24-Hour Room Service: The Westin Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Saturday 12 March 2005
The Westin Dublin is the kind of hotel where you feel comfortable as soon as you pull up outside. Not because of the fires you can see glowing away inside, or the plush furnishings. But because, despite being part of a huge global brand, the Westin feels very rooted to its location. Not only are its split-level library suites named after William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde, but the doorman is more likely to put you at ease with a joke than make you feel as though your shoes are about to soil the carpet.
The feeling is reaffirmed during the Sunday afternoon jazz brunches in the hotel's glamorous Exchange restaurant. As you sit back and soak up the Irish cookery, from fresh seafood to roast beef or a helping of whiskey-laced bread and butter pudding, the staff will do their best to keep you indulged. The building, too, is a bit of an architectural buffet, with two distinct sections. The first was a former supplier of caps and gowns to Trinity College and a station for the Royal Irish Constabulary, before being remodelled in Romanesque style for the Scottish Widows Insurance Company. The second housed the Royal Irish Institution and then the Allied Irish Bank. The hotel hasn't tried to merge the two but lets each tell its own story. What was once the bank's vaults is now the sunken Mint bar.
The Westin Dublin, At College Green, Westmoreland Street, Dublin 2, Ireland (00 353 1 645 1000; www.westin.com/dublin). Within easy reach of Trinity College and the Guinness storehouse
Time to international airport: it takes around 30 minutes to get to the airport. By taxi it'll set you back around €20 (£14), by bus just €6 (£4.30).
The Westin Dublin has recently introduced a "heavenly" range - be it a bed, a shower or a bar of soap, the idea is that it should be the best available. While the rooms have that chain hotel nod towards blandness, they are saved by some interesting pieces of furniture - mahogany beds and Grecian-style lamp bases among them.
Freebies: the toiletries were a little on the runny side, but the range is good.
Keeping in touch: Each room has fax and modem facilities, a satellite TV and a number of phones.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Doubles start at around €180 (£130) per night, without breakfast.
I'm not paying that: Try Phoenix Park House bed and breakfast at 38-39 Parkgate Street (00 353 1677 2870; www.dublinguesthouse.com). Rooms boast plenty of traditional Irish touches and doubles start from €66 (£47).
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