The Emerald Isle
By Carrie Tinkham
The mention of Dublin, Ireland brings many things to mind, including Guinness and U2, and my visit didn’t disappoint in either regards. After a week of touring the Emerald Isle and staying in some nice and some not-so-nice B&Bs, The Clarence beckoned us to relax in sheer elegance. To be honest, our room could have been littered with cigarette butts and over-run with cockroaches and I would not have cared after the welcome we received when U2’s Bono opened the door and greeted us with a smile!
The Clarence exudes elegance and modern simplicity from the moment you step onto its hardwood floors. In 1996, Bono and the Edge (also of U2) purchased and restored the Clarence, allowing its original character to shine through. The forty-nine room hotel boasts The Tea Room, a small gourmet restaurant; The Octagon Bar, an aptly named room that serves drinks in eight-sided glasses on similarly shaped coasters; and The Study, an intimate reading room with oversized leather chairs, a large fireplace, and an endless array of newspapers from around the world. The sophisticated rooms are highlighted by incredible Egyptian cotton sheets that adorn the beds and an amazing marble bathroom. Light wood and funky colors complete the look but the view of the River Liffey demands most of your attention.
What the spa lacked in appearance, it more than made up for in service. My Canadian-trained therapist was extremely knowledgeable. She explained that in Ireland well-being and the maintenance of health are commonly overlooked issues, but that the spa industry is slowly taking hold. The atmosphere (or lack thereof) didn’t seem to matter once my treatments began. I was lost in tranquility. She started with the Knotts Landing a back, neck, and shoulder massage to make sure my muscles were completely melted before we started the exfoliating and moisturizing facial featuring Dr. Haushka products. Nue Blue Eriu Spa offers a good selection of high-end products and a wide variety of treatments to attend to almost every body part and need.
Dublin is a bustling metropolitan city with plenty of shopping, culture, and pubs to explore, but you shouldn’t miss The Clarence. I recommend visiting for the excellent service and attentive, friendly staff as well as the smiling face of Bono.
Deluxe room $380
Knots Landing 30-min massage, 38 euro
(+353) 1 407 0800