Buswells is an institution in Ireland strongly associated with politics being across the road from the Irish Parliament - Dail Eireann. I suspect that is part of the reason that never have I had any interest in staying there, and I assumed it maintained it's existence on the basis of being a political B&B.
But also the National Museum and the National Gallery are also across the road; it is a few hundred metres from Grafton Street and Trinity College, and convenient to the Luas light rail on St Stephens Green etc etc etc.
There is the quality of the location (if it's good enough for the famous Shelbourne Hotel around the corner -- it has to be a pretty good location)
And then there is the question of is what is like as a hotel? When you are used to a Generic International 4 star hotel offering that is virtually the same the world over; this was a breath of fresh air!
It's 3 star, and while some areas/features are a bit worn, most of the hotel has been refreshed/refurbished really, really beautifully and "comfortably".
I agree with criticisms that there are stairs and mini stairs everywhere, and that may compromise access for some, but it is in essence a very old Georgian townhouse, and the small rooms and narrow twisty corridors are part of that charm.
Over and over it reminded me of Agatha Christie's "At Bertram's Hotel"!
My doubleroom was shoebox in size. But it didn't matter in the least. Indeed for the first time in forever I could sit in bed with a computer charging from a side wall socket, and have my mobile phone charge on a bedside locker. I did not mind having just a shower instead of a bath - it's easier and safer to get into as well
The breakfast buffet looked a little mean - until you realise they actually take an order and bring it to you - and that means it comes on a proper warm plate!
I've seen people criticise that it doesn't have Air Con. In fairness in Ireland this is not really needed - really ever. I hate to see Air Con plants running constantly in hotels at massive cost to the environment.
What Buswells has are windows that actually open!
If it is a choice between being hermetically sealed and a window that opens I'd take a window every time.
Excellent bedding - really lovely and comfortable, great blackout curtains.
It's as if they ignored most of the so called "progress" in hotels in the last 40 years and concentrated on what was traditionally important - a comfortable bed and breakfast - with a really friendly staff.
THE STAFF DESERVE A SPECIAL NOTE. It's an easy friendliness they have, there is nothing artificial or packaged about it.
"Free" wifi is always great.
Finally, one outstanding point is the room water. It's not big brand 500ml still and sparkling that some "better" hotel brands have realised is a must. I think what they do is provide filtered water in their own brand glass bottles with flip cork lids. One way or another there was 1 L (or 750mls) of Still and the same amount of Sparkling.
It is the little things that matter....
One Caveat - I stayed here in Dec in Christmas season and perhaps that gives the whole package a seasonal lift that might not be there at other times of the year.
There were downsides - there has to be:
---Orange juice at breakfast was FCOJ and I think hotels - even 3 star - should have the real thing. An alternative would be a crushing machine. Most people would take the FCOJ for speed but there would be a choice offered.
---a little garnish on the breakfast would make it pretty and the fresh scrambled eggs (and it was evidently fresh) could have been a little better, but that is probably a matter of taste and the rashers were most definitely Irish and tasted real - like that had not been prepped 4 hrs before. I'd liven up that continental buffet with maybe Irish branded granolas/museli as opposed to Alpen/Rice crisps/ bran flakes .
---it's an old hotel - and I could hear the next room listening to Sky news at 6am, and someone doing sit-ups on the floor above - but simple solution: snuggle down under the duvet and I soon forgot it.
---Had a smoked salmon sandwich in the bar. It was fine but a bit pedestrian, which was a bit of a pity for what is essentially a national dish.
---I had a room at the back with no view - but I wasn't there to stay up all night pondering the streetscape....
If you can accept it for what it is - an old Georgian townhouse with tiny rooms and stairs, beautifully and comfortably refurbished shoe box rooms, I think you'll agree the building and staff deserves more than its 3 stars.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Buswells is centrally located, a short stroll from St. Stephen's Green, Trinity College, Grafton Street and many other visitor attractions. Relax and unwind after a long day in the busy city in our lounge. Complimentary Wi-Fi access in all bedrooms and public areas. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Buswells Hotel Dublin