Ireland

Cool hotels Ireland for a quirky weekend break

From castle hotels to rooftop yoga, bath butlers, freestanding tubs and underground snugs, there are plenty of hotel options in Ireland that offer something a little different, and travel writer Nadia is here to share with us her favourite hotels to add to your bucket list.

We’re renowned worldwide for our hospitality, our famous Irish welcome keeps tourists coming back for more, but where is best to lay your head if you fancy a staycation? Here’s a list of some of my favourite quirky hotel gems on our island of Ireland.

A cool hotel in Ireland overlooking Dublin's docklands

1/4

Let the valet whisk your car away and check in to an ultra modern room that’s as comfortable as it is practical. With its rooftop bar and slick interiors, the hotel exudes cool. If you’ve had a long journey you’ll appreciate the blackout curtains, or head to the spa for a dip in the seductively dark infinity pool. The vibe is mellow, thanks to the low lighting and the spa treatments are everything you’d expect from a five star hotel.

Guests and locals alike flock to ‘Le Drunch’ on Sundays at The Marker. It’s a laid back affair between lunch and dinner (2-5pm) to the sounds of chilled out tunes with the resident DJ. The Shakshuka is a favourite, but also get an order of crushed avo with black bean and corn salsa on the side. There’s even a healthy ‘Equilibrium’ section to the menu, you know if you’re watching your macros.

Continue the blissed out stay with rooftop yoga overlooking the Dublin docklands or if that sounds too strenuous, enjoy a sundowner and admire the view (the Vanilla Espresso Martini is to die for). During the summer, join an hour long yoga class on Saturday mornings, but throughout the year pick up a yoga box with all the essentials for your own leisurely practice, a very nice touch.

Nadia's top tip

The Marker Hotel is conveniently situated right beside the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, so it’s the perfect place to stay if you fancy seeing a show.

The Marker Hotel

Top rated
Dublin, 0.8 km to 3Arena
9.3 Excellent (3727 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.6 / 10
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A cool boutique hotel in Ireland with an oyster bar

1/4

For a touch of old Dublin glamour, check in to the Cliff Townhouse directly on St. Stephen’s Green, with balconies overlooking the park.

Urchin, located in the basement of the building, is officially cool when it comes to bars – not just hotel cool. Try the Galway and Carlingford Lough oysters at Urchin or upstairs at the Champagne & Oyster bar; both serve excellent seafood dishes.

Bring home some of Cliff’s own brand ‘The Well at CLIFF’, featuring Irish-made products like peat masks – a must have. The hotel manages to mix local Dublin charm and luxury seamlessly and the location is spot on.

While the Cliff Townhouse is a small boutique hotel, it’s part of a bigger group, which leads me nicely to the next property.

Nadia's top tip

If you want to head out into the city for breakfast, you’re only mere metres from Tang on the corner of Dawson St. who serve up Middle Eastern influenced eggs and delicious stacks of buckwheat pancakes.

The Cliff Townhouse

Dublin, 2.1 km to 3Arena
8.3 Very good (517 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.1 / 10
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A cool hotel in Ireland with your very own bath butler

1/4

This is where you’ll find that bath butler I promised earlier. Get out of the city (although not too far, only a thirty minute drive from Dublin) and into the countryside to the Cliff at Lyons. The village style property also offers apartments and cottages in addition to traditional hotel rooms. Treat your feet to underfloor heating and have the bath butler draw you a hydrating honey and milk bath, it feels like your own personal spa. In fact, staff right around the property will go out of their way to make sure your stay is one to remember.

Opening in March 2019, the hotel’s new “all-island restaurant”, Aimsir will use ingredients exclusively sourced from home. Until then though, foodies will enjoy The Orangery, separated from the property’s botanical gardens by floor to ceiling glass walls. The menus change seasonally, but I recommend trying the Galway Bay mussels, or Kilkee scallops whenever they appear.

The Well in the Garden Spa also offers yoga retreats, for a truly blissful getaway.

Nadia's top tip

P.S. There’s also a third property! The coastal Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, Waterford completes the trio.

Cliff at Lyons

8.8 Excellent (43 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.3 / 10
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A cool hotel in Ireland with Netflix in the bedrooms

1/4

Having recently undergone significant renovations, this small boutique hotel situated in Galway City’s Latin Quarter on Quay St. offers Irish charm in a hard to beat location, it’s the perfect blend of quirky and chic. Just beside the Spanish Arch and surrounded by medieval buildings, the hotel’s recent refurbishments bring it right into the 21st century with all the mod cons.

