The Westin, Dublin
Doing the Christmas shopping needn’t be a chore, especially if you fancy a trip to Dublin. Although I live at the end of the Dart Line, an overnight stay in the city is a real treat and feels like I’m on an adventure in another city. This time I took my daughter, Nicole, with me as she jumped at the offer of a night at the Westin Hotel, close to College Green. I’ve taken my family here on Christmas Eve for lunch over the last couple of years as it’s the perfect spot to soak up the festive atmosphere. This November they are offering some gorgeous extras that include dinner in the Moreland Grill, valet parking to the door and a personal shopping experience with Brown Thomas. Staying at The Westin is a truly five star experience and Alan, the concierge at the door, made us feel right at home and couldn’t be more helpful.
A bottle of Prosecco on ice was waiting on our arrival and some tasty bite size desserts. The rooms have had a complete revamp since my last stay and the ensuite showers are huge. Dining is always a delight at the Moreland Grill and the steaks are our personal favourite. Next morning after a hearty breakfast of Eggs Benedict and Pancakes we were more than ready to tackle the job at hand in Brown Thomas. We had the option of a personal shopper but instead we picked assistance from the Beauty Consultant. The Beauty Style Team at Brown Thomas is made up of two professionals and we were looked after by Elena Costello who is a wealth of knowledge about products to suit all ages and tastes. She guided us through the best buys for our personal needs with some pampering too. The service is €80 for a sixty minute session and is redeemable against any purchases made on the day. Her suggestion for my ever diminishing eyebrows has made a great difference to makeup routine. We’ve some new ideas for our Christmas wish list too. Included in this package is the luxury of having your shopping dropped directly to the car so you don’t have to carry it back to the hotel.
Alan was ready with a smile and my car keys when it came time to check out. This package is a great idea for a birthday gift for someone who is unlucky enough to have their special day close to Christmas.
Overnight package for two from €450 per night. For more details and bookings visit www.thewestinhoteldublin.com.
Brooks Hotel, Dublin
Another favourite stay and shop hotel that I like to recommend is the lovely Brooks Hotel on Drury Street. This 4-star boutique hotel is surrounded by theatres, great restaurants, and a vibrant mix of unique shops. I paid a visit to check out the extras on offer and was enthralled by the cosy cinema with entertainment for hotel guests. Francesca’s restaurant is a lively spot and menu includes a yummy selection of Irish pork, beef and fish in an atmosphere that will make you feel you are not in the capital. My favourite spot in the hotel is the library which doubles as the residents’ lounge. Here guests can borrow a book by an Irish author and read it during their stay. The list of authors is varied with something to suit all tastes, there’s even a copy of ‘Journey to the Heartland’ from yours truly!
Brook’s Shop Local and Stay Package includes Tea or coffee and freshly made scones with homemade jam on arrival. You’ll be served with a glass of Prosecco before dinner in Francesca’s Restaurant and enjoy the Shop and drop service which includes exclusive discounts in local retailers. All this for only €249 per night. https://www.originalirishhotels.com/hotels/brooks-hotel
If you’d rather do your shopping outside Dublin then a relaxing stay at a boutique hotel in the heart of Kilkenny might be just the ticket to ease you into Christmas Shopping. Kilkenny is a city rich with medieval heritage and alive with a vibrant arts culture. The Pembroke’s city centre location in the heart of Kilkenny’s old city quarter makes it a great choice with a selection of Irish boutiques, Kilkenny’s Craft centre, Kilkenny Castle and many other shops and attractions to spoil you.
If you are tired from all the shopping then the Mint Spa in the hotel offers treatments too which will leave you all set to enjoy the local nightlife. There are many restaurants to tantalise your tastebuds in Kilkenny. One of my personal recommendations is Ristorante Rinuccini which has the most authentic dishes you will savour outside of Rome. So rather than hopping on an airplane to do your Christmas shopping you can enjoy the flavor a foreign city only down the road. Another attraction is the price as an overnight stay is only €159 per room with breakfast included. https://www.originalirishhotels.com/hotels/pembroke-kilkenny