Escape for a traditional city break at the luxurious Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin
Dublin faces stiff competition in the running for a European city break with the likes of Paris and Rome only a short flight away from London. However, whilst it may not boast as many world-renowned historic sites, the Irish capital is ideal for those seeking a relatively peaceful city retreat that has a twinkle in its eye.
The flight is approximately an hour from London Heathrow and Aerlingus offer regular flights throughout the day. For those seeking a luxury getaway, The Shelbourne Hotel is arguably Dublin’s most popular and plush five star destination. The building has long been considered a national treasure and after undergoing an extensive refurbishment, the interior boasts a beautiful finish that is lavish but also maintains traditional appeal. Whilst the rooms are in line with what you would expect from a top hotel, the huge marble bathrooms are a notable feature.
The hotel is ideally located overlooking St Stephen’s Green, which is in an upmarket area of Dublin. It provides the perfect base to spend a couple of days hiding away from the usual hustle and bustle of a city. You can relax in the magnificent spa or pop out to browse the nearby shops and enjoy a delicious dinner.
Although Dublin is not a fashion capital, Brown Thomas on Grafton Street will satisfy high-end designer shopping needs and this department store stocks most of the top labels, including Victoria Beckham’s latest collection. A wander through nearby Trinity College afterwards is also recommended as the serene surroundings allow you to contemplate your thoughts of the day.
If you have never tried Guinness in Ireland, then it is impossible to pass judgement on the famous stout. In which case, a trip to O’Donoghues, located a stone’s throw away from The Shelbourne, is highly recommended as this traditional pub not only offers the best Guinness in town but also hosts live Irish music. Just down the road is Il Secreto, which is a particularly popular restaurant among socialites and the media crowd. The food is excellent – particularly the scallops – and the wine list presents a good selection of red, white and champagne.
Private members’ clubs are few and far between in Dublin; however, Residence is diagonally opposite the hotel and accepts guest bookings for dinner. For those who are less adventurous and would rather stay wrapped up in the luxury of the hotel, the fashionable Horseshoe Bar and the Saddle Room Restaurant are both sophisticated dining areas within. If you want to venture out to enjoy the nightlife, Lillies Bordello (opposite Brown Thomas) is the city’s most elite venue and regularly attracts a cool A-List crowd, including the likes of Bono.
For those embarking on a short city break, the highlight of your stay is likely to be time spent enjoying the excellent spa facilities at The Shelbourne. Guests are welcomed by a candlelit fireplace and a grand area to relax whilst selecting a treatment. The choice of facials, body wraps and specialist eye treatments is extensive and will ensure you leave feeling revived. If you want to sample multiple treatments, a half day visit is recommended and during this time you can also visit the steam room, sauna and swimming pool.
The highlight of the spa has to be the beautiful post-treatment relaxation room that overlooks St Stephen’s Green. Here, you can unwind with a green tea and healthy fruit snack, recline on a bed and watch the world pass by whilst overlooking the busy streets outside.
So, if you are looking to sneak away to enjoy a calm and luxurious city break, a weekend trip to Dublin and a stay at The Shelbourne Hotel will be just up your street.