Conrad Dublin Mixed Review

100   Recommended

May 15, 2003 by

 Map | 3 Reviews | 100% Recommended
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 Map | 3 Reviews | 100% Recommended

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Liked:
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Hi BumpMe, I just returned from a stay this past weekend at the Conrad Dublin. I have to give it a mixed review. Like you, I had the same dilemma of which hotel to choose. Before booking, I did some research on FT and posed a similar question. I received many kind responses and the consensus was to stay at the Conrad. However, there was enough anecdotal evidence that the Conrad doesn't always provide all the stated hhonors benefits such as free breakfast, etc. So, before booking, I did a google search for the hotel and was able to get an e-mail address for the Conrad in Dublin. I sent a polite inquiry to the manager asking what type of benefits might a Diamond VIP member expect when staying at the hotel. I mentioned that I had heard that some Diamond members claimed to have had problems in the past with this property and was curious if the hotel has a policy different than that stated in the hhonors terms and conditions. I received a prompt and pleasant replyfrom Ms. Barry in reservations. She stated that she wished to confirm the following Hhonors benefits for Diamond VIP's: Upgrade to one of their superior rooms that have all been recently refurbished. Each room has beechwood furniture, large marble bathrooms with massaging power showers and full size tub, and little extras like goose down duvets, oversized pillows and mini cd players. Also they would make sure we received a complimentary breakfast each morning either in room or in the restaurant, and a bottle of house wine and chocolates. After receiving her cheerful and rapid response, I was quite optimistic that my stay at the Conrad would be a fabulous experience. Upon arrival, things weren't quite as I'd anticipated. We each had two rollaway bags. The Conrad has no automatic doors, only two single regular doors, and one revolving door (not automatic). There was no doorman in sight. It was a bit of a trick to get the luggage into the hotel. No big deal, but a minor hassle that I would have thought at a Conrad would have/should have been a non-issue. I presented my diamond card to the check-in receptionist. She pulled my reservation and gave me keys to my preassigned room on the third floor. If I recall correctly, the hotel has 7 or 8 floors, so a third floor room (at least on paper) did not appear to be all that fabulous of an upgrade. After giving me the key to the room the receptionist asked which type of complimentary newspaper I wanted delivered to my room, nice touch I thought. However, shortly after receiving the key and noticing that there were no certificates for breakfast, I made a polite inquiry about the complimentary breakfast and what was the proper procedure, ie, did I need certificates, or did I merely need to give my room number, etc. She became a bit curt and replied that the Conrad does not provide complimentary breakfast to diamonds or otherwise. I told her that I had a letter from Ms. Barry that stated otherwise. She told me to wait a minute as she went back to an office behind reception. A short while later she returned and reluctantly handed over some breakfast coupons (that stated bounceback breakfast, the type you get when staying on a bounceback rate). I don't know about you or anyone else, but it is such a pain in the butt and very aggravating and unpleasant to have to argue over hhonors benefits. I detest having to do this; it ruins the experience for me and leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It was not as if the receptionist was unfamiliar with the hotel's policy towards hhonors benefits and just didn't know, she flat out stated with some conviction that the Conrad NEVER provides free breakfast. To me, that implied (althought I hope that I'm wrong)that it was a managment policy to not honor stated benefits, which is a much larger problem than an improperly trained employee. That said, we then went up to the room, which although rather on the small side, did have all of the qualities listed in Ms. Barry's correspondence. The room was very nicely appointed. There was in fact a cd/cassette/stereo, two plush robes & slippers, very nice bathroom with many fancy soaps and shampoos, etc., the condition of the room was very good and it did appear to have been recently renovated. The room was very tastefully decorated and had good comfortable furniture and nice curtains. The best part about the room was the bed. It was wonderfully comfortable, had a soft duvet cover, and giant down pillows that were heavenly. I could have slept all day in the bed; it was a shame to have to get up in the morning. However, the room was on a low floor and there was no view to speak of unless you count that of the roof of the floors below. (Not a big deal either, but the hotel did appear to be very quiet and not very full). There was a nice full size bottle of delcious Cote du Rhone red wine in the room as well as a very nice and rather large box of assorted chocolates. In the morning a large Sunday edition of the newspaper was delivered to the room. Breakfast in the restaurant was quite good and consisted of a full buffet of hot and cold items. Additionlly, we were offered the opportunity to order off the menu but declined because the buffet was more than adequate. The restaurant was empty except for two other people, more circumstantial evidence that the hotel was not fully booked. After checkout, again the doorman was nowhere to be found. I was in a bit of a hurry so I didn't bother to ask the receptionist to call the doorman for us, I didn't have time to wait for him.

Location

The hotel is located in what appeared to be a rather ritzy part of the city. It was my first trip to Dublin so forgive me if my impression is less than accurate. It is very close to St. Stephen's Green. As other Flyertalkers have helpfully stated, there is an excellent bus that runs from the airport and stops a little less than a block away from the hotel. The bus is called the AirCoach and as of last weekend, the fare was 6 euros per person each way, or 10 euros round trip. The trip took about 35 minutes each way. The bus was a brand new coach and was immaculate. For the Conrad, there are two stops nearby, Lower Leeson or St. Stephen's Green. Lower Leeson is probably a tad closer to the hotel. The bus runs every fifteen minutes starting at a very early time, I think 4:30 am., and I believe it runs to midnight. After a certain time, 8:30 p.m. I think, the buses only run every half hour. The hotel is located about a 5-7 minute walk from the Temple Bar area which is full of pubs and restaurants and had quite a lot of activity. It is a bit of a rowdy area with many young people drinking, so if that is not your cup of tea, you may want to eat/drink in a quieter area. However, if you like an exuberant nightlife, (think spring break) this is the area for you.

Overall

All in all, it was a mixed experience. The room was very nice, albeit rather small, and did not appear to be much of an upgrade, but other than the view or the size of the room (both trivial gripes), the accomodations were lovely. The service on the other hand was less than what I'd expect at a Conrad. Having to argue about benefits really soured the whole stay. Never having been to the Hilton in Dublin, I can't offer a comparison, but if you can deal with the distinct likelihood that you'll have to argue for benefits at check-in, and a hard-to-find doorman, you should find the accomodations to be quite pleasant.

I hope this information is helpful to you. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any additional questions. Edited to fix typos. [This message has been edited by hhonorman (edited 05-15-2003).]

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