Our short one night stay at The Merrion in Dublin was, quite simply, outstanding.
This trip was for Hus’ birthday and the staff really pulled out the stops- we had an upgrade to a junior suite and gorgeous (and very tasty) cupcakes delivered to our suite. The staff were all amazing, fantastic customer service from the reception staff, porters, housekeeping, masseurs, waiters and waitresses.
The hotel itself is suitably grand and abundant with art- for an art lover this is heaven! The hotel offers complimentary audio art tours for hotel residents which allows you to explore the art at your own pace and on your own timetable. I would thoroughly recommend the art tour, it really brings the collection the hotel holds to life.
Our accommodation – a junior suite in the Main House
We were upgraded to a junior suite in the main house of the hotel. The suite we had (room #280) was incredibly light, spacious and spotlessly clean. The view was probably the one of the best views one could ask for – the parliamentary buildings. The bed was sumptuous and ridiculously comfortable – – we nearly missed our flight because I didn’t want to get out of it.
The bathroom was sizeable, classic and elegant. The bath was large but only one “good end” meaning 2 in a bath = 1 uncomfortable bather.
A large minibar and snack selection was available in the room (chargeable) but water and tea/coffee were complimentary and plentiful.
The Tethra Spa
We had booked a Tethra spa package which included the bed and breakfast room rate, champagne in the room on arrival and a 55 minute treatment at the spa each.
We visited the spa an hour before our appointments to look around, enjoy a swim, steam room and cucumber water.
Hus then had a men’s facial, scalp massage and head massage which he reported to be “amazing” and “very relaxing” (he fell asleep during it twice). I had a full body massage with a lovely guy (so sorry I don’t know his name!) who was wonderful- excellent pressure, really nice guy and gave us both mango sorbets after our treatments! What more could anyone ask for?
Bars and restaurants
We chose the cellar bar for lunch which had a brasserie style menu in a relaxed, busy, atmosphere. The food was okay- fairly casual and probably a better place to just grab a drink.
For dinner we dined at the Patrick Guilbaud which is next to the Merrion. Note – book this restaurant in advance- (I did so about 6 months in advance). Patrick Guilbaud is the only 2 Michelin star restaurant in Ireland. This fact alone explains why it was still so busy on a Wednesday night, when we visited.
On arrival we were greeted in an “arrival area” and offered a pre-dinner drink in the lounge area. The “lounge” was fine but certainly isn’t impressive. It does, however serve its function of being a place you can peruse the enormous wine list and look at the dinner menu. We asked the sommelier to pair our wines with our meals and chose a la carte options rather than the tasting menu.
We moved through to the restaurant after ordering our wine, appetizers and entrees. The restaurant is small in square space but has an extremely high ceiling which gives the impression of a very big space.
The service from our waiter was so-so. The maitre d’ however, was very good and saved it service wise for us at the end of the meal (see below!).
There was a LONG wait for our amuse bouche, although we were given our first wine which was due to be paired with our starter while we waited. After that service picked up.
The starter Hus had (quail egg) was a work of art and his favourite course. It sat well with the wine selected by the sommelier. The flavour of my oysters was to die for – so delicate and soft and they work very well with the cheapest glass wine option on the menu. I have been daydreaming about them since.
For entree we both had fillet with truffle – the meat was sizeable, beautifully tender and the truffle was rich, warming and extremely moorish.
We were full after this, given the richness of the food and reasonable sizes of the courses for a Michelin star restaurant. As such we held fire on any desserts, and were extremely thankful we did so as petit fours and a chocolate chest were swiftly brought over to our table. The petit fours were wonderfully presented and we were embarrassed to not be able to do them justice – and here is where the maitre d’ stepped in, remembering we said on arrival we were flying on to New York the next day, he asked whether he could box them up for us to take on our flight.
Throughout we thought the wine selections made were good (and not extortionate) but little was done to explain why those wines had been chosen to go with each dish.
Breakfast at the Cellar restaurant
In hindsight, I wish we had lunched at the cellar restaurant rather than bar. Here, again, service was outstanding. The staff really cannot do enough to help you. The buffet selection was excellent (I chose fresh fruit and some continental meats and cheese), and a large selection of interesting cooked breakfast. Hus had a full Irish breakfast which he enjoyed, and I tried a healthy omelette which I found surprisingly tasty given the fact I knew it was good for me! Excellent breakfast.
We were very sad to leave after this, but were set up well with full tummies, smiling faces and a relaxed state of mind!
Overall rating for the Merrion
Breakfast at the cellar restaurant: 4.5/5
Lunch at the cellar bar: 2.5/5 – salad was slightly tasteless but it was more relaxed dining so a good place for a casual lunch
Dinner at PG: 4.5/5 – half a mark taken off because of our waiters who could have been slightly more attentive
Service: 5/5 – porter service, reception area, housekeeping all at an outstanding standard.
Location: 5/5 ideal for the south side of Dublin and only 30 minutes from the airport (expect to pay around 25 euros for a taxi/uber)
Value for money: 4/5 – it is expensive but given the service, accommodation and amenities it’s worth it for a treat
Spa: 4/5 – treatments were excellent and a lovely pool but no jacuzzi