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The Shelbourne Dublin, Renaissance Review
Paris has the Ritz, New York has the Pierre, and Dublin has the Shelbourne—today, newly resplendent in its broad, ornamented, pink-and-white, mid-Victorian facade after a no-expense-spared renovation by the big Marriott chain. Long famed as the Dublin home of the nation's literati, the grande dame of Stephen's Green has been immortalized by authors running from Thackeray to Elizabeth Bowen. The Constitution of the Irish Free State was framed within its venerable walls, and almost as venerable a tradition was to take tea in the Lord Mayor's Lounge, just off the towering, marble-floor, cream-and-crystal lobby with its gilded pillars and brass candelabra. Having grown a little long in the tooth, however, the Shelbourne transformed its public spaces with original, daring furniture, textiles, and colors. Today, the most sumptuous place in town has just gotten more so—too bad most of the patina is gone. In the lobby, the Irish Chippendale chairs have given way to contemporary art from Irish greats like Louis le Brocquy, Barrie Cooke, and Cian McLoughlin. The guest rooms are almost as luxurious as the lobby, with the marble bathrooms a tactile pleasure. Rooms in front overlook the Green (one of Dublin's squares more blighted than most by modern development); those in the back, without a view, are quieter.
Iconoclast by the Green
There are certainly glitzier, more indulgent hotels in Dublin, but none can compete with The Shelbourne's winning combination of historic heft and bustling atmosphere. Battered by gunfire in the 1916 Easter Uprising, extolled in Irish literature, and host to the drafting of the Irish constitution, this undisputed 187-year-old grand dame overlooks central St. Stephen's Green. In fact, it's hard to imagine a Renaissance hotel more at the nexus of local social and political life: Dubliners and guests alike flock here for afternoon tea in the stately Lord Mayor's Lounge, followed by cocktails in the convivial Horseshoe Bar. The concierge service is also second-to-none, supplied in a marble-clad inner lobby decked out with contemporary Irish artworks.
- Address: 27 St. Stephen's Green, Southside, Dublin, Co. Dublin, Dublin 2 | Map It
- Phone: 01/663-4500; 800/543-4300 in U.S.
- Website: www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/travel/dubbr-the-shelbourne-dublin-a-renaissance-hotel
- Location: The Southside
- 246 rooms, 19 suites.
- Credit cards accepted.
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