Dublin has changed since your last visit. Recent graduates are no longer fleeing in search of work, while immigrant communities are rapidly expanding. Grand Canal Dock is now known as Silicon Docks thanks to all of the tech companies and startups that have taken over the area. Food used to be an afterthought; there are now more Michelin stars in the capital than in any other Irish city. Aer Lingus, based out of Dublin Airport, continues to add new routes (Minneapolis-St. Paul and Montréal this summer). Plus hotel options, once cheap or stuffy, have blossomed at the same pace as the Fair City.
Night owls should stay at the Dean. The hotel opened on popular Harcourt Street—known for its bars, clubs, and pubs—a few years ago. The six-story Georgian building has a hipster vibe. Its lobby, with concrete-slab ceilings and moody colors, feels like you’re entering a friend’s flat. Neon artwork by Tracey Emin hangs behind the reception desk. Clement & Pekoe coffee is available at the coffee bar, which later turns into the Dean Bar. Fifty-one well-priced rooms are upstairs. Though on the smaller side, they’re outfitted with Rega turntables, Marshall speakers, vinyl records, mini Smeg fridges, and Netflix accounts. Sophie’s, the rooftop restaurant, is above them. It offers wood-fired pizzas and sweeping views of the city. There’s another bar—complete with blankets, heaters, and trendy cocktails—up there, too. Sleep is obviously optional at the Dean.
Shopaholics will prefer the Westbury. The luxury hotel is in the Creative Quarter on the other side of St. Stephen’s Green. A single flight of stairs leads into the impressive lobby. With marble floors, a bifurcated staircase, a grand piano, and weekend jazz, it has a Great Gatsby vibe. WILDE, the plant-filled restaurant, feels like it comes from the same time period. Since its windows are usually open, there are blankets draped over the chairs, and gin and tonics at the ready. Afternoon tea is served by turquoise armchairs in the Gallery. A martini trolley rolls through the Sidecar bar. While tranquil rooms have cozy Sealy beds, Lissadell linens, and Blanc d’Ivoire throws. Heated floors, large bathtubs, and Aromatherapy Associations toiletries are in the marble bathrooms, as well. You’ll sleep very well at the Westbury.
Design aficionados will feel most comfortable at Number 31. This is a bed and breakfast with a boutique-hotel vibe. The classic Georgian townhouse sits on a quiet street near Fitzwilliam Square. Its ivy-clad door leads into a sunken living room, which has a black leather sectional sofa surrounded by modern art, a roaring peat fire, and an honor bar. A sunlit dining room is where family-style breakfasts (cranberry-orange nut loaf and scrambled eggs with smoked salmon) are served at a communal table each morning. While townhouse rooms feature ornate ceilings, French antiques, and big beds. Then a manicured garden leads to a second building. The rooms in the coach house are more colorful and modern. Regardless of your room preference, you’ll want to claim Number 31 as your personal pied-à-terre.
Now that you’ve found a hotel that fits your personality, it’s time to start looking into flights. Spring is the best time to visit Dublin after all.