“ Skylon Hotel / Upper Drumcondra Road / Dublin / Ireland / Tel: +353 1 837 9121 / Fax: +353 1 8372778. „
Generally speaking, when it comes to special occasions like weddings, I always end up driving. But on this occasion, I put my foot down. I simply could not be bothered to drive back from Dublin, and more importantly, not be able to have a drink.
Money comes into my descisions, more and more these days. I would have loved to have been able to afford to stay in a fancy-pants hotel, and be waited on hand and foot. Mr Brown, has caused our purse strings to become so tight, that I fear the knot may never come out. So I was more in the market for an economy hotel.
Parking is a huge problem in Dublin, and so I was looking for a hotel with free parking. I could have got many hotels, right down in the city centre, for a decent price. However, city centre hotels will not have parking, but rather get you in cheap to the local multi-story. You will end up spending around twenty euros a night to park your car!
That said, I knew from previous stays, that it worked out cheaper to stay on the outskirts of Dublin, and either walk in, get the bus, or a taxi. I would not suggest driving through the city either, especially if your driving is as bad as mine! On previous trips, I remember driving by the Skylon, and thinking it would be quite well situated. So, on this occasion I looked up the website.
The website looked ok, and was easy to navigate. It said all the right things (though It would be a rather useless website if it told you the hotel was rubbish.), and the rates could not be beaten. They were quoting 84eoro for the night without breakfast. The breakfast did not bother me too much, as I was not planning to be up too early the next day, but you could add this on at any stage if you changed your mind. Also, the parking was free.So, we booked. We did not even have to pay a deposit.
The day came, and after work we ditched the kids with the babysitter (my mum.), and set off for Dublin. I live in northern ireland, yet the drive down only took aroun two hours. I knew where I was going, so for a change the trip was relatively stress free. We were, however quite tired from the drive. We got parked easily in the grounds of the hotel, and entered. Initially, I was really impressed. A lot of time and effort has obviously been spent on the lobby, and the large and spacious bar. The lobby was huge, and nicely decorated. It looked clean, and business-like, but at the same time it had homely touches. Large, comfy couches were everywhere, and there was a massive tv in the corner. Unfortunately, we were only there for the night, and did not have as much time as we would have liked to take in all the amenities. I did, however, notice that there was a PC that you could use, as well as free wi-fi for your laptops. Brief discussion with guests, led me to believe that the service was good, and the internet connection was fast.
As we approached the desk, I noticed that the hotel seemed understaffed, compared to where I have stayed before. One girl was at reception, and I could see bar staff. Apart from that there was no-one. The girl at the desk seemed snowed under, and it took her a long time to get to us. I wasn't annoyed by this, as it was not her fault, but it wasn't helping us get to the wedding reception any faster! She was pleasant, and quick with the transaction. The usual swipe of the debit card incurred. She said that this was in case we needed room service, but we all know she was checking I was good for it. Luckily, on this occasion, I was!
We were told how to get to our room, but no other assistance was offered. This was a bit annoying, as my wife has arthritis, and assistance would have been nice. We took the lift, and when it opened, my good view of the hotel started to fade. Suddenly, I was in the film 'The shining'. Horrible patterend carpets were everywhere. The receptionist did not warn me that the lift was actually a TRADIS, and that we had gone back a few decades on the ascent. Also, it was noticeable that the upstairs of the hotel was not as well looked after, as the stunning lobby. Perhaps, this was to do with the credit crunch, but not as much money was being spent on upkeep, as there should have been.
The room was opened by the key-card, that had been given to us at reception. It was easy to open, and you then use that card to switch on the electricity. When it came on, so did the extractor fan from the en-suite. It was quite loud, and I could see how it would grate on you after a while. The room was quite large, but the furnishings were very old fashioned. Although mahagany in colour, the wardrobes, bedside tables, and the dressing table were cheap looking. The room was also a bit dusty. There was a small lcd tv on the wall, but on searching the room, there was no remote. I did not bother to chase this up, as we were in a rush.
In contrast to the rather bleak looking room, the bathroom was shockingly bright, and rather too clinical looking. It was small, and had a small bath with a shower in it. Plenty of towels, and the usual toiletries. It just looked like it had not been changed in thirty years. Functional, if a little laboured. We changed, and while I was waiting on my wife getting ready, I made coffe using the usual facilities. There was lots of tea, coffee, sugar. Those little hard biscuits that you get in hotels, and two cups. However, there was not a teaspoon in sight.
There was a trouser press, and a hairdryer. I do doubt, however, that they would pass electrical testing. As for the TV, by this stage I had worked out how to switch it on. Unfortunately, it come on at full volume, and scared the ..... Well, I'll not tell you what it scared out of me, but it was very loud!
