Open since June 2021, this marked the first outpost outside of the UK for the design-focused aparthotel brand Locke, which is part of the Edyn group. The aparthotel occupies four Georgian townhouses on the site of a former nightclub, to which it owes its name.
Where is it?
On Ormond Quay Lower facing the River Liffey and the pedestrianised Ha’penny Bridge. It’s a stone’s throw from the lively Temple Bar area, with cobbled streets filled with bars and live music.
What's it like?
The hotel has a Georgian brick façade that’s typical of the quay, with large windows that look into the café and restaurant. The entrance is via a large gate on the right-hand side, which takes you into an industrial-style covered walkway with brick walls, a filament light installation and a pastel pink sofa.
The building has been restored and developed by Dublin-based interior design studio O’Donnell O’Neil Design and C+W O’Brien Architects, and preserves the original character of the building – exposed brick walls and beautiful arched windows – while also introducing contemporary artwork, custom-made furniture and greenery.
There are nods to Ireland throughout – bright key cards, by Dublin-based illustrator Claire Prouvost, include the phrase glac do shaunmhmeas (take it easy.) The ground floor is home to a leafy conservatory-style reception, which includes lounge-style seating, a café and co-working space, restaurant Baraza and an open-air courtyard.
Check-in was quick and Erica at reception was warm and welcoming. Guess need to provide an email address to receive a secure wifi password. There is a contactless check-out at 11am – or €10 extra for a 1pm check-out.
There are 160 apartments from the entry-level City Studio at 26 sqm to a Duplex suite at 85 sqm. All feature calming pastel colour schemes, wooden floors, Scandi-style clean lines, a bespoke L-shaped sofa, contemporary artworks and exposed brick walls along with gold fittings and fixtures.
The studios also feature a (largely transparent) pink divider curtain from the bedroom area to the living room, and dimmer light switches so you can set your ideal lighting. Amenities include a fully fitted kitchen, a Smart TV with Chromecast, a king-size bed (or twin on request), fast wifi, a safe, hairdryer, iron, a yoga mat, bathrobe and slippers, and a workspace/table.
There are also tea and coffee-making facilities, fresh milk in the Smeg fridge and large Kinsey Apothecary toiletries. We were staying in a Locke Studio (room 230 on the second floor) which is expansive and has two large arched windows overlooking the River Liffey. The downside with the street-facing rooms is you have to take the lift to your floor then enter the stairwell via the fire exit – not the most appealing introduction to a room.
I enjoyed working from the coffee table, sandwiched between the two arched windows, with everchanging riverside views preventing writer’s block. The sockets, however, are quite far from the table.
Housekeeping takes place once weekly, but you can request extra cleaning. The first floor has a laundry room with washer-dryers, bins and extra bin bags. The room also includes a QR code teaching you how to master the high-tech appliances, or you can WhatsApp the team.
Food and drink
Those not staying at the hotel can bypass reception and enter the coffee shop and restaurant via the door to the left (once through the gate). The café is open daily until 5pm and is run by North Seven Coffee, offering sandwiches, pastries and snacks. It felt a little hectic when ordering but the toasted banana bread with honey and ricotta (€7.50) was delicious.
The café leads into the all-day dining venue Baraza which has almost identical décor so it’s hard to tell them apart. The ground-floor space has a lounge-like feel, featuring high ceilings, an impressive bottle selection and colourful murals of the riverfront, while the mezzanine level is more restaurant-like.
The service at Baraza feels more like a bar – no one greets you as you come in and the tapas-style menu is designed for casual bites and snacks.
We loved the roasted and fried cauliflower bites with a lime and chilli dressing (€8) but the baked butternut squash with feta, sundried tomatoes and rocket (€8) was tasteless. Guests get a 10 per cent discount.
There is no private meeting space but the co-working area in the café is great for remote working and has plenty of USB and plug sockets.
There’s a small gym on the ground floor. You need to book in advance.
Zanzibar Locke is a stylish aparthotel in central Dublin, with beautifully designed apartments (particularly those overlooking the River Liffey) and very friendly staff. Recommended for both short and long stays.
Spacious and stylish studios filled with natural light in the centre of the city
Live music and a nightcap at Temple Bar
Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in June started from €249 for a Locke Studio
34-37 Ormond Quay Lower, Dublin DO1 H3V5; 01 436 3701