By Stef Schwalb
The first time I traveled to Dublin, Ireland, I was celebrating my 30th birthday and one of the places we visited for drinks during my first evening in town was the Morrison Hotel. I remember being impressed by the elegant surroundings and excited about the great vibe that came from the bustling bar scene we encountered there. That was 2001. Returning to town again for the tail end of another celebrated event – this time a wedding (though not my own) – I had the privilege of indulging in the full Morrison experience.
[center]The Morrison Hotel Lobby[/center]
First of all, what always makes or breaks a trip for me are the people you meet wherever you go. The staff at the Morrison Hotel is top-notch. They made me feel right at home. They were accommodating and always full of great suggestions about where to go in town and how to get there. My timing was just right for a stay at the Morrison, since the hotel has recently undergone a large refurbishment program – â‚¬15 million to be exact. Additions include business and conference amenities, a design-led landscaped courtyard garden, a private art gallery and 48 new rooms and suites. The ground floor area, which includes the Morrison Bars and the award-winning Halo Restaurant, has also been revamped to incorporate an open grill-kitchen with quayside entrance. The Café Bar is a great place for cappuccinos or cocktails in the afternoon or early evening, and the food at Halo is simply sumptuous whether you are enjoying breakfast, lunch, dinner, or my favorite, the all-day Tapas menu.
[center]The New Open-Grill Restaurant with Quay-Side Entrance[/center]
The overall hotel décor is chic and contemporary, highlighted by blond oak furniture and fittings throughout. It is already renowned internationally for its exquisite John Rocha interior design and is so “in” with the in-crowd that it was selected to play host for the inaugural Dublin Fashion Week this past October. For my stay, I checked out one of the new bedrooms, which I found luxurious in a sophisticated and understated manner. The bed was extremely comfortable with a soft duvet, plenty of pillows and Frette linens. The bathroom had an Asian-fusion feel for design with the big, beautiful bathtub that was so great to relax in after a long day of city walking. The complimentary fluffy bathrobe and Aveda toiletries were a nice touch, too. What really took my breath away when I walked into the room was the Apple Mac Plasma Screen situated on the desk. It had surround sound, an iPod docking station, and complimentary broadband service – talk about top-notch technology! (As an aside, complimentary wireless communication is also available to guests in the lobby).
[center]A New Bathroom in one of the New Bedrooms[/center]
Another Morrison perk is access to the nearby and hugely popular Ivy Fitness Centre, which may not be used as frequently come February when the Morrison unveils its latest amazing addition – a spa that will offer treatment rooms, Turkish baths, Jacuzzi, a meditation room, a yoga room and assorted relaxation areas. (Since everything comes in three’s, I will definitely have to return to Dublin once more in the near future to check this out. As another side note: the spa will be located on the lower level of the hotel, which was the site of its former nightclub, Lobo).
But else what makes me so sure that the Morrison is the perfect place to stay in Dublin? It’s not just the great qualities of the hotel itself – it’s also the location. It’s in the heart of the city, overlooking the River Liffey, which is just a brief walk from several entertainment venues, bars, restaurants, museums, shopping and sites, all of which you come to Dublin to see. To check out and check in to the Morrison Hotel yourself, log on to www.morrisonhotel.ie for more information.