We were very fortunate to spend two nights at one of Ireland’s most famous, and luxe, hotels this March: The Shelbourne. Situated in the middle of City Center, The Shelbourne is walking distance to nearly everything you’d want to visit in Dublin.
Everything about the Shelbourne indicates luxury and a five-star stay, but we also really loved how they seamlessly incorporated the history of the building with modern luxuries and conveniences. Once you walk into the hotel you immediately pick up on its vibe and point of view. Stunning crystal chandeliers hang from the ceilings and there are ample fireplaces throughout the lobby, creating cozy little nooks for guests. One of our favorite things to do was to get a glass of wine and sip it by one of the cozy fireplaces pretending to be ladies of leisure.
They keep a small museum in the lobby celebrating the hotel’s storied 200-year-old history. (It was opened in 1824). It’s where the Irish Constitution was drafted in 1922 and the hotel also has historic guest registers on display, photos and letters from famous guests. Fun fact: Both John F. Kennedy and Princess Grace have stayed at the hotel, meaning you’ll be able to have a stay fit for royalty.
At reception, we were greeted with a fresh glass of lemonade and then were shown to our room. Our bathroom was stocked with luxury Elemis bath products and had a full shower and a free-standing bath. The hotel stocks the bathroom with bath salts if you want to soak, which is a nice touch.
Our room was gigantic. Not even just gigantic for a Manhattanite (I could probably fit four of my apartments inside our room), but objectively large. The bed had fine linens and the comfiest mattress and pillows you could ask for. I absolutely sunk into it after a long day and night exploring the city and its pubs and it made it all the more harder to get out of bed in the morning.
We secretly loved that every person we met in Dublin would give us a knowing look after they asked where we were staying and we responded in unison, “The Shelbourne.” I can’t tell you how many times local Irish men were impressed with our choice of hotel, and usually responded with something along the lines of “Of course you two are staying at the nicest hotel in Dublin.”
We loved the location and rarely took taxis anywhere. On average, we racked up 8 miles a day in walking to all of the museums, monuments, churches etc. Just a few blocks away is Grafton Street, which is home to Dublin’s best shopping.
Across the street from the hotel is St. Stephen’s Green, a beautiful park that we went on daily morning runs in. For those who prefer other forms of exercise, The Shelbourne has a wonderful gym and swimming pool and also offers workout classes such as spinning, tabata and pilates. There are also swim-focused classes if you prefer to be in the water.
Their bar room was one of the prettiest bars I’ve ever been in. High ceilings with chandeliers that looked like they were dripping diamonds are throughout. The most intricate crown molding lines the walls and there are cozy fireplaces. We made it a habit to have a glass of wine here each night before heading out.
One of the activities we did at The Shelbourne that we would highly recommend, even if you end up staying elsewhere, is their Afternoon Tea. Shelbourne is considered to have one of the best Afternoon Teas in Dublin. They host it in their Lord Mayor’s Lounge, which has comfy oversized upholstered chairs and large windows letting in the sunshine. For two hours you have a choice of unlimited teas (our favorite was the strawberry and cream blend) and you have savory tea sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam and an array of the most beautiful desserts (raspberry macaroons stuffed with jam and cheesecake or salted caramel mousse, anyone?)
They have a number of seatings, but this is what we recommend. Book the 3:00 seating, sightsee all morning, skip lunch and have tea instead. Better yet, pair it with their champagne or a few glasses of wine, like we did. Be sure to book this well in advance if it’s something you’re interested in experiencing as it does fill up weeks in advance.
Shelbourne’s breakfast was such a highlight each morning. They host it in their Saddle Room and it includes a hot and cold buffet where you can find all the items to make a traditional Irish breakfast (eggs, bacon, sausage, blood pudding, mushroom, tomatoes), a selection of fruits and yogurts and pastries, etc. They also have a menu you can order omelettes, eggs benedict, French toast and other breakfasts from and a range of delicious juices. We started each day with a healthy breakfast to fuel us up for hours of walking around Dublin and hitting up all of the museums. We also loved that they had a full juice bar offering.
For those looking for a little pampering, The Shelbourne has a beautiful spa and a new salon where you can get blowouts before a night out. The spa offers everything from couple’s massages to waxing and facials. The salon was super chic and soothing. All white with a beautiful embellished fireplace and classic feel. Their blowout menu features styles that emulate Grace Kelly, Brigitte Bardot and Jackie O, among others.
The staff at the hotel are super friendly and attentive. Whether it came to making sure our tea was always immediately topped off or turn down service each night complete with chocolates bedside and slippers laid out, it was truly five star.
Looking to book a trip to Ireland? Make sure to check out our complete Travel Guide here.