- Introduction: An English Summer
- Selecting between the British & Irish Visa
- Review: JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar
- Review: AI 131 Mumbai to London Heathrow, Business Class, Boeing 787-8
- Review: Plaza Premium Lounge, Arrivals Area, London Heathrow Terminal 2
- Review: London Marriott Park Lane, Deluxe Room
- Review: Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, View Room
- Restaurant Review: Dishoom London
- Review: InterContinental Dublin, Junior Suite
After spending 4 days in London and splitting our stay between the London Marriott Park Lane and Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, we headed off to Dublin. We flew in on British Airways’ CityFlyer from London City Airport to Dublin in economy seats, for a total of 4500 Avios per person. That was a deal compared to the 200 GBP the airline was asking for tickets that weekend per head and allowed us to get about 3.5 INR/ 5 US Cents value per Avios.
Our trip this time was planned around the U2 concert, one to tick off our bucket list. And while U2 were touring and performing all across Europe & North America we figured that there wasn’t a better place to watch the Irish band live than in their very own home town Dublin.
We arrived in Dublin the day before the concert and took an UberBlack to the hotel. Apparently, the only Uber operations in Dublin can be of licensed limousine operators, so a swanky Mercedes S class turned up. We had a very chatty chauffeur, and a knowledgeable one too. He brought us to the hotel in about 20 minutes. The benefit of riding with a chatty Uber driver was that we got free lessons in Irish history, heard about some untold U2 stories and he showed us some great places to eat in the neighbourhood.
We had booked an Executive room for the weekend at the Intercontinental Dublin using Ajay’s InterContinental Ambassador free weekend night certificate all the way back in January. Since it was a special weekend, we were open to spending cash and the InterContinental was pricey back then as well. However, divided over two nights, it was a good deal for a sold-out weekend.
This hotel was formerly a Four Seasons property that was flagged as an InterContinental in 2015. IHG did minor tweaks to the hotel, however, it largely looks as it though it was still the Four Seasons. In fact, at couple of places in the hotel, the Four Seasons logo is still prominently displayed.
As the car pulled in through the front gates of the hotel it made me feel like I was arriving at an Estate Chateau. The Victorian building featuring red brick architecture and a front lawn with a fountain running resembled a mansion. There were long corridors at the entrance with benches to sit on.
I hadn’t read up anything about the hotel hence did not really know what to expect but as soon as I entered through the front door, I was expecting a great stay ahead.
As soon as I entered there was a large wooden table with an elaborate flower arrangement. Just above the table, a magnificent chandelier hung from the ceiling. The crystal chandelier along with the rich color tones of Red, Blue and Gold added to the grandeur of the lobby.
While Ajay was busy completing check-in formalities I noticed a small docile bull dog sitting quietly under a table on one side of the lobby. The dog lover that I am, I promptly asked one of the staff if it was ok to pet the dog only to see her smiling at me. It was not a real one she told me, and many more of these are placed in different places across the property. I was assured that I’ll encounter more of them giving me those sloppy looks at me during our stay.
I found it a bit amusing given that the hotel only welcomes guide dogs and bull dogs by no means are a popular breed for service dogs. Nevertheless, after that I was always on the lookout for dogs in the hallways, gardens and other public spaces in the hotel. I did manage to spot 3 of them around the hotel.
At check-in, we were advised that we had an upgrade and the room allocated to us was still getting prepared. To make the wait comfortable the lady at check-in invited us to the Lobby Lounge where we could have a drink with compliments of the hotel and make ourselves comfortable while the room was being prepared for us.
We made ourselves comfortable on sofas that overlooked the hotel’s private garden and ordered for some Prosecco. The lounge is beautiful, furnished in Blue and Gold. There was a reading room on the right side of the lounge and a restaurant and bar to the left.
After some 30 minutes, the duty manager came to meet us. He apologised for the delay and then threw in the surprise subtly by telling us that our Junior Suite was now ready and we could head up to the fourth floor. I was gleaming ear to ear with the suite surprise. He seemed to know it was our anniversary and wanted to make it special for us. This was more than the 1-level upgrade assured to Ambassador members.
The Junior Suite
Our suite was located on the right towards the end of the hallway, which was done in plush purple carpet. The lifts opened into a small floor lobby that had arm chairs and a table. We walked up to the corner to be able to access our accommodation.
The entrance to our suite was through a small foyer that opened into a bold living room. The duty manager had mentioned that our suite had been newly renovated and the 600 square feet of space was furnished beautifully in color tones of purple and gold. I have no complains because the suite was at least 4 times the size of our hotel rooms in London.
The living room had a sink in sofa with a glass table in the center. Right in front of the sofa was a flat screen television.
Towards the wall side on the left end there was a work desk with plug points. There was also a jogging map placed on the table. It laid out the street plan of the uber neighborhood and the directions to follow if we wanted to go for an outdoor run.
As a part of our Ambassador amenity, a fruit platter and some sweet treats that included dried figs, handmade cookies and an assortment of nuts were placed on the coffee table.
For me the most comfortable spot in the living room was the day chair by the window. It looked out into the front garden and had a view of the city with a glimpse of the Dublin mountains in the far back ground. Just the perfect place to sip my coffee and watch the world go by.
