Ireland Hotels › Historic Hotels
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The Merrion Hotel

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.

Merchant Hotel

Merchant Hotel Rating: 5.0 Pearls

Located in the heart of Belfast, The Merchant is grand and stylish, combining Victorian elegance with a modern Jazz Age vibe. There are several options for dining and drinks, including The Great Room, which serves a traditional afternoon tea, and Bert’s Bar, which has live jazz every night. Light sleepers might be wary of a hotel that provides earplugs to muffle noise from surrounding bars, particularly in some ground-floor rooms. Rates are in the splurge range, but that’s to be expected from the only five-star hotel in the city center — especially one that sells haute couture shoes in the gift shop. Travelers wanting a cheaper boutique hotel in the city center might try The Fitzwilliam Hotel, which has funky yet very modern decor.

Ashford Castle

Ashford Castle Rating: 4.5 Pearls

Ashford Castle embodies the fantasy of the Irish castle hotel, featuring a massive historic stone facade, complete with towers and turrets; gorgeous, manicured grounds; a stunning setting on a huge lake; and common spaces that are truly grand, with rich wood paneling, chandeliers, and antique furniture. After such magnificence, the rooms can be a bit of a letdown. They still retain elements of their original elegance, but some have frumpy style and need renovations. George V Dining Room offers excellent, formal fine dining (jackets are required in the evening), and drinks and tea can be enjoyed in the graceful drawing room with lake views. The wide range of estate activities includes falconry lessons, boat tours on the lake, golf on the 9-hole course, clay shooting, and archery.

Sheen Falls Lodge

Sheen Falls Lodge Rating: 4.5 Pearls

Sheen Falls Lodge is arguably the top hotel in County Kerry. The 300-acre estate belonged to the Marquess of Landsowne in the 18th century, and the hotel -- opened in 1991 -- feels like a country manor house. It has a stunning setting on both Kenmare Bay and Sheen River, which has, as the name suggests, gentle tumbling waterfalls. The 66 rooms have classic country decor -- crown molding, cheerful prints (plaids and florals among them, in moderation), and soft yellow walls; all but one have water views. Estate activities range from clay pigeon shooting to fishing to tennis, and more traditional luxury hotel features include a lovely indoor pool, spa, and small fitness center. Formal fine dining is offered at La Cascade restaurant, while (slightly) less expensive dishes are served at the classy Restaurant Lounge. The sommelier hosts daily tastings in the wine cellar.

The Shelbourne Dublin, A Renaissance Hotel

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.

Granville Hotel

Granville Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls

The Granville Hotel is an historic property with traditional but well-maintained decor in the center of Waterford. The building has been a hotel for more than 150 years, and is popular with tour groups drawn to the old-fashioned ambiance and hospitality -- and the full Irish breakfast. Big groups sometimes overwhelm the one small elevator, and the hotel caters to an older crowd, but it provides an unmatched experience for travelers seeking a traditional place to stay in Ireland’s oldest city. Fun fact: The hotel bar is named for Thomas Francis Meagher, a 19th-century Irish nationalist who was born in the house and eventually became governor of Montana. For a traditional vibe near the water at a slightly lower price, try Dooley's Hotel, which lacks The Granville's history but has a pub with live entertainment.

Whites of Wexford

Whites of Wexford Rating: 4.0 Pearls

The 157-room Whites of Wexford is a local landmark and a piece of homegrown history in the heart of Wexford town. Modern renovations have transformed the property into an impressive contemporary hotel with sleek design touches and first-class facilities -- highlights include an excellent fitness center and a popular restaurant. Rooms are contemporary yet cozy, though wet-room showers can prove a little messy and car park view rooms should definitely be avoided. There is a big indoor pool, separate kids' pool, spa, spacious lobby with generous seating, and welcoming bar all on-site.

Royal Marine Hotel

Royal Marine Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls

The 228-room landmark Royal Marine Hotel was built to impress, and impress it does. Extensive renovations have balanced traditional Victorian refinement -- much of the original plaster work and stained glass remains -- with modern facilities. The location is not great for exploring Dublin, but the seaside suburb setting is a destination in itself, and the DART train to cental Dublin is within walking distance. Rooms are pleasant if not remarkable but include some nice luxury touches, and many have sea views. Travelers would be hard-pressed to find a four-star to challenge this hotel's history and class.

The House Hotel

The House Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls

This intimate, 40-room boutique is one of Galway's best upscale options, and has charm to spare, with a historic stone exterior and bold, quirky interior. There are few features to speak of -- no fitness center, spa services, or dedicated meeting rooms -- but the convenient location near the Spanish Arch and the heart of the Latin Quarter is ideal for sightseeing. Rooms have bright, stylish contemporary decor and upscale bathrooms with towel warmers and rainfall showerheads. The restaurant, The House Cocktail Bar & Bistro, is a local hot spot and serves modern Irish cuisine.

The Gresham Hotel Dublin

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.

Dates


Oyster Pearl Rating

  • Award-Winning

What's Your Style?

  • Historic
  • Luxury
  • Romantic
  • Value
  • Boutique
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Locations

  • Ballsbridge
  • Belfast
  • Bushmills
  • City Center North
  • Connemara
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Amenities

  • Air Conditioner
  • Babysitting Services
  • Balcony
  • Basic Television
  • Business Center
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Brands

  • Bewleys Hotels
  • Marriott
  • O'Callaghan Hotels
  • Relais & Chateaux
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