Iveagh Garden Hotel, Dublin, Ireland
Housed in an elegant four-storey Georgian terrace in the heart of the city, the hotel is a five-minute walk from St Stephen's Green.
Billed as Europe's first sustainable hotel, Iveagh Garden opened in February and generates its electricity, heating and cooling requirements from an underground river 50 metres below the property. Other energy-saving measures include a gravity-fed wastewater system, motion-activated lighting and low-energy lifts. The result is a 78 per cent decrease in energy usage and an 82 per cent reduction in CO₂ emissions compared to the building's previous incarnation as an office space. Of course, most guests will be blissfully unaware of all of this and more impressed with the hotel's black marble floored lobby that features bold teal and gold-coloured sofas, vintage light fittings and floor-to-ceiling book cases.
At 28 to 30 square metres, the majority of the property's 145 rooms are spacious with high ceilings and tall windows. There are also seven cosy 10-square-metre "City Pods" with queen beds, flip-down desks and compact glass-enclosed showers. Once again, the interiors are refreshingly bright, with luxurious upholstered headboards, colourful soft furnishings and art deco mirrors and detailing. Bathrooms are more contemporary with white marble-topped sinks, light wood panelling and spacious grey-tiled rain showers. Sadly, the green ethos doesn't extend to room amenities and servicing. During my stay, soap and towels are replaced rather than reused (despite being hung up as instructed), the toiletries aren't refillable and the in-room tea and coffee making set features single use plastic milk containers.
The property's all-day restaurant, Elle's, is another stylishly decorated space with an impressive marble-topped bar that spills out into a brick-walled outdoor courtyard. Breakfast is a lavish buffet of cold and hot dishes while the lunch and dinner menus feature a good selection of locally-sourced produce. For dinner I sample the North Atlantic crayfish cocktail and pan-fried hake fillet with samphire and both are excellent, as is the cherry blossom mojito from the bar's extensive cocktail list. Service, however, is patchy, both in timeliness and friendliness.
It's hard to imagine a better location. The main shopping thoroughfare of Grafton Street is a five-minute stroll away, as is the verdant expanse of St Stephen's Green. Adjacent to the hotel is the more secluded Iveagh Gardens, which features sweeping lawns, ornate fountains and a manicured rose garden. Some of the city's best bars and restaurants can be found on nearby Camden Street and Harcourt Street itself is home to several popular nightclubs (which does mean it gets lively at weekends). To venture further afield, hop on the tram that runs past the front of the property.
A stylish, well-located property that has the potential to be a sustainability class-leader once the kinks are ironed out.
A welcome box of handmade Lily O'Brien's chocolates.
A frustratingly incontinent iron.
Our rating – 4 out of 5
TripAdvisor rating – 4 stars
72-74 Harcourt Street, Dublin, Ireland. Rooms start from €179. Phone +353 1 568 5500. See iveaghgardenhotel.ie
Rob McFarland was a guest of Tourism Ireland. For more information see ireland.com