This hotel is now the Best Western Academy Plaza, and I stayed there in March 2012.
The best thing it has going for it is the location - just off one end of O'Connell Street and a short or medium walk to pretty much everything in the city centre.
Otherwise, it is a fairly standard chain hotel. My room was quite small (it was a bit of a squeeze to get round the end of the bed) and it only had a very small window as it looked over an internal courtyard.
The room was clean and the décor fine, as was the bathroom and despite the compact size of the room, the furniture had been done in a smart way to store my belongings. The bed was comfortable and for the most part the room was quiet and I couldn't hear my neighbours.
The staff on reception were very friendly and helpful. Breakfast is cheaper if you order it in advance - the full breakfast is pretty much all you can eat. It's ok, but I'd be disappointed if I bought that at a café so if you are happy to wait until you are out to eat breakfast, I would recommend that.
Overall, it met the standards I would expect from a chain hotel well.
If visiting Dublin to get to your hotel use the air-coach which departs from the airport every 20 min or so. They are cheaper (depending on your hotel about Euro30 cheaper) and quicker than a taxi. The stop you want for this hotel is O'Connell st. The hotel is then a short walk from this stop (about 2-3 min away).
This is a 2* hotel with 100 rooms.
This is the hotel I used the second time I went to Dublin I wasn't all that impressed with it. This was despite the close proximity to the main shopping areas and to some of the main attractions such as the Jameson distillery and Dublin Castle. Both of which are well worth a visit. If you do visit the Jameson distillery when they ask for voulenters at the start of the tour - go for it. The thing you voulenteer for is to take part in a whiskey tasting at the end. Whilst everyone over 18 is offered a measure of Jameson the whiskey tasting is more fun.
The room at the hotel was quite small and due to the large amount of scafholding outside it was dark in the room hence the light had to be used during the day in the middle of the summer also the building work started quite early each day. The scafholding also ment the window could not be opened properly so the room was unbarerable hot as the air con also did not work. However, this renovation work may now be finnished so this may no longer be a problem.
The walls to the room were fairly thin and you could hear the conversations going on in the next room. On the plus side they were clean, serviced daily. All rooms are on suite, although the bathroom was rather small. There was also the usual tea and coffee making facilities, TV and direct dial phone.
There was no safe in the room and the electricity in the room kept going off until I read the book like thing on the desk saying that your room key had to be put in and left in the slot on the light switch to put the electricity in your room on. Although an admarble way of saving electricity it was rather annoying to begin with.
The restraunt was small and half of it is laid out for breakfast the next morning even at 7:30 pm. Hence there is no way all the guests could fit in. The menu was fairly large but it was rather expencive (main course started at Euro16) for what it was. When I used the hotel restraunt on my first night there was only one person serving so it was quite slow even though there were only four others at the same table there. There is room service available but this does cost an extra charge (about Euro4 when I was there)
Naturally as it is in Ireland there is no smoking in the public areas of the hotel. As a non-smoker myself I never enquired whether you could smoke in your rooms.
The staff on the front desk were helpful and friendly and are happy to arrange taxis etc for you.
Recomending the hotel has a yes as I would not say avoid the hotel as the hotel was clean etc and the problems I had due to the renovation work may have been resolved due to it's compleation but I have stayed in better.
review also on ciao under same author
Added Aug '09:
Whilst the above was my experiance of the hotel so will not be changed I have been reliably informed that the refirbishment work has now been finished hence the problem of the scaffholding is no longer an issue.
Having been to Dublin a number of times with my best friend, and listening to her rave about how much she loved the place for years after each trip, there was only one possible location for the hen do I was asked to help organise for her. Dublin is a fantastic location for a hen party, with bars a-plenty and hundreds of Irish men who are all the more eager to talk to you when you're in a pub dressed in fluffy devil horns. The hen do in question was last weekend, and it was great fun - helped largely by our decision to book into this fantastic hotel.
The Academy Hotel is owned by Best Western, and it has a 4* rating. Its location just of O'Connell street is perfect for shopping, but slightly less perfect for Temple Bar, which is about a ten minute walk up O'Connell street and over the Liffey. Having said that, we were really happy with the location even though we intended to go out in Temple Bar - a taxi is easy to come by and relatively cheap at about Euro8 after 11pm.
When you walk into the lobby area of the hotel, you immediately see just what kind of a place you're in - the lobby and lounge are spacious and modern in shiny white with black accents. There are a couple of free-to-use Apple Macs opposite the reception desk, and a lounge area complete with squashy black leather chairs between the reception and the lift. The lobby looks beautiful and modern, giving high hopes for the remainder of the hotel.
The reception staff couldn't be more helpful - we used them a few times over our stay, booking taxis, arranging late check out times and enquiring about spa treatments, and each person we came into contact with was polite, knowledgeable and pleasant - even though we were probably not their ideal clientele, being a group of hens in fancy dress.
Even the lifts on the way to the rooms are impressive - mirrored, with a chequerboard shiny floor, they're a well-thought-out touch - a girl has to check her hair one final time on her way out, after all!
The bedrooms we had were fantastic. Memory foam mattresses, huge double showers, a wall-mounted LCD TV (complete with chargeable internet access and a wireless keyboard), great lighting (with almost too many options), and - a bit of a geek point for me - enough visible plug sockets to plug in my hairdryer, straighteners and my phone charger! The rooms were spotlessly clean.
The beds are almost criminally comfortable, and come with wall-mounted squashy faux-ostrich skin headboards, the fluffiest pillows you could ever dream of (I'm very much a two pillow girl at home, but one was more than enough here) and a huge fluffy duvet. Getting ready for a night out after a long day and a hangover took a lot longer than planned with beds this good!
The hotel's facilities include two restaurants, neither of which we tried, for one main reason - they are very pricey! There is also Harry's Bar and Bistro, which we had a couple of drinks in. It feels very much like a typical hotel bar, albeit a well-lit and comfortable one, and it is priced as you would expect a hotel bar to be - not particularly cheaply. We suffered a lot because of the exchange rate, having picked the worst weekend in the history of the pound-euro rate, but even so, it was about the same prices as the most expensive of the Temple Bar pubs (which are not pleasant at all).
Also on site they claim to have a spa. Further probing helped us to establish that they in fact have a treatment room and one beautician, who doesn't work Sundays. Not ideal, then, for our party of four who each wanted two treatments... on a Sunday. But I must say, the treatments list was very extensive, and actually very reasonably priced. Had I been there with my boyfriend or just one other person, I definitely would've been more tempted!
Having had my two minor whinges, I'll go on to completely ignore them. If you want a hotel for a reasonably priced bar and its spa, then this, and most other hotels in central Dublin probably won't be ideal for you. If you want great service, an incredibly comfortable bed, a gorgeous room and a little bit of luxury, then I'd definitely recommend you try this place out.
We paid £100 for each of our twin rooms, which could easily have slept three people because of the one double and one single bed in each. Doubles were £90 each when I booked, and I found these prices on lastminute.com