A Georgian grand dame just off St. Stephens Green in downtown Dublin, the Merrion has been around in one form or another since 1760, when it was a set of four stately homes owned by English nobility. Today, it is elegance incarnate. An excellent art collection—by the likes of Dublin-born Cubist artist Mainie Jellett and Irish post-impressionist painter Paul Henry—hangs in fire-warmed, chandelier-lit drawing rooms. Upstairs bedrooms have big sash windows overlooking the city's 1920s-era government buildings. The basement bar is moodily romantic with its arched stone ceilings and cave-like nooks built into the 18th-century wine vaults. Since opening in 1997, the Merrion has hosted Dublin’s most famous visitors: Bill Clinton, Barack and Michelle Obama, Rihanna, and Bruce Springsteen.
The formal, flower-filled courtyard is the perfect place for a sunny afternoon drink. If it’s raining, retreat to the green-walled Bar No. 23 for a snifter of Irish whiskey in a leather club chair.
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Just off St. Stephen’s Green in one of the world’s best-preserved Georgian quarters, the Merrion is a short walk from sights like Trinity College, Grafton Street, and Dublin Castle. It’s around the corner from O’Donoghue’s, a local favorite Dublin pub for pints of Guinness and live traditional Irish music.
Need to Know
Rooms: 123 rooms, 19 suites. From $260. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The formal dining room, Patrick Guilbaud, holds two Michelin stars and serves up dishes like peanut- and cocoa-infused foie gras and rabbit flavored with lemon and licorice. Book its red-walled front room for private dinners for up to 30 people. For fancified pub grub—like fish and chips with minty mushy peas—try the basement Cellar Bar. And afternoon tea comes with a bounty of crustless sandwiches, scones and clotted creams, mousses, and sponge cakes. Spa and gym details: At the Tethra Spa, the small basement facility, therapists administer facials and massages using ESPA and Darphin products. The gym, which has an Italian marble steam room, is open from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the week and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. There’s also an 18-meter indoor pool.
Who’s it for: Luxury travelers looking for history and convenient access to downtown Dublin. Our favorite rooms: Rooms in the original building have more character than those in the newly added Garden Wing. Splurge on a suite: The two-floor penthouse suite has a rooftop terrace with Dublin and Wicklow Mountain views, and the Lord Monck Suite has original rococo plasterwork and views of the gardens. Midday bargain: From January to November, score a three-course lunch in Patrick Guilbaud for just 50 euros a head.