Ask anyone to name a classic old Dublin hotel, and it’s likely it won’t be long before The Westbury meets their lips – it’s no small feat considering that the hotel in the center -ville first opened in the early 1980s.
art from the Doyle collection, with several hotels in Ireland, England and Washington DC, the five-star hotel vibe is old school splendor meets art deco glamor – with a touch of modern luxury – all , combined with its coveted position right at the epicenter of Dublin’s shopping and nightlife, makes it a popular choice for home visitors and overseas travelers.
Arrival & location
Tucked away in a tributary of the always bustling Grafton Street, closing the bustling shopping street and seeing The Westbury is akin to the joy of getting off a crowded suburban train. A stream of taxis line up, waiting to drop guests in the large square out front to a soundtrack of sparkling glasses from al fresco diners at Balfes, one of the hotel’s two restaurants.
Inside, we first confuse the concierge desk to the right of the entrance for check-in before a helpful member of staff guides us up the hotel’s iconic central staircase to the vast gallery on the first floor. Overlooking Grafton Street, the space is a haven of comfortable sofas and chairs; the mix of relaxed guests and Saturday shoppers enjoying afternoon tea creates a pleasantly lively atmosphere upon arrival. I see my husband timing the potential of a quiet pint before dinner on one of the canapes. 9/10
Service & style
Registration is efficient, even if it is a small business. However, I hear the couple next door giving us a slightly more lively welcome with little extra information, including a recommendation for a cocktail later at The Sidecar bar (more on this gem later).
Service for the rest of our stay was on point, with plenty of staff on hand whenever we needed them. What I like most is that the overall vibe is a far cry from the homogeneous hipster havens that have sprung up in the capital in recent years, with no bulb on display in sight and lots of awesome Irish art (including pieces from Sir John Lavery and Louis le Brocquy) hanging on the walls rather than prints for rent at the Ikea. It’s old-school but modern and user-friendly at the same time … a difficult balance to strike. 8.5 / 10
The reason for our visit is the hotel’s new luxury suites with terrace, recently added to the renovated fifth floor. These face the rear of the hotel, overlooking Clarendon Street, with views of the rooftops to the west of the city. The main selling point of the suite is the patio itself. Spacious, with two seating areas, several radiators and plenty of blankets to relax in, it is a true outdoor oasis.
Inside, the suite is spacious and opulent, with all the luxuries you would expect at this price. Giant bed with luxury linens? To verify. Separate lounge area with art deco cocktail bar and Nespresso machine? To verify. A marble bathroom with two sinks, a walk-in shower and a claw-foot tub with its own television? Massive control.
But while all the amenity boxes are well and truly ticked, the muted and avant-gray color palette feels a bit too corporate and, despite its terrace, we can’t help but think that the rest, with its pretty louvered French shutters, is a bit on the dark side. It would also be nice to see the hotel stock up on Irish-made bathroom products and provide a more sustainable option for single-use miniatures. 8.5 / 10
We dine at Wilde, the upscale alternative to the more casual Balfes downstairs. We sit in the restaurant’s veranda, where the floor-to-ceiling windows allow us to spend much of our meal watching the comings and goings of the main square. The food is delicious, with a Clare Island salmon entree and herb-crusted lamb chops that stand out – and the service can’t be faulted. After dinner, we go to the Sidecar, the hotel The brilliant– an art deco cocktail bar, where mixologists in white tuxedos serve top-notch drinks.
The next morning, we opt for a late breakfast just before the generous 11am deadline. A tasty whole Irish and Egg Benedict hit the mark, and although we didn’t take advantage of it, I see another couple having take out coffees – a nice touch for those planning a stroll through the city center on a Sunday morning. 9.5 / 10
The bottom line
As for city center hotels, the Westbury’s location is hard to beat for those who want to be close to shopping and nightlife. There’s a lot to love about the opulent-style interior, including the excellent restaurants and bars (Dubliners, The Sidecar is well worth a visit if you’re looking to ramp up the glam factor on a girls’ night out).
The lack of a spa or pool is something I always feel in a hotel, and while our terrace suite lived up to expectations, I felt the possibilities to use it were limited (the bar does order service. floor). Perhaps a one night package offering dinner served on the terrace would allow guests to fully enjoy this magnificent space?
If you are staying in a Terrace Suite, order breakfast to your room and enjoy your Irish outdoors al fresco with a side of the cityscape.
Just steps from the front door is one of my favorite pubs, McDaid’s. Take a seat outside and one of the best pints of Guinness in the capital.
Rooms start at the Westbury from € 295. Guest rooms in a terrace suite are available from € 660 for two, or from € 720 with dinner included in Wilde.