Located a three-minute walk from each other, The Merrion and The Shelbourne hotels are Dublin’s grande dames. To determine which is currently superior, we stayed at both. At the end of our trip, we tried a contemporary hotel located south of the city center.
We have recommended The Merrion since the late 1990s, and the property has long been a member favorite. Its 142 accommodations are divided between four restored 18th-century Georgian townhouses and a newer Garden Wing overlooking a courtyard. The interior design of the hotel is impeccably stylish without being oppressive; the staff displays a corresponding balance between friendliness and formality.
As we had arrived before the check-in time, we decided to head to the Garden Room for lunch. Added in 2018, the bright greenhouse-style restaurant overlooks a landscaped courtyard centered on a life-size bronze sculpture of James Joyce. With its casual wicker furniture and soft lighting, the space feels relaxed. A meal of roast cod and herb-crusted rack of lamb, followed by a decadent salted-caramel chocolate tart was delicious from start to finish.