On the north side of the Liffey, the Morrison is one of Dublin’s most stylish hotels. Home-grown fashion designer John Rocha was responsible for its interior so it is, unsurprisingly, very striking and strikes the right balance between creative and comfortable. Dark-wood floors, cream walls, chocolate-brown suede cubes and red tie-dye velvet throws and cushions make the hotel as pleasing to the eye as it is on the derrière.
John Rocha's designer Dublin pad
Take a tour of the Guinness factory
A complimentary bottle of house wine when dining at Halo, plus full Irish breakfast
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The concierges at the Morrison are a mine of information and can be helpful with guestlists, so make friends early. Don’t forget your euros.
Mr and Mrs Smith reviews
On the north side of the Liffey, with views across to the opposite bank of the river, the Morrison is one of Dublin's most stylish hotels. Home-grown fashion designer John Rocha was responsible for its interior so it is, unsurprisingly, very striking. It was immediately apparent that Rocha has struck the right balance between creative and comfortable. Dark-wood floors, cream walls, chocolate-brown suede cubes and red tie-dye velvet throws and cushions make the hotel as pleasing to the eye as it is on the derrière – unusual for a designer hotel, where it’s usually one or the other.
What did we expect from a long weekend in Dublin? Guinness, of course. Cobbled streets, without question. Bookshops flogging the complete works of James Joyce, undoubtedly. Rain, most probably. And if we were really unlucky, bumping into members of Westlife. But we discovered there’s a lot more to this cosy, cultivated and captivating city than bad weather, booze, books and boy bands. Best of all, Dublin lets you daintily dip into its offerings as and when you feel like it, and the Morrison is the perfect base.
The atmosphere of the hotel is very relaxing, almost sleepy. Lively, up-at-the-crack-of-dawn types might find the hotel, and the whole of Dublin, a little disconcerting, but we intended to embrace its philosophy and spend as much of the weekend in bed as we could. So it was important to find out as soon as we arrived if they had that part right. The beds, I’m happy to report, were indeed heavenly: big and bouncy with Frette linen sheets, goosedown pillows and lots of bedside buttons so you don’t even have to move much. The bathroom is also a delight. Enormous, packed with Molton Brown goodies, it even has a shower with room enough for two. (Three, indeed, if you’re feeling particularly convivial).
The second most important item on our checklist is the dining. The room-service menu, also served in the bar, is ample, but it was in the restaurant, Halo, that the Morrison excelled itself. Halo features an Asian fusion menu, and is in a wonderful space with a double-height ceiling. Presentation was a little heavy on the squiggles of sauce and gold-leaf flourishes for simple tastes, but it was of high quality and served by charming staff. Hardly for the budget-conscious, it was well worth at least one visit during our stay. The wine list was compact but well chosen, featuring my current favourite, the Lebanese Chateau Musar 1996.
When I asked for the bill from a member of the extraordinarily helpful staff, she suggested a nightcap in the bar. Saturdays see the two bar areas get really lively, with a young, fashionable crowd packing into every pocket and corner. And, always a bonus, the lighting is very, very low. Even after too many cocktails and too little sleep, the pop-band groupies littering the bar area won’t look too frightening on a Sunday morning.
Fortunately for anyone nursing a hangover, Dublin is big on breakfasts. Served in the hotel until a civilised 11am, ours helped us build up the energy to move beyond our bedroom, and we discovered many attractions within walking distance. Just over the bridge, the Temple Bar area is packed with design and furniture stores, bars and cafés like the Elephant and Castle. Venturing further, we took a stroll through the grounds of Trinity College before heading off for some shopping at Brown Thomas, the designer-packed department store.
Had we been feeling especially energetic, we could have paid a visit to the Guinness Store House. There, when you’ve done the rounds, you get a free pint served in a glass-walled room at the top of a tower overlooking the whole of Dublin. We decided our favourite view was still the one from our bedroom – a pint of the black stuff but a room-service call away. If you want a healthy dose of culture, a large helping of pudding and a nice big afternoon nap, Dublin is the perfect weekend destination – and what better rendezvous than the Morrison?
Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin, Dublin 1
0.6 mi / 1.0 km from city centre
Halo serves Modern International cuisine, using local and organic produce if possible. There is also a tapas menu available from midday to 11pm. Breakfast is served between 7am and 10.30am. Halo is closed during August, but guests can have dinner in the café bar instead.
One on the edge of the mezzanine.
Restaurant: 10.30pm (later if busy). The café bar: food 10.30pm; drinks midnight.
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