Glass bathroom doors aren't private enough for some
Parking can be limited
The Beacon Hotel is a upscale boutique property brimming with glitzy touches in the southern outskirts of Dublin. Overlooking a junction in the Sandyford district, this contemporary property doesn't have the most attractive surroundings -- and there's nothing for the average tourist -- though local shopping opportunities abound. Its 88 rooms have a cheeky and trendy vibe, with many featuring soaking tubs for couples. The on-site Thai restaurant is one of the better and the posh bar makes for a popular venue at weekends. Overall, if the location isn't a deal breaker, it's a great pick for a treaty night away; travelers looking for a buzzy boutique experience in Dublin center, however, will prefer the cool retro vibe of The Dean.
Modern boutique hotel with fun, flamboyant interiors popular with couples
While its boxy modern facade reads more like an airport hotel, The Beacon's red carpet, funky chandelier, and assorted sculpted shrubbery at its entrance hint at the flamboyant interiors beyond. The lobby goes full-on quirky glitz, with a mix of seating from white retro plastic and white faux leather to an antique-style four-poster bed used as a makeshift couch. Translucent net curtains line tall floor-to-ceiling windows, while a full-length purple mirror and purple gauze pool table contrast with a front desk in plain natural wood. In short, this space is a full 180 from chain hotels. Just off the lobby lies a ritzy bar, breakfast room, and smart Thai restaurant with black leather booths. While some love the nightclub chic others find it a little gaudy, though it attracts both straight-laced business types as much as young couples on romantic breaks.
Overlooking busy junction in southern outskirts of Dublin
The Beacon Hotel overlooks a busy junction in the Sandyford neighborhood in South County Dublin on the outskirts of the Irish capital. Tourists will find nothing in the immediate surroundings of interest, with central Dublin's main attractions around half-an-hour drive away. The Luas green line tram stop is also less than 10 minutes' walk and connects to the center in 20 minutes. The hotel shares a complex with the Beacon Hospital, while a few minutes away by car is Dundrum shopping mall, the area's largest with over 200 retail outlets and a 12-screen cinema. Just off the M50, there's also easy access by road to Dublin Airport, taking about 30 minutes with good traffic.
Faux fur throws and sleek furniture set the tone, plus soaking tubs in some rooms
The hotel has 88 rooms decorated in all-white with fun design features including Philippe Starck transparent chairs, bamboo shoots, and beds with ornate headboards and ruffled faux fur throws. A purple scarf adds a random decorative element, though the overall feel is chic and contemporary. All rooms overlook either the road or courtyard parking lot; some top-floor rooms have views as far as Dublin Bay. Road-facing rooms can be prone to noise.
Amenities include 40-inch flat-screen TVs, tea- and coffee-making facilities, and minibars, plus laptop-sized electronic safes. Wi-Fi comes free of charge, and it's generally fast enough for video streaming. Bathrooms are chic and modern with walk-in rainfall showers and fancy White Company toiletries, though their glass doors don't allow for much privacy. Upgraded rooms add deep double-ended bathtubs, while the Penthouse features a sexy freestanding tub in front of floor-to-ceiling windows. Note that no all rooms are air conditioned, so summer evenings can get warm.
The Beacon's upscale, scene-setting features could be its greatest asset. In the morning the hotel's Crystal Bar serves as a breakfast room, offering a spread of continental items, including real honeycomb, plus cooked-to-order dishes such as pancakes and a full Irish breakfast. Breakfast is not included in standard rates, however. During the day, light bites and lunch are available, while by night it's a buzzy candlelit venue with a decent cocktail list; there's also an outside courtyard and the bar can get busy (even overcrowded) at weekends. For dinner the hotel's restaurant provides a swanky setting for an impressive menu of Thai dishes with an open kitchen. Free parking is available on-site, though spaces can be limited. There's no pool or spa facilities, however a modern gym, decked out with cardio machines, free weights, and TRX bands, is open 24/7. A bright meeting space with AV equipment is also on hand for business travelers.