WHAT’S IT LIKE? Luxury boutique hotel the Dylan comprises two buildings – one red-brick Victorian, built in 1900, and an adjoining newer structure. Both have three floors and together they house 44 rooms, which had their soft furnishings refreshed for the property’s five-year anniversary in September.
The décor is chic and stylish, with reception to your left as you enter – it had a festive feel during my visit thanks to a pretty Christmas tree – and a lounge room with plush furnishings to the left, which leads on to the bar and restaurant. Striking furniture pieces are scattered in the public areas, such as a ram-shaped chair in reception. The hotel is a Preferred Boutique member and is a sister property to the Dunboyne Castle hotel and spa in County Meath.
WHERE IS IT? On Eastmoreland Place, about a 15-minute walk south-east of the city centre in the well-heeled Dublin 4 district. The Aviva stadium is close by.
ROOM FACILITIES Rooms come in three main categories – Luxury (20 sqm), Style (26 sqm) and Experience (29 sqm) – and there is also a 31 sqm Signature suite. They are individually designed with different coloured headboards and soft furnishings, and some unusual art pieces – my Experience room, for example, was in white, red and taupe with a sun-shaped mirror on the ceiling above the bed. They come with queen or king beds. Luxury rooms in the newer building tend to be more uniform in size while some of the rooms in the old building feature quirkier shapes.
Facilities that come as standard include a Bose dock, flatscreen TV, minibar (water €3.50, beer €5.20, Jack Daniel’s €8), robes and slippers, laptop safe, free wifi, a workdesk with multinational plug sockets, and a marble bathroom with REN toiletries. My first-floor room was spacious with a king-size bed, a large bay window overlooking the front of the property – it was nice to have a street view, though when the blinds were up it was quite easy for people to see in – and a separate walk-in rainshower and tub in the bathroom (some rooms have showers only, or showers over the bath). Experience rooms also have TVs in the bathrooms.
I found the room attractive and comfortable, if a little stuffy at night – even at its lowest setting, the air conditioning wasn’t quite cool enough, so I woke up hot in the early hours, to find that the minibar was not stocked with water (I had drank the 250ml complimentary bottle given at turndown before bed). The iPod dock wasn’t working on my arrival but this was sorted out promptly while I was at dinner.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS Dylan bar has had a facelift since I visited last year (click here for more information) – replacing its glamorous red and black interior with a more sedate pale blue one. It feels a bit more like a hotel bar now than a standalone bar in its own right, though it was still a nice place to enjoy a drink. My companion had a lengthy wait for his cocktail after ordering it.
The bar has an outdoor terrace with a flatscreen TV. Dylan restaurant is an elegant venue serving flavoursome, well-presented dishes. I had the Christmas menu (three courses for €49) and very much enjoyed my wild mushroom risotto with shaved Desmond cheese, pan-fried cod with savoy cabbage, smoked bacon, celeriac puree and Dublin Bay prawn bisque, and caramelised lemon tart with berry compote and double cream. I also tried my companion’s Ardsallagh goat’s cheese salad with caramelised baby beetroot, hazelnuts with organic salad and balsamic reduction and thought it was superb. I noticed that the bottle of wine I ordered – Terrazas de los Andes, Malbec, Mendoza (€29) – was a 2009 vintage rather than a 2007 one, as stated on the menu, though it was nice all the same. Service was impeccable.
Breakfast is also served here, with a continental option costing €21, or €24 to add an à la carte dish. Service was a little disorganised on the morning I ate here – my English muffin with eggs and bacon came out minus the eggs, while I noticed a neighbouring table had a long wait for their hot dishes. The restaurant has an outdoor terrace at the front of the property, which would be a pleasant place to sit in summer.
BUSINESS FACILITIES There are two meeting rooms, both on the ground floor – the homely Library can accommodate 40 delegates theatre-style or 30 for drinks, and room 1900 is a sleek space holding 12 people boardroom-style or for private dining. A semi-private section of the bar can be hired for up to 60 people, and the restaurant can cater for up to 120 for drinks receptions.
LEISURE FACILITIES There is a gym accessed externally from Eastmoreland Lane with cardio equipment only – a bike, cross trainer and treadmill by Life Fitness.
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in December started from €161 for a Luxury room.
CONTACT Dylan hotel, Eastmoreland Place; tel +353 1660 3000; dylan.ie
VERDICT A stylish high-end hotel with well-equipped rooms and an impressive restaurant. While not quite in the thick of Dublin’s action, it is in a nice part of town and the city’s attractions are only a short walk away.