Netflix and chill with the Smart TV in your room and order in from the city’s emerging food scene or head to 1520 Bar for live trad music every night of the week. A proper pub with old school charm, hearty portions to fill you up and all the craic you could ask for.

Nadia's top tip

Top tip: make sure you get directions to the off site car park before arrival

The Residence

Galway, 6.6 km to Barna
7.8 Good (209 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.2 / 10
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A cool hotel in Ireland in the centre of Temple Bar

1/4

Slap bang in Dublin City centre, The Morgan has been a pivotal place on Dublin’s party scene for years and has just had a massive relaunch. The interiors, service and menus of brand new 10 Fleet Street Restaurant and Bar rivals any of the big hotels and independent spots in the city. The seafood chowder with Guinness bread is the perfect winter warmer and the grilled Dubliner cheese toasties are a hit with all the family.

The rooms and suites are a haven in the middle of bustling Temple Bar, the ideal place for some R&R before taking in all that Dublin has to offer. Just steps from the infamous bars and pubs offering traditional live music and across the road from a grocery store, The Morgan is that perfect blend of luxury and convenience.

Nadia's top tip

Vegetarians won’t be disappointed with the selection, with protein and halloumi salads, grilled tofu and goats cheese tortilla as some of the options and a vegan chocolate and strawberry tart to finish.

The Morgan

Dublin, 2.3 km to 3Arena
8.0 Very good (2788 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.2 / 10
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A cool hotel in Ireland with views of the Dublin mountains

1/4

Another of Ireland’s quirky hotels can be found in Sandyford, Dublin. The Beacon has a stunning lobby area with high ceilings, thrones, glass chandeliers and a four poster bed. Yes, in the lobby! The light-filled space is adorned with quirky artwork that gives the hotel an almost gallery-like feel to it. You have to try the glazed pork belly at My Thai restaurant and order a Beacon Exclusive Spiced Sour, the perfect pairing. The Penthouse even has a freestanding bathtub in the bedroom, with a view of the Dublin mountains.

Hop on the Luas straight into St. Stephen’s Green, or do some shopping in the Beacon South Quarter, or Dundrum Town Centre, also close by.

The Beacon

Top rated
Dublin, 7.9 km to 3Arena
8.6 Excellent (1761 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.1 / 10
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A cool hotel in Ireland for the royal treatment

1/4

If you’ve never stayed in a castle, now is your chance. Voted as one of Ireland’s top ten hotels, this Dublin gem is a favourite with locals and tourists alike. Clontarf Castle Hotel makes use of a 12th century castle just minutes from the city centre. Some of the decor in the hotel raises eyebrows, (think medieval knight’s armour, juxtaposed with modern artwork in the lobby) but it all adds to the character of a stay in a building steeped in history and full of stories. The setting for Fahrenheit restaurant (also where breakfast is served) is a stunning combination of stained glass windows, stone walls and wooden beams. It makes the perfect place for a dinner date on a romantic getaway. The rump of lamb is excellent, as is the duck

You don’t have to look too hard to find quirky hotels for a staycation in Ireland. Cool architecture, interesting interiors, experimental menus and stunning artwork are easy to come by when it comes to our hotels. Pair that with world-famous hospitality and home-grown ingredients and you have yourself a recipe for a fabulous hotel stay. With our hotel choices you’ll combine the comforts of home with the feeling of getting away from it all and experiencing something new.

Nadia's top tip

Stroll along the seafront at Dublin Bay and cross over to Bull Island, a nature reserve and sandy beach where you can spot birds and watch kite surfers on windy days. Stop off at Happy Out cafe, situated in a re-purposed shipping container on the island, for great coffee or you can pop into one of the many locals for a pint of Guinness.

Clontarf Castle Hotel

Top rated
Dublin, 2.4 km to 3Arena
8.9 Excellent (3506 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.3 / 10
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Nadia from the daily s'elf

A Dublin native, Nadia is a freelance travel writer (you can find her on her blog the daily s'elf) whose plan is to wander the globe until the novelty wears off (if that ever happens). Despite travelling to exotic locations the world over, her favourite country is Ireland, “when the sun shines, there’s no better place”. Her dream job would be mystery shopping in hotels, since she has a keen eye for detail and already spends most of her time living out of a suitcase. Her bucket list destination? Antarctica.