aerial view of grand irish estate hotel with palace-like main building set back from a pond
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Ballyfin Demesne

There might not be a more luxurious estate-hotel in Ireland than Ballyfin Demesne, located about a 90-minute drive from central Dublin.

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Terrace Lounge at The Marker Hotel, Dublin, Ireland

Anantara The Marker Dublin

If Dublin was missing something, it was a truly modern hotel. This was rectified in April 2013 when The Marker Hotel opened in the up-and-coming Docklands neighborhood after years of delays. While other properties of similar acclaim have taken great pains to create a more traditional luxury experience, The Marker took the design-forward approach. Arriving at the hotel, guests will be confronted by a checkerboard exterior that only hints at the angular, sculptural visual experience within the hotel. This property is all about Dublin of today.

Rooms are swathed in subtle grey and white textiles to anchor the dark wood furniture, cobalt blue carpeting and the occasional burst of neon. Beds are large and topped with a cozy quilt. The plain, white headboards ensure that there aren’t too many things happening at once. Beautiful marble bathrooms are stocked with Malin + Goetz products and are outfitted in black or white marble, the latter of which has better lighting. Overall, each room feels like the kind of smartly decorated space you might design for yourself.

There are plenty of out-of-room amenities here, too, including The Brasserie, a happening, light-bathed haute cuisine restaurant on the ground floor. In addition to an impressive fitness center and large indoor pool, there’s also a full-service spa with plenty of unexpected treatments like the Moor Mud Wrap, where thermal moor mud is used to brighten skin and rejuvenate weary muscles. The rooftop bar and lounge is a massively popular hangout for the millennial techies that work nearby at big-name companies like Google and Facebook.

If you’re looking to get out of the hotel, classic Dublin destinations like the National Gallery and Trinity College are a walkable distance. Or you can borrow one of the hotel's bikes and cruise around the neighborhood.

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InterContinental Dublin

Sometimes there is a perk to staying on the outskirts of all the action: In Dublin’s South Georgian Quarter, there’s a calming atmosphere that feels a world away from the energetic buzz of Dublin’s more central quarters. And due to the number of international embassies who call this neighborhood home, the area is packed with some of the best restaurants in town. If you do need to get into city center to do some sightseeing, it’s just a five to 10 minute drive away.

Like most luxury hotels in Dublin, you can’t expect modern, high-design interiors at the InterContinental. But what you can expect is thoughtful service for which the brand is known. The spacious rooms are done up with traditional design flourishes like thick floral-printed curtains, patterned carpets, antique-looking wood chests and mood-setting still life artwork. But each room is always presented in an elegant, refined way and complemented with some of the best beds you’ll find in any hotel, and expansive bathrooms with marble tubs. There’s enough space to let all your products loose if the provided L’Occitane toiletries aren’t to your liking.

There are five food and beverage outlets here to satisfy all cravings. And the spa, in addition to providing some of the best treatments in the city, has a great indoor lap pool and offers the only separate men’s and women’s saunas and steam rooms in Dublin.

The hotel has also recently unveiled The Tiny Gift Shop in collaboration with local boutique Makers & Brothers, featuring a curated inventory of Irish-made products with modern, design-driven twists. It’s absolutely worth stopping by before leaving to pick up a souvenir like a gorgeous, plush wool scarf from Donegal.

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Aerial View - K Club, Dublin, Ireland

K Club

Hugh Barton, an Irishman famous for his vineyards in Bordeaux, built his family a French château-style home outside of Dublin in 1832. About 150 years later, another wealthy visionary, Michael Smurfit of Monaco, bought the property and turned it into a hotel and golf resort. Countless European Cups and one Ryder Cup later, the K Club is today one of Ireland's leading luxury golf resorts.

An expansion in 2015 doubled the number of guest rooms to 137, which feature views of the manicured formal gardens and River Liffey (the same that runs through Dublin) or of the award-winning golf courses. Décor is old fashioned, even in the new rooms, with floral wallpaper, canopied beds and chintz draperies and upholstery. There are crown moldings, rich wooden wardrobes and gilded mirrors, and some specialty suites have four-poster beds. But despite being distinctly old-school in look, everything is very comfortable, especially the beds with duck down duvets and 300-thread-count sheets. The spacious bathrooms feature separate showers and deep soaking tubs and include Avoya toiletries, products made from hand-collected seaweed from the country's wild western coast.

