There’s always something special about staying at a hotel in the city you live in. It feels like a real treat, a brief blast of indulgent escapism from your normal life of doing the dishes, grudgingly sorting out the laundry and throwing together dinner from last night’s leftovers before settling down to your ‘Sex And The City’ boxset.
This weekend I got to indulge in 24 hours of escapism when I stayed at a Dublin hotel I’d shamefully never heard of before – The Sandymount Hotel, a family-run home-from-home that’s been in business since 1955 and that’s right beside the Aviva Stadium. (FYI if you’re attending a match or event at the Aviva, this is THE place to stay, as I soon found out on Saturday morning as I bravely battled through the deluge of enthusiastic rugby fans heading in the opposite direction.)
A stalwart of quaint Sandymount village, the Sandymount Hotel has recently had a bit of a facelift and I’m reliably informed that the hotel which is housed in a set of 19th century Victorian houses is pretty unrecognisable now – in a good way, of course. When I hear of older buildings ‘getting work done’, I always worry in case they end up like so many soulless hotel brands but the Sandymount has succeeded in getting a wave of the modernising wand without losing its character, so there are classic period features dotted throughout, like the intricate cornices and original fireplace in the vibrant new reception area.
Rooms are airy, fresh with a cool, earthy palette that complements the hotel’s proximity to scenic Sandymount Strand beach (you just can’t beat the sea air, can you?) and also its commitment to being eco-friendly. Because the revamped Dublin hotel has just opened, everything in my room was new, sparkly and clean so I felt like the first person to ever stay there. I usually don’t sleep well in hotels but – despite forgetting to pack my eye mask and ear plugs, grrrr! – I was out like a light after flopping into the inviting bed. (Thank you, Sandymount Hotel for a GREAT night’s sleep).
In my past life as a travel writer, I stayed in a lot of hotels and I got to know what made a hotel the kind of place you could comfortably live in, as opposed to somewhere you knew you were just passing through. As tedious as these sound, small things make a big difference when you’re staying in a hotel: a great shower, sockets by the bed, free wifi that actually works outside of the lobby and helpful staff. The Sandymount Hotel ticked all of these boxes. Plus a few extra, including a kettle in the room (more hotels seem to be ditching these – WHY?!) and a floor-length mirror (another thing I rarely see in hotel rooms), as well as ample closet space for longer stays.
As for the staff, I checked in and out at particularly busy times when groups of tourists were also at the reception desk asking directions and sometimes struggling with English and the staff couldn’t have been more patient and helpful.
As well as being within spitting distance of the Aviva Stadium, the Sandymount Hotel is a short hop into town on the DART or a leisurely 30 minute stroll into town, which I recommend purely for the opportunity to drool over nearby Dublin 4 property porn. So would I recommend The Sandymount to friends and family who are looking a night away in Dublin? I already have.