The Shelbourne Dublin, A Renaissance Hotel Rating: 4.5 Pearls
The 265-room Shelbourne, built in 1824, is one of Dublin's best-known luxury icons, with a grand entrance right on St. Stephen's Green and an impressive roster of famous past guests (Bill Clinton, Julia Roberts, and Liam Neeson have all stayed here, to name a few). Rooms have elegant traditional decor, though some are quite small and standard Queen Rooms lack bathtubs. Still, the ornate common spaces, hot spot bars and dining venues, luxury spa, and historic cachet combine to make this one of Dublin's premier options. Only The Merrion can compare.
The Merrion Hotel Rating: 5.0 Pearls
The Merrion is Dublin's most exclusive luxury hotel, and has a convenient location across from the Government buildings in four 18th-century townhouses. It has fewer rooms than the nearby Shelbourne and feels more intimate and private, though its list of features is still extensive: The hotel has a full-service spa, lovely Roman-style indoor pool, and well-equipped fitness center. The impressive restaurant offering includes Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, the only restaurant in Ireland to receive two Michelin stars, as well as the casual and atmospheric Cellar Bar, housed in the original 18th century wine vaults. It's true that some rooms have unremarkable views of other buildings, the gym is a bit small, and not all rooms have iPod docks, but most will find little fault with this five-pearl gem.
Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa is located about half an hour northwest of Dublin's city center. The historic property -- an 18th-century castle turned Georgian house, turned convent, turned hotel -- sits on beautiful green grounds, making it a popular spot for weddings and events. The 145 rooms are spacious and modern, though lack any wow factor in the decor department. However, linens are crisp, there is free Wi-Fi, and the castle offers 24-hour room service. Additional room amenities include electric kettles and safes, and suites have luxurious soaking tubs. The biggest highlight here is the spa, with its serene hydrotherapy pool, outdoor hot tub, and variety of treatments. A lovely lobby has plush seating and a fireplace, and the fitness room is adequate. The location may be out of the way, but with a library, restaurant, three bars, and several golf courses nearby, there is plenty to keep guests entertained.
Schoolhouse Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The Schoolhouse is a charming, historic hotel located in the leafy Ballsbridge neighborhood. The building housed a school from 1859 through 1969, and underwent a restoration in 1997 that preserved its historic character. The result is a traditional, cozy boutique hotel unlike any other in Dublin. All rooms are named after a famous Irish writer and have classic decor including floral prints and antiques. Rooms do have modern touches as well, including flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and fluffy duvets. Bathrooms have historic charm, but are a little snug. The architecture of the hotel is most striking in Olivier's Restaurant and the Schoolhouse Bar, which share a beamed cathedral ceiling. The vibrant neighborhood bar has a fireplace, outdoor seating, and screens to show all the big sports matches. The quiet location, excellent food, and history of this hotel make it one of Dublin's best affordable picks.
The Gresham Hotel Dublin Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The Gresham Hotel is centrally located on the north side of the River Liffey in Dublin's city center. Dating back to 1817, the property has some refurbished areas, while others could use an update. The hotel is classic and warm with decent-size rooms featuring minibars, electronic safes, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. While standard rooms could use refreshing, superior rooms and suites feature big bathrooms with separate walk-in showers and soaking tubs; the Elizabeth Taylor suite has a balcony. Hotel amenities include two restaurants, a casual bar and brasserie serving afternoon tea, and a lounge with street views. However, the fitness center is small and there's a fee for self-parking.
O'Callaghan Stephen's Green Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The O'Callaghan Stephen's Green is a historic property in a convenient location right off the corner of the central park, St. Stephen's Green. Spacious, clean rooms have updated amenities such as flat-screen TVs, European and U.S. plugs, and electronic safes. Decor is contemporary with colorful touches of purple. The cozy library offers a great spot to sit with a book by the fireplace on a cold day. Additional hotel amenities include a 24-hour business center, well-equipped fitness center, and solid bar. However, the hotel does charge for Wi-Fi and some bathrooms are in need of a facelift.
