A luxurious break in the heart of Dublin

As December rolls around, people start getting into the Christmas spirit. Spectacular street lights are turned on, trees are decorated, and markets roll out the festive cheer.

A luxurious break in the heart of Dublin

But unless you feel like paying through the teeth for plane tickets, weekend breaks abroad are pretty much off the table until the New Year.

The good news is you don’t necessarily need to leave the country to feel like you’re on holiday – it can all be done on your doorstep.

A few weeks ago, I packed my bags and headed to the capital from some much needed rest and relaxation.

Having been to Dublin many times before, I was determined to make this trip different. No more would I jostle through the crowds on Grafton Street, or cough up €7.15 for a pint in Temple Bar. This was to be a holiday at home – and I was determined to see Dublin through new eyes.

I started by rooting out a Groupon for a massage and facial, and booked a train ticket instead of the usual stuffy bus ride.

The pampering went down a treat (Aspens Beauty near Merrion Square in case anyone’s interested), and a couple of hours later I was gliding into the luxury Conrad Dublin hotel, already floating on air.

After an effortless check in, I was delighted to find some kind soul had left a welcome gift in my room - strawberries dipped in chocolate no less! I was definitely off to a good start.

Believe it or not, my next stop was the Presidential Suite. I entered under the guise of having afternoon tea, but I really just wanted to have a look at the room… and it didn’t disappoint.

Initially I was surprised to see the door to the suite looked like any other from the hallway, but once I stepped inside, I thought I had accidentally walked onto the set of Gossip Girl, or Sex and the City. With a seemingly never-ending sequence of rooms, it was like walking through a luxury apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

While afternoon tea had been my excuse, after seeing the array of delicacies laid out my focus swiftly shifted. From chocolate coconut balls to brightly coloured macaroons, it was almost a pity to break the display just to stuff my face. Almost.

Pamper mode now fully activated, it was down the road to Queen Salon on Aungier Street for a wash and blow dry.

While I’m currently two years into a no shampoo experiment, I have no regrets falling off the wagon for Queen, they did an amazing job on my tangled mane.

Preened and pruned, I was ready to head back to the Conrad located on Earlsfort Terrace – really central but just nicely and discreetly off the beaten track - for a drink in the hotel’s craft beer bar; Alfie Byrne’s by Galway Bay Brewery and then into the safe hands of Head Chef Dmitry Stroykov who served up an absolutely mouth-watering feast at the hotel’s Alex Restaurant.

Head Chef Dmitry Stroykov

Alfie Byrne’s

Of course, in my mind I could have been anywhere in the world – I had lost the feeling of being in Dublin, of being in Ireland at all. Holiday mode was firmly set to on, and I didn’t even have to leave the country.

For more information, or to check out prices, go to www.conraddublin.com and www.queen.ie

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