Echoes of Georgian style sound from throughout the artfully decorated Merrion Hotel in Dublin’s city centre. Generous sitting areas are lit by crystal chandeliers. Lyrical flower arrangements pop up in silver and crystal vases. Modern furniture silhouettes are wrapped in vintage print fabrics. The design is elegant and relaxed, familiar yet unexpected—as though guests were visiting the home of a friend who had made subtle and personal updates after inheriting the property, still wanting to retain the history and nuances put in place by its previous owners.
This has much to do with the hotel’s history. The five-star property, designated as a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, is made up of the Main House—an amalgamation of four historic 18th-century townhomes once inhabited by Irish nobles—and the more contemporary Garden Wing. It would be easy to stay in the hotel for nearly half the year, playing Goldilocks with the 123 rooms and 19 suites, and still feel as though there were more to learn from its hallowed halls—especially considering the ever-evolving nature of the hotel.
This June alone, the Merrion launched an audio guide to accompany its private collection of 19th and 20th century art, considered among the largest collections in Ireland with more than 90 works. It will take some time to absorb the thoughtful brushstrokes of Irish painters Martin Mooney, Roderic O’Connor, and Mary Swanzy, which line the path from the Merrion’s Drawing Rooms, where afternoon tea is served daily, to the two Michelin–starred Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud where refined French cuisine beckons.
For a more relaxed dining experience, the Merrion’s newly opened Garden Room serves contemporary Irish cuisine in a bright, airy space with floor-to-ceiling windows and a courtyard garden. Guests can dine garden-side while the gentle splashing of a nearby fountain plays through courses of freshly baked Irish sourdough bread, Clare Island organic salmon, and popcorn ice cream. Those seeking a night cap can choose between past and present—the Cellar Bar’s 18th-century wine vault setting harkens back to an earlier time, while the Bar No. 23 cocktail lounge exudes a more modern atmosphere akin to that of a private club.
The Merrion’s part-now, part-then pedigree offers enough intrigue to lure any guest back for another stay at this Georgian treasure.
The Merrion Hotel, Merrion Street Upper, Dublin 2, Ireland.
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