Dublin, the perfect mix

November 18th, 2010 4:16 pm

So often referred to as “The Old Continent”, Europe has long been ahead of the states with their modern approach to interior design, space functionality and environmental efficiency. Despite the historical baggage and original construction dating back as far as the 1600s, Dublin has managed to shape itself into a young and modern, with respect to their tradition and history, European city.

Our first impressions were nothing shorts of shocked. In a good way. The flight over on board of the Irish Aer Lingus carrier, was enjoyable, and faster by 1h than originally expected. Bonus. The customer service staff at both departure and arrival cities was accommodating and very, very nice. That Irish friendliness continued throughout our stay. Including the taxi driver, who took a role of a tour guide on our way from the airport to the hotel, located in the heart of town.

Upon arrival to the O’Callaghan St. Stephen’s Green Hotel at an intersection of Cuffe St, Harcourt St and Green South, we were welcomed with a smile and eagerness to get a room ready for this, tired by a sleepless plane ride, couple. While waiting, we could enjoy a cup of tea or coffee in the hotel’s Pie Crust Bistro or the Magic Glasses Bar, or simply sink in one of four overstuffed, leather couches opposite from the reception desk. We chose to head out and use the little bit of energy we had left, to explore the St. Stephen’s Green park right across the street.

What a gorgeous morning it was to stroll around with a freshly brewed cup of coffee from a local Insomnia Cafe. The air was clear and crisp. The greenery, despite the winter months, was still vibrant and alive. Some trees had turned their leaves already, but most remained green all year round. The hustle and bustle of the morning commute didn’t bother us one bit. In fact, it was refreshing to see people walking through the park to catch a tram, a bus to get to work or school. Not for a moment, however, did the local loose their friendly demeanor, their easy-going attitude.

Besides the maze-like way (through less then 48″ wide corridors, across some bridge-ways and up a tiny all-mirror elevator, pardon me, lift) to get to our hotel room, we were pleasantly surprised by our temporary “living quarters” at Stephen’s Green.

The double bed (meaning king size bed, not two twin beds) room was kept modern and slick with the pale violet color scheme, large headboard, matching computer desk/TV console and a floor-to-ceiling, free-standing wardrobe all made in walnut. The window treatments coordinated with the scheme, but were too heavy and bulky, for my taste.

The bathroom deserves a mention, too. Solid white ceramic tiles from the floor, up the walls and finished off with a silver liner near the ceiling enlarged the space and matched the modern look. A walk-in shower with a stationary glass panel stopped the water from spilling out, but gave the rather small bathroom a cutting-edge and a feel of luxury. All fixtures were by Villeroy & Boch.

From a functionality standpoint, a few features deserve recognition. First of all, a key activated power system was a great way to deal with unnecessary electricity waste when a guest is out of their room.

Our key had to be placed in a slot by the door to power up all outlets, lights, TV, and any electrical equipment. Secondly, instead of a card on the door knob, this hotel implemented a light system to notify the staff about the room needing cleaning or otherwise, a no disturbance sign. Thirdly, a duel flush toilets were installed, which has become a standard in Europe, and still only a special feature in America. Lastly, I have noticed halogen lights being the preferred light type used for task lights and accent lights.

I loved Dublin. I think the people, the character of the city, its climate and the beautiful architecture make it for a wonderful place to visit and perhaps even reside in. Despite the economical troubles the country of Ireland is currently undergoing, and the citizens dissatisfaction of the political situation, their friendliness and easy-going approach to life deserve an applause. A big thank you for making our stay an absolute pleasure.

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