cleaning or laundry done, they have you covered.  

A huge marble bathroom with a nice shower and tub.  It also had a scale in it, which I carefully avoided.  The shower was nice, although I preferred the one at Wald Hotel in Stuttgart!

Water by Oscar Wilde!  He’s everywhere in Dublin!

 

Our room also had a French balcony, free Internet, a mini bar, and a TV with lots of channels on it.  Every night, a housekeeper brought us ice and kept us stocked with water.  We only got turn down service on the night of Paul Simon’s concert because the other nights, we were already in for the evening when it was time for turn down service.

We were pretty tired on our first night in Dublin, so we decided to eat at the hotel.  They have a pub in the basement called The Cellar Bar (which I had originally misunderstood as “Salad Bar”).  It’s a really cool place, with lots of brick rooms.  Thursday nights, they have live entertainment.  Although we didn’t see the musicians who played for a short while, we did hear them.  It was a nice treat and, unfortunately, the closest I got to live pub music during our visit.  Maybe next time we’ll have better luck and want to stay up later.

Bill peruses the menu.

He had an open faced steak sandwich with mild cheese.

I went with half a chicken smothered with barbecue sauce.  This was a real treat!  While we certainly get chicken in Germany, it’s not usually prepared in this style.  It came with a salad.

A Hop House Lager, made by Guinness.

 

Service at The Cellar Bar was cordial and professional and the food was very good.  I would have liked to have gone there a second time, but we didn’t get the chance.  However, we did have three breakfasts in The Garden Room, which is one of the hotel’s restaurants.  Breakfast is 24 euros if you just want the continental stuff and 29 euros if you opt for a cooked to order breakfast.  If you want steak and eggs, it’s another fourteen euros.  I was a little tempted by steak and eggs, but that seemed too extreme.

On our first morning, we had a nice view of the courtyard garden.

And here’s a view of the continental island, which has the usual fruits, cheeses, breads, juices, and pastries.

Bill had scrambled eggs with smoked salmon.

I went with Eggs Benedict.

The garden is very pretty.

It even has a fountain!

When the maid is cleaning your room, they hang these handy signs.

I liked the uniforms the staff in the Garden Room wore.  They had very nice tailored slacks and vests that appeared to be good quality.  Actually, everyone in the hotel wears very nice uniforms and they vary depending on what part of the hotel the person is working in.  We noticed at least one American working in the Garden Room. She was the chattiest of all the wait staff.  I think I overheard her saying that she was in studying in Dublin.  As a former English major, I couldn’t help but note that Ireland is kind of a paradise for former English majors…  or even well read geeks like my husband.

After breakfast, we learned more about Dublin’s rich musical and literary history.  More on that in my next post!
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