When I walked into The Shelbourne Dublin, A Renaissance Hotel by Marriott in Dublin, I was greeted with champagne; surrounded by food, drink, and hospitality; and immersed in history including info on the celebrities that had visited there.
After my first few steps through the door, I noticed the glimmering chandelier, the high ceiling and the uniformed hotel personnel. To my left, a bar, to my immediate right, a tea salon (a little further down is another bar), and straight ahead, a restaurant. After being greeted with my initial glass of champagne, I entered further into the lobby and was served more drinks as well as banana bread while waiting for my room keys. Unfortunately, my first day at The Shelbourne Dublin was darkened by every traveler’s worst nightmare: our suitcases had been lost during our transit between Paris and Ireland. When I told the hotel personnel of my woes, they contacted the airport and proceeded to monitor the status of our missing valises for the next two days until they had been found and retrieved for us. On top of that, we had arrived earlier than expected so our rooms were not ready. Instead of having to wait in the lobby for a lengthy period of time with three jet lagged teenagers, they gave us a room for the day as a “waiting room”. My husband and I were relieved to have a place to put our carry-on bags; the kids, however, promptly went to sleep.
The Shelbourne has a long and proud history which is celebrated in a small museum room just off the lobby. The Irish Constitution was written at the hotel in 1922, and there are a suite of interesting historical documents on display relating to this event. Also on display is the green Givenchy dress that Princess Grace of Monaco wore on her visit to Dublin. The museum also contains other historical artifacts, photos, and some of the check-in logs of well-known people that have stayed there.
We had two rooms, one for my husband and I and the other with twin beds for the kids. I was immediately stunned by the two-room set-up with adorned couches and curtains; everyone else eyes’ locked onto the mini macaroons that had been laid out as a welcoming surprise. Our rooms consisted of a living room with couches, a T.V, and a large mirror and a bedroom that also had a tv and a bathroom. The bathrooms consisted of a walk-in shower, bath-tub, and a separate cubicle for the toilet. Both our rooms and the kids’ had a great view of St. Peter’s Green, the large park with a lake just across the street.
We ate at two different restaurants within the hotel: the tea-room, also known as the Lord Manor Lounge, and the Saddle Room. The Lord Manor Lounge offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as afternoon tea (which is what we were most excited about). Afternoon tea involves drinking tea (or coffee if you prefer), sandwiches, and lots of scrumptious pastries such as petit fours. During one breakfast at the Lounge, we were fortunate enough to witness a magazine photoshoot in the lobby! Models in vibrant dresses and outlandish hats were posing on the staircase and by the door. We weren’t allowed to take pictures since this was a high fashion photoshoot perhaps destined for the front cover of a prestige magazine but it made for an entertaining breakfast. The Lord Manor Lounge also served one of the most exquisite dinners that we had on our two-week vacation. The way the meal was served was not done in the traditional appetizer, then main course, and finally dessert order. The three courses were served all at once on a wooden tray but with smaller portions that didn’t leave you feeling uncomfortably stuffed by the end of your meal. The choices for food were either exotic, such as the tasty thai chicken and rice, or typical Irish dishes, such as the tangy Eton Mess (meringue cream with fruit and lemon at the bottom).
We only got to eat at the Saddle Room for breakfast during our stay but still, they were great breakfasts. There were an excellent spread of cold cuts, cheeses, pastries, fruit, and hot dishes such as scrambled eggs and black pudding (a traditional dish not meant for the squeamish or vegetarian). We did look in at the evening meal in the Shelbourne Saddle Room and my husband in particular, wanted to get in there for some of the raw bar delicacies.
The Saddle Room Restaurant, has an open kitchen, an intricate and intimate setting, with dark oak walls, leather banquettes and numerous alcoves with mirrors and splashes of gold. The food is based on steaks and seafood with emphasis on Irish products.
Some of my other favorite places in the hotel to dine, drink, unwind, and relax with a nice cocktail were in No. 27 Bar & Lounge and the Horseshoe Bar. Both are very popular with fashionable locals and attract a smart crowd as the word day winds down. What a fun bar!
The spa and fitness centre is not to be missed one of Dublin’s largest indoor hotel pools and gym sit next to the calming spa at The Shelbourne with its exquisite traditional style relaxation room lie in your bathrobe and look up to ornate ceilings and chandeliers while you relax. My husband and I took advantage of the spa for massages and the kids and my husband made a series of visits to the gym weight and machine room.
The Shelbourne Hotel has a longstanding history of being one of the best five star hotels in all of Dublin, and I would have to agree. It is centrally located across from St. Stephen’s Green and is within walking distance to Grafton Street for some shopping.
Disclaimer: The Shelbourne Dublin kindly hosted our stay at a reduced rate. This is solely my personal opinion/experiences.