When we were ready to leave, we travelled a few centuries forward again in the TARDIS, and arrived in the lobby. We asked the receptionist to phone a taxi for us, which she did straight away. While we waited, we strolled into the bar, which had the biggest tv I have ever seen, and generally looked a nice place to be. The only down side, was the tv was delayed, in comparison to the tv in the lobby, both of which could be heard at the same time.
The taxi to the city centre cost us 14euro, though I am told a bus would cost 2.20euro. The hotel is five minutes drive from the centre of dublin, ten minutes by bus, or if you are feeling fit, you could walk it in half an hour. It is two mile from the centre, and two miles from the airport. If you are going over for sport, it is really close to Croke Park.
When we got back to the hotel in the wee small hours, we were met by the extractor fan. We got changed as quickly as possible, just so we could switch the damn thing off. I did not dare try the tv again. The room was nice and quiet, until at four in the morning the fire alarms went off! It sounded like one of those air raid sirens, and thoroughly ruined my nights sleep.
In the morining, we got up and went down to the lobby to check-out. I am not a complainer, so I just paid up without a word. Although we did not choose the breakfast, being a commited reviewer, I dawdled down to see what it looked like. The room was funtional, if not fashionable. The breakfasts looked really tasty, but the room was too dirty for me to eat in. Certainly not unhealthily so, but it was not to the standard I usually maintain. My descision not to have the breakfast was vindicated.
I am a firm believer that you get what you pay for. Perhaps I am being harsh, as it is a budget hotel. However, it was awarded three stars and I do not think it deserves them. Last year I stayed in the Regency Airport hotel, which is only a stones throw from the Skylon. It is also a three star, but it is twice the hotel the skylon is. Its rates, are not too bad either. The hotel was bearable, as we were only using it as a place to sleep. I would not reccomend to anyone that they stay for too long. The sound of that extractor fan everyday would drive me mad. Its ok (ish.) as a short stopper, and in fairness you will not find cheaper. Overall, though it is a poorer alternative. If Gordon Brown has not taken all your money already, then spend a few extra quid and stay somewhere else!!!
My colleague and I arrived at the conference centre we were booked in to and discovered to our consternation that the rooms allotted to us were not good enough. After a short debate we went down the road to the Dublin Skylon and asked for accomodation there. We dickered with them about the price and finally settled on two single rooms en suite at 74.00 euro each per night plus 10 euro for breakfast per day.
The desk staff were friendly and efficient and soon gave us our keys and a breakfast voucher.
I had requested a smoking room and was allotted one on the third floor.
The room keys were a plastic pass and worked perfectly first time. (Either that or I was stone cold sober enough to work out which way they went in!)
My room was a fair size with a very comfortable double bed, built in wardrobes, a desk, table and easy chair, the carpet was patterned but a bit on the dusty side.
There was a small wall mounted tv which had seen better times. It had no remote control and I was too lazy to go down to reception to ask for one. However, with a bit of fiddling and twiddling I managed to get a decent selection of channels. I frightened the life out of myself and possibly guests in adjoining rooms, when I accidentally turned the tv to full volume and couldn't seem to get it lower for ages.
My windows only opened a few inches and overlooked an uninspiring series of yards and back gardens plus the roof and pipework of some of the extended ground floor of the hotel. The positive side of this less than scenic view was the quietness it afforded. Apparently there was a lot of road noise on the other side of the hotel.
The bathroom was quite small and contained one of those funny three quarter sized baths with a shower. There was a loo and a decent sized handbasin with the obligatory toiletries and shower caps. Two sparklingly clean glasses were set at the side of the basin. No flannel was provided.
The bathroom was very clean but the doors were dusty.
The shower was powerful and hot and I really enjoyed it. There is nothing worse than finishing a day's work and getting into a shower that meanly dribbles sparse amounts of cool water over you! This shower although looking a bit antiquated, delivered the goods!
The towels were not large but were soft and plentiful.
The main problem with the bathroom was the incredible noise that the extractor fan made! It was like a steam train waiting at a station. It wasn't possible to use the light without the fan, so going to the loo late at night must have disturbed guests in the adjoining rooms. I would not have been happy if this din was happening in the room next to mine. (I wasn't too ecstatic about it going on in mine!)
The lobby of the hotel was spacious and very comfortable. There were a lot of couches and easy chairs arranged around tables. A tv was on in one corner for those who wanted to watch. The noise from it was not obtrusive if you felt like just sitting and chatting.
The tv in the adjoining hotel bar lagged five seconds behind which was strange, sitting where we were one evening you could hear everything twice!
The bar was quite large and busy. The staff were attentive and didn't keep you waiting long to be served.
There was a good range of food to be bought in there which looked appetising. I can't comment on it because we didn't eat any evening meals in. I never got round to looking at the restaurant menu.
