Where to stay in Dublin

Drop in on Dublin's grande dame or stay in style at Terence Conran's in the Irish capital.

The Fitzwilliam Hotel

What's so special

When it opened in 1998, the Fitzwilliam was one of a new breed of designer hotels with interiors by Sir Terence Conran, says Ruth Jackson. Now celebrating its 14th year, it may not be at the cutting edge of design any more, but it still offers a fantastic location (overlooking St Stephen's Green Park) and a stylish stay.

How they rate it

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The Fitzwilliam has "arguably the best location in Dublin", just moments from the shopping whirl of Grafton Street, says Laura Ivill in The Sunday Times Travel Magazine. The 139 rooms are contemporary and sleek with all the usual mod-cons. But for a truly indulgent stay, book the "huge two-bedroom penthouse suite with leather-lined walls, shag-pile rugs and a grand piano", says Cond Nast Traveller.

The menu

The Michelin-starred hotel restaurant, Thornton's, is a "big draw", says Ivill. For less formal dining, try the Mediterranean cuisine at Citron. Dishes include lobster tortellini and peppered salmon with duck-egg crme brle.

The cost

A double room costs from £145, room only. For more information, visit www.fitzwilliamhotel.com, or call 00 353 1 478 7000.

The Shelbourne


What's so special

Since first opening its doors to guests in 1824, the Shelbourne has become a Dublin institution. It has played an integral part in Irish history in 1922 the Irish Constitution was drafted in room 112. Located close to Grafton Street, the hotel is convenient for the city centre.

How they rate it

"Dublin's grande dame" underwent an extensive renovation in 2007, says Cond Nast Traveller, but "has kept much of its historic charm". It may be part of the Marriott Group, but it has nonetheless managed to retain "its own highly individual character", says The Daily Telegraph.

There are "uniformed doormen, a gloriously gilded lobby and extravagantly accoutred rooms". The rooms are all "comfortable and very well equipped, featuring soft and sensitive dcor, spacious bathrooms and large flat-screen TVs". The hotel will take a further stride into the 21st century in autumn when the new spa is set to open.

The menu

The Saddle Room serves a delicious breakfast. It also offers everything from "steaks to enormous seafood platters in the evenings", so make sure you arrive hungry.

The cost

A double room costs from £204, room only. To find out more, visit www.marriott.co.uk, or call 00 353 1 663 4500.

Hotels with impressive gardens


Here are a few of the best hotels with impressive gardens, as tipped by Aoife O'Riordain in The Independent.

"Few hotels can rival the setting of the Parador de Granada, which is set within the magnificent Alhambra Palace," says O'Riordain. This Spanish hotel is set in the former 15th-century San Francisco convent and looks out over rose gardens and the Generalife pleasure gardens. Doubles from €330 (Parador.es).

The terrace at Villa Cimbrone in Italy teeters on a 1,600ft drop to the Tyrrhenian Sea. "It is the crowning glory of the spectacular gardens that surround this 12th-century villa near Ravello." Doubles from €360 (Villacimbrone.com).

Prieur Notre Dame d'Orsan in Maisonnais, France, is a former 12th-century monastery with "outstanding" gardens. Seven "tasteful" bedrooms enjoy views of the grounds, including a cloister, meadow, orchard and herb garden. Doubles from €395, half-board (Prieuredorsan.com).

"A heady scent from 42 varieties of roses greets guests at the Argentikon Estate (pictured) on the island of Chios" in Greece. Built in 1550, the estate offers eight suites and five villas. "The formal Ligurian-style gardens take their inspiration from the celebrated Villa Hanbury on the Italian Riveria." The grounds include orchards with orange and lemon trees and a large pool. Doubles from €390 (Argentikon.gr).