The property is known for its Arnold Palmer–designed championship golf courses, the Palmer Course (which hosted the Ryder Cup in 2006) and the esteemed Smirfit links course. Plans are underway to build an academy for students of all ages and abilities.

Also on offer are amenities and activities like horseback riding, clay pigeon shooting, fishing, tennis and archery. The hotel is home to extensive art, wine and whiskey collections, which can each be toured with a knowledgeable guide. There is a 20,000-square-foot spa including an indoor pool, Pilates studio, seven treatment rooms and a juice bar. Offerings for the littlest guests, too, are extensive, with a Victorian walled garden, kids' room, movie theater and a golf program for children.

There are multiple restaurants on property, including the fine dining Byerley Turk, which is named for a famous Irish racehorse, and River Room, serving breakfast with stunning garden views. The more casual Legends Clubhouse is a popular spot for lunch or dinner, offering burgers and pub-like fare. The new Media Puzzle Room is the place for a pint of Guinness or a cocktail.

Straffan House, a separate ten-bedroom villa, is a breathtaking property available for rent through the hotel and comes staffed with a private chef, concierge and house manager. Décor here is similar to that in the hotel, with a formal entryway, classic dining room and grand staircase, but the home feels like a private manor house, with a living room full of comfortable sofas for plopping down, and a big, flatscreen TV. The subterranean level boasts a movie theater with Bose surround sound technology and reclining chairs as well as an indoor pool, spa, gym, games room and wine cellar.

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Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links

This large golf resort, the former home of the Jameson family, is perched above an expansive beach with beautiful views and contemporary, airy interiors.
Bedroom at The Dean, Dublin, Ireland

The Dean

The Dean Hotel, which opened in 2014, warns guests when they are booking a room about its noisy neighbors. They explain that the property is located in the heart of Dublin’s nightlife quarter, so complete silence in guest rooms cannot be guaranteed. A youthful, edgy energy pervades within as well, which boasts a prominent bar in the entryway and a neon Tracy Emin sign hanging above reception. (In bright teal it states, “I Fell in Love here.”)

The art collection throughout the hotel is impressive and quirky in equal measures, featuring mostly young, Irish artists, whose works celebrate Ireland pre- and post-Celtic Tiger, the boom years seen throughout the country in the 1990s and early 2000s. Fifty-two rooms range from tiny (the Mod Pod room can really only comfortably fit one person) to spacious, and all feature dark gray–painted walls, mid-century modern furniture and retro décor, like a bright orange, oversized desk lamp and record player with excellent vinyl collections. The minibars are of particular note, including a Smeg mini-fridge and an assortment of only-found-in-Ireland treats like prawn-flavored chips.

Sophie’s, the restaurant on the top floor, has nearly 360-degree views of the city and serves excellent Italian fare, including wood oven fired pizzas. There is no spa or gym but the hotel lends bicycles for exploring Dublin.

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The Merrion Hotel

A handful of meticulously designed Georgian townhouses make up The Merrion Hotel, a local Dublin icon where thoughtful service is matched by top amenities.

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Entrance at The Shelbourne, a Renaissance Hotel, Dublin, Ireland

The Shelbourne Dublin

Dublin’s 190 year-old Grand Dame is the stomping grounds of Hollywood celebrities and European royalty, who come for the exemplary service and location.

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The Westbury Hotel

The Westbury Hotel evokes modern luxury in the center of historic Dublin, located within walking distance of Trinity College and the National Museum of Ireland, as well as restaurants and shopping. Tucked off the street in a spacious entry courtyard, the hotel is an elegant oasis featuring a lobby with plush sofas, chandelier lighting, and marble floors. The 205 rooms and suites are outfitted in neutral furnishings and marble bathrooms, with chic touches like woven Irish carpets and luxurious linens. Another destination specific touch is the Irish art collection on display throughout. The rooms facing the front of the hotel have lovely city views over Grafton Street, Balfe Street and Chatham Street.

The hotel is known for its excellent dining with its signature restaurant Wilde that serves elevated Irish cuisine in elegant settings. The hotel also houses Balfe's, a casual brasserie, and the Sidecar Bar with speciality cocktails and an Art Deco vibe. The lobby often turns into buzzy lounge area, with many visitors coming in for afternoon tea or drinks. If the culinary options prove too much, there's a gym on the property as well but no spa.

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