The breakfast/dining room was spacious and airy. It had the strangest light fittings I have seen. They were chandeliers enveloped in a peach coloured cover. Very odd!
The breakfasts were large, well cooked and served quickly. There was a choice of fruit, juices and cereals to start, laid out for you to help yourself to. The coffee and tea were self serve too. The coffee was overbrewed and not pleasant but the tea was okay. There was a rotary toaster which actually worked and delivered your toast quickly and cooked properly. (Usually the damned things either incinerate your toast or deliver it uncooked after making you wait for ages as the bread is trundled around it's insides.)
The big problem for me about the dining room was the fact that the carpets still had the remnants of last night's dinners adorning them. The room was simply not hygeinic enough for a dining room! We called the attention of a waiter to a mess of chips on the floor and he apologetically and rapidly removed them. There were a lot of crumbs and food bits. To be fair, the cutlery and plates were spotless but the debris on the floor made us uneasy and we chose not to eat in the hotel except at breakfst time.
To get breakfast the second day I had to go to reception for another voucher which made me feel like I was applying for free school meals.
There was a computer and printer situated at a desk near reception. I think it cost about 10 euro per hour. There was also wifi reception in the lobby area provided free. The computer internet connection was speedy.
There were conference rooms and a fitness room available, neither of which I got a chance to use or view.
Outside there is a heated area with tables and chairs for smokers were you could sit and watch foolhardy pedestrians trying to cross the very busy Drumcondra road. (If it wasn't for the courtesy of Irish drivers that would often be an impossible road to walk across. As it was, someone always slowed to allow folk to cross in one piece!)
From what I could see, there was easy wheelchair access throughout the hotel.
On the morning of the second day I opened my window and the top metal catch fell off, bounced off my head and scratched my arm quite badly as I reflexively tried to catch it! I was less than impressed at being attacked by bits of my hotel room at 5.45 in the morning! (Sometimes I wonder, in an egocentric sort of way, if I can go anywhere without something weird happening to me?) I rubbed the lump on my head and went for a shower. The throbbing of my bonce echoed and amplified by the extractor fan!
When I told the staff about this later, (and about the big hole in the wall cause by the door stopper not stopping the door handle crashing into the wall!) again they were most apologetic!
When we went to check out of the hotel the price of our breakfasts was deducted from our bill which made me fell a bit better about the place.
The Skylon is close to Dublin City centre and a five minute bus journey will bring you to O'Connell Street for 2.20 euros. A taxi will cost about 12 euros. Or you can stroll in in about half an hour. It's a nice walk and you can admire the Georgian houses and many churches along the route.
It takes between 15- 30 minutes to the airport depending on the time of day. A taxi there cost about 16 euros. The hotel is happy to call one for you or you can get the bus there from outside.
Croke Park stadium is a ten minute walk and the screams of the crowds there are plainly audible if there is a big sporting event on. (It is quite funny to listen to, you can tell who is winning without needing to be there!)
Across the road is a selection of shops, pubs and restaurants. Our particular favourite was the Cheese Pantry which served delicious meals and had a fantastic range of cheeses and delicacies to buy from the shop at the front of the dining area. Don't miss this place. There are at least three other restaurants immediately opposite the hotel and all of them serve good food.
The seafood chowder in the pub is delicious and a bargain at 5 euro for a big bowl full.
This is a nice enough hotel which is suffering from financial cutbacks. The lack of adequate upkeep of the fabric of the hotel was obvious everywhere except for the rather nice lobby. Routine maintenance work and adequte cleaning was not being performed where needed. The rooms were showing signs of wear and tear ranging from holes in the wall to scuffed or torn wallpapaper.
The staff were extremely friendly and helpful. If they could help in any way they did so. They went a long way towards redeeming the hotel in my opinion. They took our complaints, observations and requests for information or help seriously. I wish all hotel staff were this good because I have found many hotel staff in Dublin to be jaded and indifferent.
It's a good location and reasonably priced. (Particularly if your employer is picking up the tab!) I wish the staff had a hotel they could be more proud of and that they deserved.
Update. 27/06/09 The Skylon has had a lot of refurbishment done and the halls and rooms are considerably smarter, new carpets in many of the rooms and very smart flat screen tv in mine. The place is looking up!
MY PREVIOUS VISITS TO DUBLIN were always a day-time engagement since it is only 4 hours car drive or 6 hours by bus (return) from Belfast. But during the fourth visit to the south of Ireland last Easter, my Irish friends and I decided to stay over night at Skylon Hotel. Frankly, the hotel is not new to us especially for my friends since they had the chance to book themselves few years ago, or they always park the car here during their day time visits.
