From distilleries to art museums, there's plenty to see in Ireland's capital city. Set at the mouth of the River Liffey along the country's east coast, Dublin was originally a Viking settlement. During the 17th century, the city prospered, and Georgian style architecture flourished. "The Fair City" became a cultural center and destination for artists and writers.
Today, the charming and bustling city offers an eclectic mix of Victorian pubs, modern buildings, and historical attractions such as manuscripts at The Book of Kells at Trinity College, the Jeanie Johnston Famine Memorial Ship, and the Kilmainhaim Gaol where visitors learn what life was like in Ireland's prisons. Literary enthusiasts will want to discover Dublin's writer haunts, cyclists can venture the Three Rock Cycle Loop in the Dublin mountains, and those that seek fresh sea air can explore nearby coastal towns like Howth. And no visit to Dublin would be complete without some shopping along Grafton Street, the Guinness Storehouse, and a visit to a few local pubs in Temple Bar.
Plus, there's an array of events happening throughout the year including the Dublin Film Festival every February, the St. Patrick's Day Festival on March 17, soccer matches, concerts, and performing arts events.
To compliment Dublin's activities and cultural options, Five Star Alliance offers a selection of luxury hotels that will appeal to a range of travelers including Irish Classics, Contemporary Properties, and Country Estates.
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Set within four restored Georgian townhouses across from the Government Buildings, National Museum of Ireland, and the National Gallery of Ireland, The Merrion is within walking distance of Grafton Street's shops and restaurants. Featuring an extensive 19th and 20th century art collection, the hotel offers an "Art Tea" where edible works of art inspired by the property's paintings are served on fine china in The Merrion's Drawing Rooms. Overlooking classical gardens, Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud is the country's only Michelin two star restaurant, and the Tethra Spa has private treatment rooms, fitness center, and an 18-meter indoor infinity pool.
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Across from St. Stephen's Green, The Shelbourne Dublin provides a luxurious setting with a geneology concierge to help guests trace their Irish ancestry, and a leisure club offering an indoor pool and signature spa. Built in 1824, the iconic hotel is infused with Old World charm and historic details.There's elegant dining at The Saddle Rock and Lord Mayor's Lounge, and opulent guest rooms have plush beds, flat-screen TVs, and marble bathrooms. Close to Trinity College, the National Museum of Ireland, and the National Library of Ireland, the property offers a central location for exploring the city.
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From custom Irish wool carpets to an iconic afternoon tea, The Westbury Hotel Dublin offers a classic Irish experience. The hotel's restaurant, Wilde at The Westbury celebrates the country's finest produce in much-loved local dishes and classic international cusine, in a setting that fuses greenery with 1930s glamour. The Sidecar offers a classic cocktail setting, and the hotel is steps away from the upscale boutiques, shops, and restaurants along Grafton Street.
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A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, The Marker Hotel offers an urban retreat with contemporary style. Guest rooms and suites are set in unique geometric layouts, and there's an elemental style running throughout the hotel from the lobby to the rooftop garden. Situated between the River Liffey and the Grand Canal in the Dublin Docklands, there property has a spa and wellness center with a 23-meter infinity pool and fully-equipped fitness center.
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Contemporary, yet exuding Irish charm, The Clarence is located steps away from Temple Bar's pubs and restaurants. Owned by Bono and The Edge of U2, guest rooms and suites offer simple modern furnishings, such as white linen bedding, Shaker oak furniture, and leather seating. For dining, Cleaver East serves fine Irish and international cuisine at approachable prices, with a unique "Not Afternoon Tea" menu that features a creative spin on tea time with savoury and sweet bites and a rocking cocktail menu.
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Close to the 02, The Gibson Hotel Dublin is located in the city's new cultural hub. Featuring a contemporary design with calming water features, towering bamboo trees, and creative accents throughout. Guest rooms and suites feature clean lines and modern furnishings, and the bar offers healthy dining options along with a contemporary Asian-inspired outdoor courtyard.
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Situated in the heart of Dublin, between St. Stephen's Green and the Stephen's Green Shopping Centre, The Fitzwilliam Hotel features contemporary Irish decor. Providing a friendly and modern feel, guest rooms feature a color paletted of lime greens, aubergine, and white, with window seats, upholstered headboards, laptop-friendly safes, and Murdock bath amenities. The Spirit Beauty Salon offers a range of services, along with facials, waxing, massages, and nail treatments. There are two on-site restaurants, and a modern afternoon tea within the hotel's Inn on the Green.
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About 30 minutes outside of Dublin, The Powerscourt Hotel is located on the famous Powerscourt Estate with a historic house, landscaped gardens, and a famous waterfall. The Great Sugar Loaf Mountain can be seen across the valley, and the seven-level hotel features Palladian-style architecture. There are two championship golf courses on-site, a signature restaurant, luxurious ESPA spa, and an Irish Pub. Plus, guests can enjoy a traditional afternoon tea, horse riding, fishing, cooking classes at the Ballyknocken House, off-roading experiences, hiking, and river walks.
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Less than an hour from Dublin, The K Club is set amongst 550 acres of County Kildare Countryside. The River Liffey runs through the resort, and guests can experience a range of activities including the on-site falconry, clay pigeon shooting, horse riding, and tennis. The Ryder Cup venue has two Arnold Palmer-designed championship golf courses, golf academy, and proshop. Within the original house, there's a wine cellar where visitors can enjoy informal tours, or schedule a gastronomic experience that begins in the cellar and ends with a feast. There's also Irish Whiskey tastings in the Vintage Crop Bar, plus a full-service spa for relaxing.
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Step back in time at the elegant Ballyfin. The estate is situated amongst 600 acres in County Laois. Less than two hours from Dublin, the lavish Regency mansion has just 15 rooms, each individually appointed with historically-influenced furnishings designed to mirror the style of the home, with canopied beds and marble bathrooms with bathtubs, walk-in showers, and luxurious toiletries. Plus, modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs, minibars, and iPod docking stations. The estate's activities include fishing on the lake, clay pigeon shooting, croquet, tennis, archery, and falconry.
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