Literary History and Luxury: Shelbourne Hotel Dublin Review

Literary history. Luxury. Ghosts. I’m sure you’re thinking that these are three things that have absolutely nothing to do with each other but, you’d be wrong.

My boyfriend and I had the opportunity to stay at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin a few months ago and those three qualities were what drew me to staying there.

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When traveling alone, I tend to take the Airbnb route because it tends to be cheaper but hotels always seem to draw me in.

Truth be told, I sort of grew up in hotels, my mother stealing me away when she could to take us on mini vacations in Florida. That’s a story in and of itself, though, so for now, I’d like to talk about The Shelbourne.

When looking for a hotel, I look for the obvious things: comfort, location, price. However, I also look to see if the place has history (literary or otherwise), if it’s near good food, and, because I am constantly fascinated by the idea of the paranormal, I check if there are any articles about it being haunted. Haunted doesn’t necessarily have to mean ghosts, though. A place can be haunted by memories, by history, by emotions.

Located directly across from Stephen’s Green, a lush public park that could give Central Park a run for it’s money, The Shelbourne has been a gem of Dublin since 1824. For nearly two centuries, this hotel has been a place where Irish society was shaped and history was made. It has played a role in the literary, political, social, culinary, and artistic traditions of Irish society.

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In 1922, the Irish constitution was drafted there and you can still see one of two copies in their Constitution Suite today.

Some of the most famous guests who have stayed in the Shelbourne include Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, John Wayne, JFK, Elizabeth Taylor, and Oscar Wilde. You can ask the front desk to see old guest books which, I’m sure, are littered with famous and familiar names.

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The hotel is also rumored to be the home of one patron, Mary Masters, who never left. Hotel guests and staff have allegedly spoken about the ghost of a young girl who walks the halls of the 6th floor. Actress Lily Collins stayed there and told Jimmy Fallon about hearing a giggling girl in her room at night.

I have to be honest and say that we did not experience anything paranormal during our stay but I think it’s nice to have the option.

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Photo Credit: Marriott.com

The Shelbourne Dublin is branded as a 5-Star Luxury Renaissance Hotel. After staying there, I can fully agree that it lives up to the hype.

The moment my boyfriend and I got off the bus and saw the hotel from across the street, we had stars in our eyes. A massive building with red brick and ivory crowning, you could almost feel it’s history, as if it was radiating off the windows. We were greeted by a gentleman in an old fashioned doorman’s uniform, his smile wide and inviting.

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Do you know the trope in movies when a doorman opens the door to somewhere and it’s as if you’ve been transported to another life, another time? That’s how it felt entering The Shelbourne.

We walked into the lobby, which was dazzling with marble floors and vibrant flower arrangements lining the corners, and were greeted as if we were famous. Employees lined up in two straight lines around the sides of the red carpet, smiling down at us, there hands behind their backs. I suddenly felt severely underdressed in my airplane clothes.

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Photo Credit: Oyster.com

We proceeded to the front desk as if we were the King and Queen. We realized shortly after, though, that the procession was not for us, but for a wedding party that was about to leave the hotel–which was hilarious and a little embarrassing. However, it was good timing and we started our stay feeling like royalty.

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Photo Credit: Marriott.com

The star treatment continued still as we approached the front desk to check-in and were handed two cups of freshly made lemonade. The woman who checked us in, Sharon, was so kind and the check-in was quick and painless.

Giddy, we entered the brass elevator that took us up to our room. The hallway of the 4th floor was lined with green and white carpeting and ivory wallpaper.

We were given a Heritage Park View room, with a King bed, mini fridge, and small lounging area. The floor creaked a bit as the carpet covered old wooden floors that you could tell had been there for ages. I didn’t mind the creaking, though, because it gave the room some character and reminded me how historic this hotel really was.

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The bed was the most comfortable bed I’d ever slept in, the soft, cotton sheets wrapping us up in cozy luxury. The windows gave us the perfect view of Stephen’s Green. The bathroom was white granite, with a reasonably sized jacuzzi tub and standing shower. Two fluffy bathrobes hung on the back of the door.

On the table by the window, Niamh– the lovely woman who helped us book our room– left us a flight of whiskey for tasting and three different kinds of chocolate truffles. We were in heaven and the comfort and luxuriousness of the room made it hard to leave.

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However, when we did finally step out of the hotel to go explore Dublin, we found that the Shelbourne was conveniently located near Dublin’s city center and made it easy to get around. In fact, one of Dublin’s most famous pubs, O’Donoghues, was just around the corner.

We ordered a full Irish breakfast to our rooms both mornings and the food was delicious. Crisp hash browns, perfectly poached eggs, flakey croissants, muffins and scones that melted in your mouth. The coffee was strong with vibrant flavors – a perfect wake-me-up for a long day of exploring Dublin.

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For a luxury hotel, the prices were fairly reasonable. Though it is definitely not the place for your average student or backpacker, it is the place for anyone who wants a luxury experience.

I guarantee that anyone who stays at The Shelbourne will be treated like royalty.

Stay here if you’ve got an anniversary, a wedding, or simply if you’re looking for a place that’s filled to the brim with history and romance.

Click here for rates and rooms.

We were given a discounted room in exchange for this review but, as always, all opinions are my own.

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Suggested Listening For This Post: Rocky Road to Dublin by The Dubliners.

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