Tired of industrial chic and mid-century reboots in city hotels? You’ll love this gorgeous Georgian
Not so long ago, Dublin city was a thriving metropolis of craic. It’s where tourists flocked, to diligently ogle the Book of Kells, drink Guinness and buy leprechaun hats, and locals got their kicks from the nightlife and arts scene. It’s where commuters and delegates arrived and had water-cooler conversations, work spouses, open-plan commerce and takeaway sandwiches.
Strip all of that away and what is left of a capital city in a time of covid? Shuttered pubs, restaurants that store details of what you eat and clothes shops where you can’t try anything on. But look closer and there are still many reasons to visit the city, and without compromising on public safety (you know the drill: frequent hand sanitising, mask-wearing and two-metre distancing).
Visits to museums and art galleries can be pre-booked online, which is far more convenient than joining queues on the day anyway. Take your pick of quality cultural hubs: The Little Museum of Dublin, Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLi), Gallery of Photography, Kevin Kavanagh and Kerlin galleries, Hugh Lane, RHA, the National Gallery of Ireland and many more. Factor in autumnal rambles around St Stephen’s Green, Fitzwilliam or Merrion Squares, steaming keepcup of Kaph coffee in one hand and a Umifalafel wrap in the other (the latter preordered via an app, obvs). Socially distanced cinema at the IFI and Lighthouse. And lest we forget those vital services: hair salons and eyebrow studios.
So, really, you’ll need overnight stay to get the most out of even an abridged Dublin. Step forward the recently opened Trinity Townhouse, which is from the same stable as Kenmare’s beautiful Sheen Falls Lodge and spreads across three Georgian terraced properties on South Frederick Street.
Opening a hotel during a global health crisis is rotten luck, but with just 31 guest rooms and an enviable aspect on an historical side street between Molesworth and Nassau, Trinity Townhouse’s fortune will turn in its favour in the long run and justify the €3.5m refurbishment.
This heritage, boutique hotel is a far cry from the rash of “playful” city crash pads, where interior design is dictated by Instagrammability rather than ergonomics. It’s grown-up, classy, romantic, and feels rather more like a pied-à-terre than a hotel. Artwork is sourced by Gormley’s next door and volumes of books, from novels to humour to fine art, line mantelpieces, nooks and crannies.
There’s plenty of space in the antique-style wardrobe for a suitcase, keeping the room devoid of clutter. Indeed, Narnia could even have been lurking beyond the tucked-away ironing board
My Deluxe room fronted South Frederick Street, inviting tricks of light through its tall, sash windows (there are also ‘Cosy’, ‘Classic’ and ‘Super King’). Honeyed and zesty hues were at once restful and invigorating, and in keeping with the period. It was also refreshing to have an actual wardrobe, as opposed to a clothes rail or coat hooks, popularised by the likes of the Ace hotel, whose cost saving measures – sorry, industrial aesthetic – means having a handful of crumpled outfits forever on display while everything else is shuttered in luggage.
Industrial chic has no place in a heritage property, obviously/thankfully, and there’s plenty of space in the antique-style wardrobe for a suitcase, keeping the room devoid of clutter. Indeed, Narnia could even have been lurking beyond the tucked-away ironing board.
My other hotel bugbears were thankfully nonexistent: a decent hairdryer (WITH NOZZLE) plugged at a dressing table (WITH MIRROR); large-size Ritual toiletries instead of single-use plastic minis, and a perfectly sized jug of fresh milk in the fridge, instead of odious, throwaway units of room-temperature UHT.
There’s no on-site restaurant, although, with so many places on Trinity’s doorstep, there’s no need: Dunne and Crecenzi is literally a few footsteps’ away, and relative newcomer, the scrummy Allta, is just around the corner, with the rest of D2 and D1 beyond. In lieu of a Full Irish served in a communal dining room, a light breakfast can be preordered and delivered to your door in a cardboard box containing a healthy juice, a piece of fruit, homemade granola and fresh yogurt with accruements (honey, blueberries).
Dublin city businesses need our support now more than ever, and Trinity Townhouse offers great value for an urban getaway that’s full of character and class. Rooms start at €110, and there’s a three-nights-for-the-price-of-two “Staycation in the City” offer this autumn, with rates from €120pp including a continental breakfast box delivered to your room each morning.
Read more: What we learned from our summer staycation
Read more: As the debate around “green lists” persists, we should all be asking ourselves what “essential” travel really means
Read more: Irish self-catering boltholes to book into this summer