Bewley's Hotel Ballsbridge Rating: 3.0 Pearls
The Bewley's Hotel is housed in a striking, 19th-century building that was once a school and is surrounded by attractive grounds. It is beautiful and grand from the outside, and makes a great first impression with a big, modern lobby full of cozy seating. However, rooms aren't quite as modern. While they are clean and spacious, decor is generic and some have old tube TVs. All rooms have electric kettles, and suites offer contemporary decor and updated bathrooms. Hotel amenities include a large restaurant and bar with a sunny patio for the summer months. Bewley's is a good value pick located in the safe, upscale neighborhood of Ballsbridge, a 10-minute drive from the city center. The DART train is close by for easy transportation to centrally located sights.
La Stampa Hotel & Spa Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The La Stampa Hotel & Spa is a 28-room boutique option in the center of Dublin. Eastern and Moroccan themes dominate the decor, and rooms have comfortable beds, flat-screen TVs, and stocked minibars. All rooms have free Wi-Fi and some have luxurious soaking tubs. The on-site Mandala Spa continues the Moroccan theme and offers a long list of treatments, along with cozy seating. Restaurants and bars are a draw at this hotel, including the upscale Pink Supper Club and Sam Sara, home to a great late-night scene. The location on Dawson Street is easy walking distance from shopping on Grafton Street and St. Stephen's Green, but the hotel is on the pricey side.
Charleville Lodge Rating: 3.0 Pearls
The Charleville Lodge is a budget-friendly option in a row of Victorian homes a short drive from Dublin's city center. The hotel sits on a tree-lined street in Phibsborough, located between the airport and the heart of Dublin in. Basic, simple rooms have fresh linens and are clean and bright. All rooms have free Wi-Fi and there are some triple rooms that are well-suited for groups of budget travelers. Some rooms have small flat-screen TVs while others have old tube TVs. Hotel features include a lounge with a fireplace and a solid breakfast. While the location is quiet, the city center is a long walk, bus ride, or cab ride away.
Beresford Hotel IFSC Rating: 3.0 Pearls
The Beresford Hotel IFSC (formerly called Hotel Isaacs) is a mid-sized option located near the Custom House on the north side of the River Liffey. Rooms are a generous size but furniture and decor is basic. The Georgian wing of the hotel is home to huge, bright suites with high ceilings and nicer decor. Some rooms have tube TVs while others have small flat-screens. All rooms have electric kettles and clean bathrooms. The lobby is a comfortable place to relax by the working fireplace and an Italian restaurant, Il Vignardo, has interesting vaulted ceilings. The hotel is also home to a casual bar, Le Monde Cafe Bar. While the location is very convenient for the IFSC, the main bus station, and the Abbey Theatre, some guests complain about noise from the LUAS trams and the frequent buses.
Cassidys Hotel Rating: 3.0 Pearls
Cassidys Hotel is a family-owned, mid-range hotel in three historic Georgian buildings on Parnell Square. The 113 clean, reasonably priced rooms are bright and come with free Wi-Fi. However, decor is generic and bathrooms are on the small side. Hotel amenities include a small fitness center, comfortable bistro, and bar. A continental breakfast is served daily. This hotel is a good pick for value, and its convenient location on the north side of the River Liffey is within walking distance to numerous sights.
Harrington Hall Rating: 3.0 Pearls
The Harrington Hall is a 30-room hotel set in a historic Georgian building. The rooms are dated, with lower-quality bedspreads and patterned curtains, but they are spacious and clean. Room amenities include electric kettles and, in some rooms, flat-screen TVs. One highlight is the residence lounge, a classically decorated living room with a fireplace and computer for guest use. The hotel offers free Wi-Fi in public areas, and the location is near many restaurants and some of Dublin's best nightlife. Overall cleanliness and a certain traditional charm make this a decent mid-range option, for the price.