Other facilities in the room included a heavy-duty Nespresso machine with a variety of coffee flavors to choose from. A well-stocked minibar and flat screen television in the living room.
The bedroom, that comes through the sliding doors right behind the living room was luxurious. There was a king size bed and an Ottoman. The wall had design motifs in Gold colour. A large wooden table and chair that could double up as a work desk and a dresser stood on one wall end. The television was in a corner on the wall. What flummoxed us was there were no windows in the bedroom , making it slightly dingy for those who appreciate their natural lighting.
Just behind the bedroom there was a large walk-in closet. The safe was housed here. There were ample drawers, hanging space for clothes and lots of space to open our bags all at once.
The bathroom was done up in white marble and had a bath tub to soak in. There was a nice shower cubicle and the toilet was in a separate enclosure.
The hotel uses L’Occitane bathroom amenities which is one of the most luxurious French amenities, also a favorite of mine.
The suite was spacious, furnished beautifully without overcrowding any of the rooms. The purple and gold hues gave the entire suite a regal look and feel. There was stylishly carved wooden furniture. The view from the room was breathtaking. I would have been happy just spending time inside the suite.
By the time we settled in our room it was already evening and we did not feel like going out. So we plonked ourselves on the sofa, ordered some room service and watched a movie in the room.
I ordered for a tomato basil soup that came with an assortment of breads and Ajay went for a pizza that was accompanied with a side of Caesar salad. The food was hot, tasty and the portions reasonable.
Next morning, we stepped outside the hotel for breakfast. Breakfast was not included in our rates. The day was bright and sunny and we took it as an opportunity to explore the neighbourhood and grab a bite at a local café.
The hotel is located on Simmons Court in the Ballsbridge area which is the most affluent neighborhood in Dublin. Passing by the posh bungalows and row houses in the area it was evident that the area is home to rich Dubliners. It is a beautiful, quiet residential area tucked away from the city’s tourist spots like Trinity College and the Temple Bar.
In a kilometer radius we found lots of nice local cafes and restaurant. Though one that stood out for us was the The Orange Goat, a quirky little family run café that served up delicious breakfast.
The famous Aviva stadium was ten minutes on foot and we mostly walked around the city from the hotel.
The InterContinental Dublin is one beautiful hotel with several leisure facilities. I could spend hours reading a book in the private gardens overlooking the restaurant and lounge lobby. Too bad, on this trip, there was not enough time.
The Whiskey bar located next to the lobby lounge houses the world’s largest collection of Irish whiskey. They have over a 100 different Whiskey brands with 69 Irish Whiskeys. Too bad again, we never got to try any of these given our limited time inside the hotel.
There is an indoor heated lap pool and a separate soak in the whirlpool that overlooks the private patio. Adjoining the pool is a state of the art gym.
The spa at the hotel is managed by ESPA and the menu had a variety of massages, skin care and body rituals available.
The one part of the hotel we really wanted to try but could not was the Seasons Restaurant. We managed to get our breakfast outside the hotel at the same café both days. On Sunday, we saved our appetite and made a reservation for the Sunday Brunch, which we had heard a lot about. However, with some pressing work issues, we could not really make it to this Brunch, which also had a dash of live Jazz music to go.
The staff at this hotel are a real asset. Every single person we interacted with was warm, professional and attentive. When we arrived at the hotel the bellboy came promptly to help us with our bags, the staff at check-in was courteous and helpful. The bellboy who came to drop our bags in the room was professional and a chatty young man. Once he learned that we were in Dublin for the U2 concert he promptly shared his experience of the concert he attended in London the week before and gave us some tips on how to prepare ourselves for an evening at the Croke park in Dublin.
The staff proactively offered a 4pm checkout, and when we called in at 2:30 pm on the day of departure to confirm, they reassured us that we could stay till 4 pm. Not just that, the crew automatically knocked off the second night’ s rate on the stay. Some hotels try and average the prices for the night, however, these guys did the right thing.
What was surprising however was the protocol the hotel maintained for this trip. I would assume when they figured out it was our anniversary, they’d send in some sort of a piece of cake or something to mark the occasion. Not me being greedy, just that this is the protocol we observe at hotels around the world when they know a special occasion was being celebrated. Here, nothing more than a handwritten card.
All in all, I have nothing but positive feedback about the hotel employees and I must say that the hotel service standards are as good as luxury Asian hospitality.
We booked an Executive room at the Intercontinental Dublin and used our complimentary weekend night certificate. When we tried booking, The room was priced at 455 EUR/ USD 545/ INR 35,000 on the first night and 495 EUR/ 595 USD/ 38,000 INR on the second one. Our 2 nights stays at the Intercontinental Dublin cost us 455 Euros.
Undoubtedly, this is one of the best IHG hotels I have stayed at. The hotel architecture is beautiful, the staff super nice, the suite I couldn’t wish for more space. While many travelers are apprehensive about the location of the hotel, for me the quiet residential area easily accessible to the city center worked just fine.
As far as value for money goes, for a 2 night stay we paid under 500 EUR and stayed in a luxurious suite. I would call it a steal deal for a sold out weekend in the city of Dublin, especially when a Holiday Inn Express in the city centre was going for over 200 Euros a night.
Have you stayed at the Intercontinental Dublin? Share with us your stay experience.