Arrival/Check-in: I arrived in Dublin after driving through fog, sleet and snow on the motorway from Galway. The 252-room Gibson Hotel is located on the north bank of the River Liffey, east of downtown, in the revitalized Docklands area, and the warm glow of lights within the hotel’s glass-cube façade was a welcome sight on a darkening winter afternoon. The expansive lobby is located on the third floor, accessed by an exterior glass elevator from street level. The property was lightly filled on a Sunday night, and the friendly young woman at the front desk immediately upgraded my room, provided information about the hotel’s underground parking garage and informed me that although the hotel was unusually quiet, the bar and restaurant were of course open for business until midnight. (28/30)
Guest Quarters: My one-bedroom suite was located on the fifth floor, and one of its more dramatic amenities was the large, landscaped terrace, accessed by bedroom and living room doors. The terrace covered part of the fourth-floor roof and was shared by about 10 other guestrooms on my floor. With wicker chairs and teak benches, wood planters with embedded low-level lighting, a few potted trees and a meandering walking path, it reminded me of New York City’s new High Line elevated park. If it had been summer, I would have enjoyed sitting outside, with views of the river and the Dublin skyline.
Room furnishings were earth-toned, modern and designer-driven. Flat-screen TVs were in both living room and bedroom; a work desk had plenty of outlets and a silver metal desk lamp. Wall switches controlled the motorized wooden blinds and drapes over the floor-to-ceiling windows. A large, white-tiled bathroom with tub, glass shower stall, heated towel racks and two round porcelain sinks was spotlessly clean. Complimentary WiFi is available throughout the property. My room, like the rest of the hotel, was filled with artwork: prints by Irish artists Tom Moore and Charles Cullen, photographs by Stuart Smyth, oil paintings by Richard Gorman. A collection of art, travel and photography books sat on a low shelf in the living room. It was easy to get comfortable in the exquisitely trendy but unpretentious environment. (29/30)
Services/Amenities: As a midweek corporate meeting venue for European firms and local companies based in Dublin’s new International Financial Services Centre, the hotel offers nine dedicated conference rooms overlooking Dublin Port, a 300-seat theater, an 875-space underground parking garage and a fully equipped fitness center. A relaxation area includes a steam room, sauna, foot baths and two Japanese copper baths situated on an outdoor terrace overlooking the city.
I enjoyed the spacious Coda bistro restaurant with its two-story ceiling, soaring wine rack and eclectic artwork. Coda serves breakfast to hotel guests, also offering a nice selection of lunch and dinner items, including tasty dim sum. The Gibson’s Hemidemisemiquaver bar is 30 feet long, and the adjoining outdoor terrace, heated in winter, overlooks the O2 arena and outdoor concerts in Point Village Square. (38/40)
The Experience: Since opening in mid-2010, the hotel has hosted the celebrity rock groups, singers and dancers playing at O2; and a musical theme is woven into the hotel’s public spaces. Works by rock photographers Ken Regan and Pattie Boyd are unobtrusively displayed, as are Gered Mankowitz’s paintings of Jimi Hendrix. The names of the restaurant and bar are musical terms, and both fill up early — and late, when weekend concerts are scheduled at O2. The revitalized Docklands district is a stunning urban renewal project that includes the Kevin Roche-designed Convention Centre Dublin; the post-modern, Daniel Libeskind-designed Grand Canal Theatre; and Santiago Calatrava’s graceful Samuel Beckett Bridge. The spectacular curvilinear Aviva stadium is within walking distance.
I found the staff helpful and friendly. The Docklands location was convenient for my meetings. Access to other areas of Dublin was easy via the modern and frequent Luas light rail tram, which stops close to the hotel’s front door. Dublin Airport is only 10–15 minutes by taxi.
Total Score: 95/100
The Gibson Hotel
E. Wall Road
Dublin 1, Ireland
tel 353 1 681 5000
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