We headed along to the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin's Temple Bar for the night and this is what we thought
What was the location like?
Set along Lord Edward Street (with the main entrance on Fleet Street), the Hard Rock Hotel is at the quiet end of Temple Bar. It's a really central location, close to Dublin Castle, Trinity College, Christchurch and Grafton Street. It's along a great bus route that covers the Northside and Dublin 8 too. While being extremely central, the hotel was surprisingly quiet even in a street view room.
Obviously, the Hard Rock hotel chain is known the world over. For their hotels that are decorated with memorabilia from popstars and rockstars throughout the ages, the boxes that they are displayed in are unique to the chain. First established in 1971, by two Americans Peter Morton and Isaac Tigrett living in London. Missing the burgers synonymous with their homeland they opened up the first Hard Rock Cafe, which was then frequented by the 1970s rock n roll set. Legend has it that when regular-diner Eric Clapton asked the staff to hang his guitar above a bar stool to save his spot, shortly afterwards a package containing Pete Townshend's guitar was duly delivered to the cafe, and thus started the display of rock and roll memorabilia which has spread to Hard Rock hotels around the world, everywhere from Venice to Cancun. With over 24 hotels around the world, the team do have a knack for picking nice locations, which are usually really central but also manage to be on the quieter end of things. This recent location in Dublin is no different, situated in the quieter end of Temple Bar, in a spot that used to house a pretty garishly painted yellow and green trad bar. Luckily the team dispensed with the drawings of jigging leprechauns and flat-capped wearing men and sweeping brushes when they conducted the renovations.
The interior is pretty darkly lit, but memorabilia as varied as Bob Dylan's harmonica, Kurt Cobain's stripey jumper to Beyonce's top is nicely lit up behind the protective glasses boxes. Splashes of colour come from the vibrant paintings and street art that hang on the walls, these are mostly of the usual suspects. There are a lot of graphical colourful carpets and spraypaint around. There's also a big theme as you might imagine, so the odd door handle is in the shape of a music note or a guitar plec.
The room was compact with everything you'd need from a city centre hotel room. The centre point was a gigantic mirror that acted as a division between the bathroom area and the bedroom, it also had excellent lighting for all the heavy eye makeup that's a prerequisite of a rock and roll hotel. The bed was a good size and very comfy, with the kind of squidge that leaves an indentation of your body when you finally get up. A nice touch was the electric controls for lighting and temperatures, with made it feel very sci-fi.
The service and facilities
The service was great, very nice and accomodating, with tonnes of personality (as you might expect from the Hard Rock Hotel-ers). In terms of facilities, it's definitely geared towards people who are coming to Dublin for a good time, and as a result, the bar downstairs is popping with live music every night, and it feels like a kind of a destination, which is pretty unusual for a hotel bar.
Food and Drink
It's always a good sign when a hotel separates itself from its catering a little, which is what has happened with Zampas restaurant downstairs. The Peruvian-leaning spot is fast establishing itself as a food destination in its own right. With one of the few open-fire setups in town, it definitely leans into the meat-heavy options, while still having some great vegetarian dishes. Using a lot of seasonal Irish ingredients, the team integrate some iconic Peruvian dishes like ceviche, rice with duck and lashings of corn. The bar also has a nod to South America and is one of the few places in town you can find a decent pisco sour.
Was probably the atmosphere, it was genuinely a really fun place to be. Very inclusive, which would no doubt be very welcoming to a solo traveller. It's very self-contained, the type of place that you could easily stay in for the night and forget to leave, which is extremely rare for a hotel.
The entrance is ground-level and the hotel is fully lift-accessible.
While we didn't see that many kids there, I imagine the team are very accomodating to families.
Where's good to eat nearby?
The hotel restaurant Zampas is genuinely very good. If you are looking to venture out, Sano which is widely regarded as one of Dublin's most affordable and best pizza spots is literally a stone's throw away, there are also great Italians in nearby Temple Bar like Rosa Madre and Il Vicoletto. For quicker bites, there's the newly launched Southpaw, Lucky Tortoise, and Bunsen for burgers, and for the sweet of tooth there's Cloud Nine, House of Read and the Queen of Tarts not too fair away.
Would we recommend it?
Definitely, it's got one of the best city-centre locations, a great atmosphere, lovely staff and comfortable rooms. It's a great shout for people who want to experience Dublin but on their own terms, without much hacking around.
The Hard Rock Hotel also host a Rock n Stroll, which takes in some of Dublin's storied rock n roll history. Take in some of the typical and more off the beaten track highlights of Dublin city, all with a great yarn attached to them, the walking tour is a great way to spend an afternoon in Dublin.
Where is it again?
In Temple Bar's 12 Fleet Street
How to keep up with them?