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The Clarence 4.0

Dublin, Ireland

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Upscale boutique hotel with rock-star cachet
  • Riverfront setting in Dublin's city center
  • Some rooms have balconies with river views
  • Stylish restaurant with Michelin-star chef 
  • Snug basement bar with regular live music
  • Small underground car park (fee)
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Cons

  • Rooms prone to nightlife noise
  • Breakfast is underwhelming
  • No fitness or spa facilities

Bottom Line

The Clarence is an upscale 50-room boutique hotel set on the banks of the River Liffey in the center of Dublin. It's owned by U2's Bono and The Edge, and the vibe is mostly understated with simply styled, straightforward rooms -- though they're prone to the noise of passing revelry at night. Cleaver East, overseen by executive chef Oliver Dunne, offers a six-course tasting menu, and the snug basement bar is super-atmospheric and occasionally graced by the odd celeb. Travelers seeking sexier rooms should check out the Morgan just along the river, though rates are usually more reasonable here. 

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Scene

Riverfront boutique hotel with upscale vibe and roll 'n' roll connections

With its mullioned windows, brooding gray stone, and carved gothic sign, the Clarence Hotel makes a handsome addition to this riverfront row of redbrick buildings. The property first opened its doors as a hotel in 1852, and in 1992 it was famously bought by Irish rockers Bono and The Edge of U2, and after an $8 million renovation, it reopened in 1996. It is self-dubbed as "Dublin’s original rock ’n’ roll hotel," but when guests step inside they'll find the scene more sedate. Picture an airy high ceiling, leather seating, and plenty of wood paneling. Just off the lobby, a lounge mixes quirky lighting and avant-garde artwork with a marble fireplace and traditional seating. The vibe is boutique and upscale without shouting luxury, and the hotel attracts mostly business guests during the week and weekending couples on city breaks. Its superstar connection also means other celebrities sometimes stay here, making the hotel be a bit of a VIP spotting area.

Location

Lively central Dublin location overlooking River Liffey on edge of Temple Bar area

The hotel is located on Wellington Quay overlooking the River Liffey in the center of Dublin. There are numerous cafes, restaurants, and bars in the surrounding area, with the renowned Temple Bar nightlife within a couple of minutes' walk -- meaning it can get a bit rowdy when the pubs close. Most of the capital's main attractions are within walking distance; Dublin Castle is three minutes away on foot, Trinity College eight minutes, and Saint Patrick's Cathedral 10 minutes. Grafton Street shopping is also about a 10-minute walk, while the Guinness Storehouse museum is about a 10-minute drive. The Convention Center Dublin (CCD) is five- to 10-minute drive or taxi ride, while Dublin Airport is 20 to 30 minutes' driving time.

Rooms

Some rooms have river-view balconies, though these are prone to noise

The Clarence has 50 rooms and suites, all of which are fairly simply styled with leather seating, stone-topped tables and desks, and Shaker oak floorboards covered with large rugs. Amenities include tea- and coffee-making facilities, free Wi-Fi, and 32-inch flat-screen TVs; suites add Nespresso machines. Bathrooms are traditional and tiled, with shower/tub combos, heated towel rails, and designer bath products. Some rooms open to balconies overlooking the river, while others have uninteresting back views. A seriously impressive Penthouse is spread over two floors, with kitchen, dining room, even a open-plan loft with baby grand piano. The location in the Dublin's city center means, despite double glazing on the windows, rooms are inevitably prone to noise from its vibrant nightlife.

Features

Michelin-star chef dining and a snug basement bar

The Clarence certainly outpunches its weight when it comes to its eating and drinking options. While breakfast is not a culinary highlight (and not included in the rate), the Cleaver East restaurant is run by Michelin-star chef Oliver Dunne and serves excellent lunch and dinner menus in chic surroundings at reasonable prices. The Octagon Bar makes a great spot for nightcaps, featuring a side lounge with an open fire. In the basement The Liquor Rooms is a super-cozy bar with secluded areas and occasional live music. Spaces in a small underground car park can be reserved for a small daily fee, a real bonus for central Dublin. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout.

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Address

6-8 Wellington Quay, Dublin, Province of Leinster 2, Ireland

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