Bright lights, big city – and the best shopping

Planning a pre-Christmas shopping trip to Dublin with the girls? Ciara McDonnell rounds up the best hotels for a perfect girls’ weekend in the capital.

If there was ever a reason to organise a girls’ weekend to Dublin, the festive season is it. With lights a’twinkling, and music a’playing, the capital is the ultimate destination for stocking up on gifts and celebrating the season to be merry. Here are our picks of the top festive packages this year.

The revamp at The Conrad

First impressions? It’s impressive... Fresh from its €13m revamp, the Conrad shines from the moment you step through the door. Marble flooring, plush seating, wide open spaces, high ceilings – it’s a show-stopping five-star entrance.

The location, just off Stephen’s Green, is another impressive selling point, just a five-minute walk from Grafton Street.

All up, a very slick welcome to a very cool hotel.

All of the 192 guest rooms have been refurbished. And the design team have outdone themselves. Shades of green merge with ease from velvet couches and accompanying throws, to the bed head and lampshades. There are herringbone wool carpets and wood panelling on the walls. Huge and luxurious beds, with flat screen tv and Nespresso machine, are a given. Marble bathrooms and aromatherapy bath products seal the deal. The aim was to create a ‘restful sanctuary’ – and they’ve succeeded.

The Coberg is the relaxed brasserie that opened with the refurbishment in September 2016. A locally inspired all day menu, it’s a move away from the traditional austere five-star fine dining. The design is inspired, all discrete booths creating an intimate vibe not usually in keeping with a hotel restaurant. The Iveagh Gardens were the inspiration for the design, paying tribute to the former HQ of the Royal Horse Bazaar. There’s an equestrian theme subtly embedded with brass buckles on the leather seating.

Try the very affordable fish and chips, €18, or prawn linguine, €18, with a cheese board for afters.

Breakfast the next morning, always the best selling point of a hotel, is sensational, buzzing with people with a full buffet breakfast to pour over.

Lemuel’s lounge bar is named after Lemuel Gullivers, the fictional voyager. It’s where afternoon tea is served, another must for that girlie break. Even the ceilings are decorated in tribute to the tale, another example of the level of detail the design team achieved.

Centrally located, beautifully designed - a must for any girlie getaway.

  • INSIDER TIP: There’s also a champagne table, where you can try a selection of bubbles. Ideal for a girlie night out.

Rediscover Dublin At The Shelbourne

Nothing quite evokes the old style glamour of Dublin city like The Shelbourne hotel. Whether it’s a glass of champagne in the Horseshoe bar or a weekend stay, a stay here is a must for those of us visiting the city for a shopping excursion this festive season. The Rediscover Dublin package is an ideal one to make the most of in this situation, with a nightly rate of €229 per room per night which includes traditional Irish breakfast in The Saddle Room, and complimentary access to the hotel’s award-winning fitness and thermal facilities. While the package is ideal for a girly shopping weekend, it’s on offer until March 2018, so makes a great Christmas gift too. If you want your car to avail of the Shelbourne treatment too, then why not indulge in the Park and Play package, which includes Queen and Deluxe room accommodation with traditional Irish breakfast in The Saddle Room and valet car parking for your car, from €310 per room per night until January 5 2018.

  • INSIDER TIP The Salon at the Shelbourne Spa offers amazing blow dries, so make sure to indulge after shopping and before you hit the town.

www.TheShelbourne.ie 

Northside Chic At The Spencer

Dublin’s northside has upped its retail game recently, with department stores like Arnotts showcasing some of the country’s most exciting clothing designers as well as a Christmas gifting bonanza. The Spencer Hotel is a ten to fifteen minute walk along the Liffey to O’Connell Street, making it an ideal bolthole for a Northside shopping adventure. The hotel has a Christmas shopping package, which costs from €172 per room includes an overnight stay for two in a superior room with breakfast and complimentary use of the Spencer Health Club. The rooms in the Spencer are spacious – more so than your average city centre hotel, and even though it feels slightly airport-ish upon arrival, small touches like a fur throw here and some candles lighting there make the lobby and bar area extremely welcoming. Take a wander through the IFSC, which comes to life during the festive season and meander up to O’Connell Street to shop til you drop. There are a huge amount of popular eateries around the IFSC.

  • INSIDER TIP: Go to the bar and ask for a Mrs Spencer – Hendricks Fin, elderflower liqueur and tonic with cracked black pepper and cucumber foam.

www.thespencerhotel.com

Shop And Drop At Trinity City Hotel

Located on Dublin’s Pearse Street, the Trinity City Hotel is near all of the capital’s main shopping districts, and its pre-Christmas package is an ideal chance to soak up all of the twinkly lights and festive cheer on this hotel’s doorstep.

First things first, as a guest at Trinity City Hotel you’ll enjoy a 10% discount in the Kilkenny store on Nassau Street, which is a mere minute’s walk away from the hotel, and just off neighbouring Grafton Street. Once you’ve shopped to your heart’s content, head back to the hotel and indulge in a complimentary glass of prosecco before getting ready for a night out in your spacious room – don’t miss out on the amazing rainforest showers. The Shop and Drop package at Trinity City Hotel includes overnight accommodation for two with breakfast the following morning, a glass of prosecco on arrival and 10% off at in store at Kilkenny Storet. It starts from €165 per room per night based on 2 people sharing.

  • INSIDER TIP: Driving to Dublin? Trinity City offer valet parking as an additional extra.

www.trinitycityhotel.com

Suburban Shopping At The Beacon

Not all shopping in Dublin is created equal, and if traipsing the cobblestones of the city centre isn’t what you’re looking for when it comes to Christmas shopping, then checkout a more suburban option. Handily located on the Luas Line and just off the M50, The Beacon Hotel in Sandyford is an ideal spot to recharge after a day’s shopping. They have a special package in conjunction with Dundrum Shopping Centre this year that includes an overnight stay in a contemporary queen room, a €20 voucher for Dundrum Shopping Centre, free car parking and a cocktail in the hotel’s Crystal Bar. The package is €100 per person sharing and can be upgraded to include a makeup class with Stila in Harvey Nichols for an extra €10 during the month of November. it up post retail therapy.

  • INSIDER TIP: The Beacon serves breakfast until 12pm at the weekend, so enjoy that lie in – you deserve it.

www.thebeacon.com

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