When you arrive at The Dylan you could be forgiven for thinking you have stumbled into the lair of a Bond villain. At the entrance to this neo-Gothic mansion, in an upscale corner of Dublin, stands a phalanx of doormen who, as well as having impeccable manners, look as though they know how to feed secret agents to a tank of piranhas.
Happily, the door does not lead to a megalomaniac's missile control room. Inside, plasma screens jostle for attention with 7ft armchairs in which lounge Dublin's beautiful people. This airy lobby leads to an adjoining bar with a vast curved zinc counter.
A leather-lined lift glides up to the 44 bedrooms, which have been the subject of a £18m makeover with the naked ambition of making The Dylan the Irish capital's glitziest hide-away. Just be sure to smile nicely to the guys on the door.
Each of the bedrooms has been meticulously equipped for relaxation with a memory foam bed and Frette linen, from which a plasma television can be viewed. Some of the rooms tend towards cosy dimensions but they are bright and airy.
The food and drink
Tuck into Dublin Bay prawns or try the local roast venison. Expect to pay about €65 (£50) per head without wine.
There is wheelchair access to the swish bar and restaurant and one room has been adapted for guests with disabilities. Children are welcome.
Doubles from €235 (£180).
The Dylan, Eastmoreland Place, Ballsbridge, Dublin 2 (00 353 1 660 3000; www.dylan.ie).