Advantages Spacious, friendly, within walking distance of town
Disadvantages Expensive, no facilities
Having birthdays within 4 days of each other, Les and I decided a couple of years ago that we would stop exchanging gifts and instead, put the money we would have spent towards a weekend away together. Last year it was New York, this year it was Dublin.We booked the trip at the beginning of January on the internet via Expedia; we didn't have any hotels recommended to us so decided on the Clarion Stephens Hall Hotel as they were offering a deal on their suites - it was my birthday after all !!
Once we arrived at Dublin airport, we caught the 'AirCoach' to the hotel. This is a 'luxury' coach service that drops off at 15 key points around Dublin Centre, including right outside the Clarion hotel ! The coach was very comfortable, boasting large, leather seats and plenty of storage space. The 'ticket-seller' was also very friendly and made us aware of the reduction in ticket price if we bought a return although we foolishly refused.
~~ Getting There ~~
The journey takes approx 30 minutes from the airport (to Clarion Stephens Hall) and costs €6 one-way or €10 return per person which equates to approx £4 single and £6.70 return. There are coaches every 15 minutes between 5am and midnight (every hour between these times) and here is no need to pre-book this service due to the frequency of the services.
The Clarion Stephens Hall Hotel & Suites is situated on Lower Leeson Street, Dublin and depending where you look, is sold as either a 3* deluxe or 4* hotel (I believe this is due to the amenities rather than standard of hotel). This is quite an upmarket part of the city and the area boasts rows of Georgian Mansions, fancy restaurants serving all manner of cuisine as well as a number of coffee shops and deli's for the office workers. The hotel is only 50 metres from St Stephens Green and the beautiful park , and just a walk away from the main shopping areas. Temple Bar takes about 15 minutes to get to on foot so ideally located.The hotel is part of the ‘Prem’ chain who offer serviced apartments, business centres and meeting rooms as well as hotels and contains 37 suites each with one or two bedrooms.
The hotel is situated in the middle of a Georgian Terrace and is impressive to look at. Although there are lifts provided within the hotel itself, there are only stairs up to the entrance which may make this unsuitable for guests in wheelchairs. The outside of the hotel is well kept, with blooming window boxes and a generally well-kept exterior.
~~ First Impressions ~~
As you can imagine, we were pleased with what we saw and the remainder of the hotel would only continue to delight.
The reception area of the hotel reminded me of someone’s front room with its large open fire and big comfy sofas. Fresh coffee was made available to residents at no cost, as were daily newspapers. There was a large display of leaflets and brochures for local attractions which we found useful and a number of vases of flowers made the whole area seem somewhat more inviting. We later found out that the hotel are more than happy to keep luggage for you on the day of check-out and this area provides a comfortable and convenient place to relax until your transport to the airport arrives.All of the reception staff were very friendly and couldn’t do enough to help. We had pre-paid for our room so check-in on arrival was fast and efficient and were given our key*.
*Note – this wasn’t one of the modern card-keys but a regular key fastened to a large plastic fob therefore we would always hand our key in when leaving the hotels.Once we had checked in and provided the usual, obligatory signatures, we were advised how to proceed to the relevant floor of the hotel and off we went.
I’m not entirely sure what we expected from the suite we had booked but we were both pleasantly surprised with what we found.
~~ The Suite ~~
The suite itself consisted of an entrance lobby, a bathroom, a double bedroom and a living room with kitchenette. There was laminate flooring throughout and the decor was generally quite modern, if not quite 'loft living'.~ Bathroom – slightly dated but clean and inoffensive with a bath, overhead 'power' shower, sink and toilet. We were provided with plenty of towels (which was good as I tend to get through a few), complimentary toiletries and tissues and there was also the usual shaver point. No radiator, just a heater but we never actually needed to use this as the suite was always pleasantly warm.
~ Bedroom – Double bed, trouser press, double wardrobe with plenty of hanging and storage space, hairdryer and heater. Spare pillows were also provided. BEWARE – as the beds are on wheels and the floor is laminate, they have a mind of their own !~ Living Area – The living space was very cosy with a settee and chair, television (with terrestrial and Sky channels) and a desk complete with CD player, photo-copier and fax machine - it definitely reminded me more of a business flat than a hotel bedroom. We also had a small dining table with two chairs and an ironing board with an iron fastened to the wall. There was definitely everything here that you could ever want for a cosy night in although we planned to make the most of our time in Dublin !
~ Kitchenette – Small in kitchen terms but housed all the essentials which included a fridge with small freezer section, a microwave, a hob, a kettle and a toaster. Cutlery and crockery were also provided which all in all made for a very practical kitchen area.A couple of other things we noticed:
~ A bag was provided in the bedroom along with a price-list for both laundry and dry-cleaning services. Should we have wanted to take advantage of these, we could have paid quite reasonable prices (approx £1 per shirt) for our laundry to be cleaned and returned within 24 hrs.~ Amongst the hotel information provided in the suite was a brochure for a local ‘posh’ delivery service whereby meals from a number of local restaurants could be delivered to your door for a nominal charge of €5 (approx £3). The range of cuisines was extensive and ranged from Mexican and Italian to Chinese and Thai. The service also included a number off-licences who would provide beer, wine, spirits and soft drinks at shop prices.
~ Although tea towels and dish clothes were provided, guests would need to take washing up liquid etc for a longer stay. As it was, we managed to wash through the couple of side plates and glasses which we used using just hot water and a bit of elbow grease !!
A maid attended the suite daily and from what we could tell made the beds, swept the floors, cleaned the bathroom and kitchen, replenished any toiletries and replaced the towels if you left these on the floor (to help save the environment, hotels now recommend you keep towels for more than one day by replacing them on the rails as an indication to the housekeeping staff).One morning, we were still around when the maid called but were not unduly disturbed; the maid knocked a couple of times before entering and confirmed that she would call back later which she did.
~ The hotel has 37 suites (one and two bedroomed) which can be booked over the internet or via phone – details below. The advertised rates are between €200 and €450 per room, per night (approx £140 - £310 at current exchange rates) although we got ours for just over £100 per night through our Expedia package.
~~ Other Useful Facts & Figures ~~
~ The hotel does have a restaurant where breakfast can be taken for an additional charge. This is ‘Romanza’s’ restaurant that serves an Italian menu and is also open to members of the public. We didn't visit Romanza's during our stay, preferring to sample the local restaurants and deli's for sampling breakfast but other guests spoke highly of the food.~ The hotel has underground parking available at a cost of €7 per night. This can be easily arranged upon arrival via the hotel reception desk staff.
~ Rooms are made available from 2pm and should be vacated by 12pm on the day of departure. As were weren’t catching the Air Coach back to the airport until 1:30pm, the hotel were more than happy to store our luggage for us at no extra cost.
I loved this hotel. Whilst it may seem quite expensive, this was a special break and for a three night stay wasn’t too unreasonable. I have paid more than this for a poky, single hotel room in some cities and considering we had what was almost a small flat, I certainly wasn’t complaining.The room was well equipped for a business or pleasure visit and within walking distance of all local amenities including shopping, eating and drinking as well as the main tourist attractions.
The staff were friendly and although we didn’t eat in the restaurant during our stay, this was only due to the fact we like to be out and about, and Romanza's always looked busy, particuarly in the evenings.I’d have no hesitation in recommending this hotel to anyone visiting Dublin in the future.
~~ Contact Details ~~
Email: email@example.comTelephone: 353 1 638 1111
(Rating as 4 stars due to lack of facilities and expense)
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