Hard Rock International is celebrating its 50th anniversary, which seems like a good time to visit one of its newest hotels – a Dublin edition at Temple Bar.
ve always had preconceptions, and possibly misconceptions, about Temple Bar. The cynic in me had almost dismissed the area as a flashy tourist trap, negating local interests for the lure of foreign visitors.
But having stayed at the Hard Rock – which opened here in February 2020 – I can see a side that tries to embrace Irish culture and music, not deny it.
A constant theme throughout the channel is of course the infusion of music into all aspects of your stay, but there is a huge Irish focus here, as well as the jaw-dropping traditional acts that adorn the walls of the reception, rooms and even the escalators. and Rainbow Bridge connecting the two main areas of the hotel (it’s very Instagram friendly – if you’re into that sort of thing).
Arrival and location
Located at 18 Exchange Street Upper, the Hard Rock Hotel is on the corner of Temple Bar, near City Hall. This leaves the action of Temple Bar nearby, but also feels better for a good night’s sleep.
From the moment you walk in, the theme of celebrating rock’s legacy messiahs is evident — memorabilia from acts such as Janis Joplin, Nirvana, and U2 (of course) are inscribed on the walls of the lobby.
The Hard Rock name and brand is clearly based on legendary artifacts from a bygone rock ‘n’ roll era, but there are a few nods to pop – with a Beyoncé t-shirt and jacket Justin Timberlake from their concerts in Dublin as well.
Guardians of “real” music might wince at the inclusion of Timberlake alongside Kurt Cobain (one of his jerseys is on display), but expanding the visitor demographic makes sense.
After some initial confusion about the rooms, we were greeted by a warm reception and told of the main features the hotel has to offer – namely the music facilities and the Zampas Bar & Restaurant. 7/10
Service and style
My first thoughts when it comes to city hotels are: small and cramped. Hard Rock real estate defies that. The hotel seems well staffed and someone is almost always on hand to help you with anything you might need.
He also has an undeniable sense of style. Opened just a month before hospitality closed due to the February 2020 pandemic, it still feels classy and ostentatious and there’s plenty of room for social distancing. 7/10
If you’re looking for a modern experience on one of Ireland’s oldest streets, you’ve come to the right place.
Having only opened its doors two years ago, the rooms and decor of the Hard Rock Hotel are modern and clean. We stayed in a superior twin room on the fourth floor, and instead of buttons and switches, we found touchpads for lighting and room temperature.
The celebration of musicians and artists has continued – think of works featuring Jimi Hendrix, The Edge or Phil Lynott on guitar – and the color palette is bright and contemporary.
Attention to detail is a key feature of the rooms — from the “Sound of Your Stay” playlist on the TV to the embroidered guitars on the pillowcase and the upholstered shamrock-shaped headboard.
Our room had no view and instead faced an apartment building, which was the only downside to the experience. It may be worth requesting a view when booking, although prices may vary. 7/10
The food was the star of the show during our stay.
The hotel’s bar and restaurant, Zampas, serves “Peruvian food and drink with a distinctly Irish accent,” according to sales and marketing manager Stephanie Hayes. South American flavors, combined with tangy cocktails, create the perfect atmosphere for a Saturday night girls’ aperitif or a large gathering of colleagues.
I opted for the chimichurri Irish chicken wings with grilled lime and coriander as a starter (€9.95), followed by a dish of O’Flynn’s smoked lamb tomahawks with yellow chimichurri sauce and roasted hazelnuts (€27.50 ). – 7.5/10
The bottom line
While the musical memorabilia is a clear calling card of Hard Rock, the real winner for me was the exciting restaurant with solid Irish fare served with a spicy, invigorating twist. If you are looking for a dinner that will leave you full but want more, this is the place.
Music lovers will be able to go out and discover Dublin’s most remarkable artistic places just a few steps away. Just outside the door is the 3Olympia theatre, while further up Wexford Street you can enjoy the famous Whelan’s (known to all music lovers as the place to perform) and wander the streets where Glen Hansard’s Once was filmed.
Continue the musical theme by stopping at Rory Gallagher Corner in Temple Bar – look for the replica Fender Stratocaster near the sign!
Doubles start from €269 per night. Siún was a hotel guest. hardrockhotels.com