One week prior to the holiday, my friends booked on-line for 99 euros for a triple bedroom night accommodation. A 20 euros deposit fee (for per night per room basis) was paid by credit card and the balance was paid upon arrival at the hotel front desk. After the on-line booking, an email was sent to confirm our accommodation. The email provides the details of the payment made, room rate and description, amount, cancellation and deposit policy, and a brief description of the direction to the hotel (if coming from the airport which takes only 10 minutes drive). I found out from the email that the deposit is non-transferable and no-refundable, thus cancellation should be done 2 days prior to the arrival resulting to no penalty. However, for unavoidable circumstances and can not meet the 2 day minimum allowance and non-arrival/no show-up, the remaining balance equivalent to the first night accommodation will be charged.
We left Belfast at 3pm on a fair weather and we arrived the hotel on time to explore the city before dark. The parking was not a problem even though it was fully occupied; we managed to get a space in just few minutes. The front desk personnel were efficient enough to finalise our accommodation, including the three card keys and the free-flowing tea/coffee making items. Carrying our personnel stuff (bags for our clothes, including extra food and drinks); we proceeded to the elevator and happily found our room at the fourth level. The hotel has only 5 floors, thus going up and down is not a problem which stairs are quite convenient to take as they are located at the middle of each floor. The stairs are not narrow, well-lighted and carpeted.
Opening doors using card keys sometimes is a tricky business. Since we were in a hurry to lie down and feel the clean bed sheets and pillows after a long travel, it took us a while to open the door. As expected, the room contains 3 separate single beds, chairs and tables, ironing board, drawers and hangers, coffee/tea making accessories, two TVs (the flat one on the wall was not working), towels and toiletries were properly arranged inside the toilet. Luckily, we have a big glass window facing the east which is very good to have a natural light coming in the room. Also, the hotel is quite aware of the noise problem in the building, and it seems that the remote control for the TV is fixed (permanently) in a minimum level just enough for people inside the room to hear without bothering the adjoining rooms. In general, the room is not really big for three people but it has a 'homely atmosphere' where everything we need is in place, except that the toilet does not have an exhaust fan. Anyway, we hurried up, had some sip of coffee, had quick showers and we proceeded to the city centre for a light meal with bottles of Guinness.
Well, it is not really a downside of the hotel for being 25 minutes walk away from the city centre. It is situated at the outskirt of Dublin but having a walk towards the centre is not a frustrating thing to do removing some extra calories! Having a taxi ride is an option at 12 euros from the city centre especially during late hours. Along the way, it is noticeable some distinct architectural designs as Dublin is much known for this colourful and bright doors. Like Belfast, it is easy to walk around the city with wide roads and friendly pedestrians. Banks are also accessible for quick euro withdrawals and having an Ulster Bank account; it is quite convenient to use it in the Republic despite the currency difference. We had a nice time walking around the city, visited some scenic attractions having the 'Sightseeing Tour' package of 15 euros per person.
During our stay, we took our meals outside the hotel since it is likely cheaper for us to have it outside for a wide range of choices. However, the hotel has restaurants and bars, including the lounges that provide wonderful areas to enjoy its food and drinks - burgers to pasta and beers to juices. In particular, the Cosmopolitan Bar has been renovated to provide meals everyday, while the Rendezvous Room Restaurant serves both breakfast and dinner, including a wide range of wines to choose from. The hotel is also a good venue for meetings, conferences and other business gatherings. It has also an internet connection, with one computer and printer set-up near the front desk area at 10 euros per hour. For people who have their own laptops/notebooks, the hotel is one of the 'hotspots' areas for wireless broadband access provided by Eircom. A brochure is available in the hotel for simple guide in accessing this wireless connection at affordable rates. In addition, there are drink dispensers or vending machines in every floor which quite convenient for emergency need. There are also take away stores, convenient shops and pubs, just few minutes walk from the hotel as alternatives, away from the busy atmosphere of the city centre.
FINALLY, the hotel is not really a grand place to stay but it offers a simple homely ambience for people who want to explore Dublin at a limited time. It is very accessible from both airport direction and coming from Belfast. Some attractions nearby include the popular 'Croke Park', 'Guinness' storehouse and the OConnell Street. Lastly, we had a good night sleep despite its location in a major road like Drumcondra Road, and I am looking forward for another short 'homely' experience at Skylon before the year ends.
The three star Skylon Hotel, Dublin, is an ideal accommodation for guests of both business and leisure pursuits. Dublin Skylon Hotel rooms can accommodate up to three people. Comfortable furnishings, warm and cosy bedding and all the facilities you could want, will provide you with a wonderful stay and a very relaxing nights sleep. It is located just three miles from Dublin Airport and convenient to the major routes to and from Dublin. It is also very close to the city centre and Dublins financial district as well as popular tourist attractions such as Guinness storehouse the writers museum, and Croke Park, the home of Irelands favourite sport, G.A.A.