Windowless hotel bedrooms won’t see the light of day

Dublin might be facing a shortage of hotels to cater for its millions of overseas visitors… but the city authorities have drawn the line on allowing windowless bedrooms to solve the problem.

Dublin City Council has refused an application by one city centre hotel which sought planning permission to convert its basement into hotel bedrooms without any natural daylight.

The owners of the Grafton Capital Hotel on Stephen’s Street Lower, near the back of the St Stephen’s Green shopping centre, wanted to amend an approved redevelopment to replace a gym, meetings rooms, and plant on its basement level with 12 bedrooms.

The hotel, which currently had 128 bedrooms as well as the Break for the Border bar and nightclub, argued that windowless bedrooms were becoming more commonplace around the world.

In a ruling made last week, the council said a change of use of the existing basement to 12 bedrooms without windows would constitute “a substandard form of hotel development.”

“It would not provide an acceptable level of quality and amenity for visitors to Dublin,” it said.

The council said allowing the requested change of use would also have set “an undesirable precedent for other hotels within the city”.

The Grafton Capital hotel argued its proposed bedroom while windowless would be of “a high quality finish and layout and will also be generously sized at 21.5 sq m”.

“There is clearly a requirement to provide a greater range of hotel bedroom accommodation which will support the continued promotion of tourism,” said John Gannon, a consultant planner acting for the hotel.

Mr Gannon said all technical aspects including ventilation, fire prevention and protection had been taken into consideration.

“It is evident that the primary concern with this type of hotel bedroom is the perception that it represents an inferior of below quality form of accommodation,” said Mr Gannon.

“That is patently not the case. Other than the absence of a window, the proposed bedrooms will be comparable to any other bedrooms within the hotel in terms of overall quality.”

The hotel’s owners, Balrath Investments, have until February 13 to lodge an appeal.


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