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The Clarence in Dublin relies on two important factors to generate business, firstly it was renovated in the 90s by a certain Bono from U2 and secondly it is fairly central and overlooks the River Liffey. We took the bus from Dublin airport to O'Connell Street and from their it was a 15 minute walk (with baggage) to the hotel. Myself and my partner has booked to stay here for 2 nights at a cost of 250 euros per night for a 'king size room with balcony' and were extremely excited about seeing and staying in the hotel. What a disappointment. Despite spending a fortune on the renovation, all that was achieved was a décor more akin to staying at Hogwarts. The communal areas of the hotel are very small and you almost feel like you're staying in a youth hostel. The 'Octagon Bar' was unique but again very small and very dark. We were hoping that the room would be the turning point but it was nothing more than a glorified premier inn bedroom. Yes it had the usual facilities (TV, Tea/Coffee etc) but the room was small and rather unspectacular. What wasn't made clear on their website was the fact that the front of the hotel overlooks the Liffey but all the balcony rooms are at the back of the hotel facing a nightclub. The balcony itself was a token bit of space and you could even look left and right into everyone else's balconies! Despite the price of the room, breakfast was not included and I was utterly appalled to learn that a full Irish breakfast would cost 26 euros each, that's £24 for a fry up! The Clarence should get rid of the penthouse suites on the top floor and open up a bar with views of Dublin for their guests to savour. Had Bono himself wandered into the Bar I would have been more interested in getting a refund than his autograph!
If your a fan of U2 or want to meet celebrities then this is definitely the place to stay! Situated on one side of the river and backs onto the trendy temple bar area, this has it's advantages and disadvantages. It can be a little noisy and although trendy temple bar is very popular with tourists and you may meet more US and English people than Irish. In my opinion the best bars and pubs for Irish culture are outside the temple bar area a short walk or taxi away. The benefits of the location are obviously the view of the river - which is beautiful and that it's near to everything you need. The staff are very friendly and happy to assist you, I had never been to Dublin and really didn't have any idea, they suggested places to go and even gave me free tickets to a gig as the band was staying at the hotel! The reception were fax and efficient on check in/out, they easily provided maps and were happy to book taxis. I have stayed at many hotels and feel that the staff here were really the best. Decoration was top quality and modern throughout the hotel and rooms. Obviously everything had been quite newly done, so the lifts, fittings and lights all worked efficiently. The rooms seemed to all had the same style furnishings, matching in with the modern clean look of the hotel. Basic layout of the room I chose was as follows Bed - not too hard and not too soft with good sheets and duvet Long desk with light chair huge mirror and TV - useful with reasonably sized TV although obviously you don't really stay at a hotel to watch television Table with 2 comfy chairs - good for eating and with a nice view of the river Bedside tables with lights clock and phone/fax - handy and the light switches were easy to find which is actually quite rare Large wardrobe with shelves, hangers and mini bar - this was very smart and painted purple inside to go with the modern theme. The mini bar was nicely stocked for a variety of tastes. Bathroom - nice clean yet simple design with cabinet, huge mirror, bath/shower, sink and toilet. The room had all the right little extras that come in useful, there was paper postcards envelopes pens pencils and information on the hotel in a smart folder on the desk. In the bathroom there were lots of free toiletries, nail file cotton buds soap conditioner shampoo moisturiser tissues shower cap - absolutely everything you might need and it even came in a silver gift bag. The hotel restaurant is popular so it is probably best you book if you want to eat at a busy time, if you do try it you will find out why. The food and service was good and I felt reasonably priced. The hotel also has a bar called the Octagon cause of it's shape, the drink mats are octagon as well, this is open to the public and located towards the back of the hotel. There are always seemed to be quite a few people drinking throughout the day although obviously more in the evening, again the staff are friendly and it's quite upmarket. When the bar is closed you can still order drinks and snacks in the lounge room, this is only for hotel guests but still often has a couple of people in. At 2am I was lucky enough to go to the lounge room and was amazed to find Bono and his wife, we didn't really want to interrupt as they were having a drink with friends but after a while we just had to go over and they were happy to sign autographs and shake hands with my friend and I. I stayed at the hotel over St Patrick's Day for 4 nights and when I'm next in Dublin will be staying there again, if you want luxury and the chance to meet the stars give it ago.
~ ~ This was a very old Dublin hotel which had become a bit run down and frayed around the edges over the years, but that has now all changed. ~ ~ The reason. Very simply, it was bought by Bono and the Edge from the band U2 a couple of years back, stripped from top to bottom, gutted, a total fortune spent on it, and turned into one of the Premier hotels in the capital. ~ ~ Everything about this hotel is class. From the staff, to the bars, the restaurant, and of course the guest accommodation. It has taken over from “The Shelbourne” as the stopping over spot for the stars and the rich and famous when visiting Dublin. And visit they do. As a taxi-driver in the “Fair City”, I have picked up many a famous face from this establishment. ~ ~ Be careful if they try to put you in a room at the back of the hotel. It is here in Temple Bar that U2 have their nightclub “The Kitchen”. It is part of the hotel complex, and if you are in a room near it I guarantee you won’t be doing much sleeping. I’ve picked up fares from here at eight in the morning!! ~ ~ If you are a dotcom millionaire or have just won the Lottery, then there are a number of penthouse suites available on the very top of the building. These are apartments in their own right, and have the most fantastic view out over the River Liffey and Dublin, and are the last word in luxury. ~ ~ The hotel is very well situated only a hop, step and jump from the city centre, and literally round the corner from Temple Bar, the Dublin night club and bar scene.