IN A city that already boasts a hotel run by a rock star, it was only a matter of time before someone would have the bright idea of putting another of Ireland's leading exports, fashion designer John Rocha, to hospitable use.

For the O'Regan brothers' recently opened pounds 18m project, the Morrison hotel, Rocha - who hails from Hong Kong but has made Ireland his home - has collaborated with the hotel's architects to design an East-meets- Ireland look, with a mix of native Irish raw materials and specially commissioned furniture, all merged with his own Oriental influences.

The result is a lofty space of dark oak, artfully displayed flower arrangements, signature velvet striped cushions and an overall feeling of just-so-ness. You almost feel you should be walking around barefoot so as not to disturb the aura of simplicity and tranquillity - as one of the guests was when I visited.


The Morrison Hotel is at Ormond Quay, Dublin, Ireland (00 353 1 878 2999, fax 00 353 1 8782999, e-mail:

Transport: Ormond Quay is in the centre of Dublin, overlooking the River Liffey and Ha'penny Bridge, about 20 minutes' drive from Dublin Airport. There is a reliable bus service from the airport; for IRpounds 3.00 (pounds 2.60) it deposits you at Connolly Station, a short walk from the hotel. Trinity College, Temple Bar and all the major Dublin landmarks, plus numerous bars and restaurants, are within walking distance.


There are 90 bedrooms, including the penthouse; a further 35 bedrooms, a roof garden, spa and fitness centre are set to be completed early next year. Rooms are luxurious yet spartan. They feature dark wood, modern art, floating orchids and elegantly arranged star fruit. The beds are large and flanked by John Rocha-designed lamps, with crisp white linen and velvet throws that beg to be worn rather than serve as mere decoration.

Keeping in touch: The usual satellite channels, plus a pay-per-view film channel. All rooms have personal stereo systems with CDs available on loan from reception. ISDN, fax, modem link-ups and e-mail are all available by arrangement.

It's all in the details: The hotel directory answers most questions on Dublin. Under the letter R (for recommended reading), rather than S (for spelling), there is a list of suitable material to peruse over a pint of Guinness. Just don't wander into the nearest Waterstones looking for Edna O'Brien's At-Swim-Two-Birds; try looking under Flann O'Brien instead.

If your name's not down: The Morrison bar and its giant chessboard has already become a hangout for hip Dubliners - despite the no-trainers policy, which is a little incongruous in a city lauded for its non-suit-wearing music and film industries.


Superior rooms cost pounds 175 per night (inclusive of government tax). A full Irish breakfast will set you back an additional pounds 12.50, or you can opt for the Japanese Breakfast, which includes salmon sashimi, for pounds 16.