Finally got caught up from my trip to Dublin and really want to share the experience we had at this hotel for anyone making plans to Dublin and considering hotels.
This property is truly remarkable.
We stayed 9 nights during the week of St. Patrick's Day in Dublin. Having arrived early Saturday morning on a connecting flight from Paris, I wasn't sure if they would have a room available, but they did (thanks Nolan!). I had requested a "quiet room with a view" (as I am sure we all do), and they gave me a great room on the top (4th) floor. This was important to me as I'd read in other reviews that the hotel could get noisy with wedding parties, etc. The quiet and location of the rooms away from the main wedding/meeting/reception areas is exceptional - don't be fooled, its a very quiet hotel.
Parking is complimentary, great as we had a rental car from DUB for the entire time. I concur with other travelers on 2 fronts: don't drive in Dublin proper (as you get nearer the central city, its a zoo) and the hotel is a bit outside of the main areas that you'll most likely be sightseeing. We walked into the central city on days 1, 2 and it is actually about a 25 minute walk to Ha'penny bridge (for example). There is a bus stop right near the entrance of the castle itself, but that's not the one you want...keep walking down Castle Avenue and follow it to Clontarf Road and pick up the bus near the intersection with the traffic lights. Buses come about every 10-15 minutes, and the fare to central Dublin is 1.67 EUR per adult. This takes about 20 minutes (+ 5 minute walk to the stop) so basically the same amount of time. If you choose to walk, do follow Clontarf Road and don't curve along the waterfront (continue straight through the lights) otherwise you end up in the shipping/industrial section of town, not too pleasant. We also took the taxi a couple of times back to the hotel from central Dublin, and the fare was about 15.00 EUR - not bad. There also seemed to be taxi's available for pickup at the hotel driveway whenever needed -- we actually called for a taxi on 2 occassions (once to go to the airport, the night before the other to go into central Dublin) -- they both arrived within minutes of the receptionist hanging up the phone, so its very convenient.
Back to the hotel. Our's was a standard room - probably about 250 sq ft and was perfect size for 2 adults. This hotel appears to have been renovated maybe 3-5 years ago, so everything in the room is fairly new, modern touches (American's you'll be very comfortable, no worries). There is a mini bar in the room with all of your basics, a regular shower and tub (with a separate handheld head) and a little desk and small coffee table.
All throughout the property they have done a great job of adding historical photographs, artifacts, tapestries, etc. - you will love it! The building itself is comprised of the original castle (lobby and front area, partial Knight's Bar/Fahrenheit restaurant) and the surrounding space is all the new construction (meeting rooms, guest rooms, fitness center, etc.). Bring a camera, as this property is incredibly camera-worthy day or night.
There is a small business center area with 2 internet-capable computers (free of charge, 24 hours) which we used to print directions, keep up on email, post pics to Facebook, etc. and pay our E-Flow toll for driving through the M-50 ($4.00 USD each time you cross it).
We dined about 6 times in Knight's Bar, which seemed to have a balance of tourists/hotel guests and local's from the neighborhood (the castle is surrounded by residential homes), a really neat mix and very cool atmosphere. Its casual, pub-style. If you enter from the hotel side, keep going around the corner, past the bar to the other side, there is a huge fireplace and big screen TV's, etc. and a bit more room. The food was good each night we dined there and the beer's...nice and cold! I ordered the chicken panini sandwich on the first night (which was blah) but every other meal was great.
We dined once for breakfast and once for dinner in Fahrenheit (upstairs from Knight's Bar). I was quite surprised that it was fairly empty both times. Our dinner was spectacular (Irish Angus Beef Steak) and service was great. This space is very cool, large and open and lots of nice touches that really make it a romantic atmosphere. I think its location on Level 2 might be a bummer for the hotel as its actually a nice atmosphere. They offer a breakfast buffet in the morning which was 10 EUR per person (and included authentic Irish breakfast options). There is a neighborhood market area about 10 minutes walk with a grocery store, ATM machine, and a couple of restaurants -- we did not go into them, but at least its an alternative.
I also used the fitness center, which was a basic room with standard equipment. If you are a jogger, this hotel is in a perfect location -- at the end of Castle Avenue on Clontarf Road is a long park that lines the harbor, lots of joggers, walkers, bikers, etc. great atmosphere.
The interaction we had with every staff member in every department was truly authentic and kind. The evening desk staff are quite warm and helpful, and Nolan at the front desk was extremely helpful and courteous (checked us in, and out on departure as well).
i can truly see why this place was so busy (both the hotel and the meeting space as well). It is incredibly charming, quiet and you almost feel like you have the castle all to yourselves given the atmosphere and the kind staff. I can't thank everyone at Clontarf enough for making this vacation truly memorable and rewarding.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Celebrate, chill out, or relish in a little of both. Clontarf Castle Hotel in Dublin, Ireland is a perfect blend of a boutique and luxury hotel, providing unique style and exceptional service in comfortable surroundings. This unique luxury hotel in Dublin is well thought out from the guests' point of view by providing a modern aesthetic built around an ancient form. Located just 10 minutes from the heart of Dublin City Centre and 5 miles from Dublin Airport, the Clontarf Castle Hotel in Ireland is an oasis, tucked away in a tranquil setting, surrounded by fabulous golf courses and the sounds of lapping waters from the Irish Sea. ... more less
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