by Lissa Poirot
In a European city that has developed into a decidedly hip and trendy capital, one would expect to find similarly hip and trendy hotels, and the Fitzwilliam certainly is both. Overlooking Dublin’s beautiful central park, St. Stephen’s Green, families will be welcomed into the contemporary and stylish hotel awash in hues of purple that alerts guests they will now be treated like royalty.
Designed by famed international designer Sir Terence Conran, every detail of the hotel screams contemporary. You won’t find traditional Irish decor of dark woods but instead splashes of color in spaces of vaulted ceilings and chic fixtures. As a stylish city hotel, it is meant to provide a more-than-comfortable place to rest your weary head after a day exploring Dublin’s local attraction, including neighboring Grafton Street shopping, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Dublin Castle. It is not, however, a place for young children to play. That is, unless you’re tucked behind closed doors in one of the hotel’s newly refurbished suites. Select rooms with oversized balconies, where a heat lamp and patio furniture make an appropriate perch for in-room dinner overlooking the park and the busy streets below.
Our Editor Loves
- Central city location near attractions
- Balcony views overlooking St. Stephen's Green
- Buffet and traditional Irish breakfast included
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
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The hip and renowned hotel underwent a full redesign and refurbishment in order to maintain its style. Sir Terence Conran, who designed the interior of the original design right down to hand-selecting the varying artwork on the walls, returned to retrograde the hotel, again overseeing every last detail, down to the orchids awaiting guests in each room.
The hotel features 139 guestrooms, including two suites and a 2,000-square-foot, two-bedroom penthouse complete with two fireplaces and a baby grand piano. Rooms feature flat-screen TVs, tea and coffee makers and minibars, free Wi-Fi and a laptop safe.
Standard rooms become more snug the higher you climb in this six-story hotel. The top floor features the smaller rooms that do not offer much more space than a desk, chair and four-poster bed, but affords the largest of balconies with four-seating patio tables and a heat lamp. The largest standard rooms won't include balconies, instead using the space for interior space. Connecting rooms are not available, and this hotel is better suited for families with older children who can be trusted to be in their own neighboring rooms, in which case go for the balcony rooms, as you could open a connection to those spaces and spend your in-room time together outdoors.
My husband and I visited Dublin for an anniversary trip. The Fitzwilliam hotel was fantastic! It was elegant and upscale without being fussy or pretentious. The staff was friendly and helpful. The location was perfect! Right on St Stephen's Green and right at the end of Grafton street for easy access to the river and Temple Bar areas. I would highly recommend!
Fabulous weekend, great hotel with a great location, just on St Stephens Green. Breakfast is fabulous and the staff are great, very helpful and friendly. We even got an upgrade as it was my husbands birthday. Will definately return.
The Fitzwilliam is located in the heart of Dublin and serves as a stylish place to rest and revive after a day exploring the sights and attractions of the city. While the hotel does not feature family-friendly activities, within steps of the hotel are a number of attractions falling under the "Must See" category, like Dublin Castle and St. Stephen's Green.
Steps outside the Fitzwilliam is one of Dublin's premiere shopping areas, with hip boutiques and large European chains such as Marks & Spencer and Topshop. The area is a tourist haven, so street performers are also in abundance, especially on weekends.
Citron, the Fitzwilliam's European-style cafe is a warm loft restaurant bathed in whites and lemons and limes. It is here buffet and a la carte traditional Irish breakfasts are found, with plenty of choices from cereals, yogurt, fruit and pastries at the buffet and omelets, French toast and other standard hot-to-order foods. Also open for lunch and dinner, this is the most family-friendly dining option. Lunch, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., provides a limited salad and lunch menu, but a fuller dinner menu, served 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Inn on the Green
Inn on the Green is the hotel's lobby bar, which also serves traditional (and not so traditional) bar fare as some gather in front of the flat-screen TVs in rich leather upholstered seating to catch the latest sporting event. Beginning at noon, grab bangers and mash, fish and chips or sandwiches, paninis, burgers, and salads. From 6 to 10 p.m., dinner may include asparagus and blue cheese gnocchi or chicken -- as well as burgers and fish and chips for the more finicky kids.
The Fitzwilliam's grande dame restaurant is its top-rated Thornton's, where Ireland's celebrity chef Kevin Thornton can actually be found in the restaurant throughout the week, unlike other restaurants using celebrity names only. Again, options are limited at lunch and fuller at dinner, and the menus change often with the seasons for the freshest ingredients. This restaurant may best be saved for a private date for mom and dad, where you may come across menu items such as loin of rabbit. The restaurant is closed Sundays and Mondays.
Planning & Tips
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Complimentary Wi-Fi access is available.
The Art of Smart Timing
Summer is high season, when families from around the world descend upon Dublin while the kids are out of school and the weather brings more sunshine than rain. Rain and mist is still a common occurrence in Ireland, and in the summer temperatures can be in the 50s or 60s, so bring a raincoat and a sweater. Due to its northern position, Ireland summer days can last well into the evening, with the sun set around 10:30 p.m.
The Fitzwilliam Hotel is located along St. Stephen's Green in Dublin's City Centre, which is less than 10 miles from Dublin Airport (about a 30-minute drive).
When staying in Dublin, the heart of the city is very walkable and taxis are plentiful. Rent a car if you'd like to explore outside the city. Cars are available at Dublin Airport or in City Centre, where a block of Lombard Street is dedicated to rental car agencies.
For Mom and Dad
An onsite spa provides traditional spa treatments such as massages, facials and body scrubs, as well as a full hair and nail salon. A 24-hour gym is also available, with cycling, cross training and stair climbing machines and free weights. Golf arrangements can be made at the Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links, which is located 10 miles from the Fitzwilliam.