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~~Name dropping? Me??~~ What connects Marconi, Queen Victoria, Frank Sinatra, Laurel and Hardy, Michael Collins and myself? The answer, if you haven't already guessed, is that we have all stayed at the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire. (pronounced Dun Leary) You didn't know I had such eminent connections did you? This fabulous place has been open as the Royal Marine since 1863 although there has been an Hotel on the site since 1828. Various refurbishments have taken place over the last 150 years but it is still magnificient and unspoiled in it's original grandeur. ~~It's ferry, ferry handy!~~ I have visited the Royal Marine many times over the last 20 years but until last week never had the pleasure of staying there. We had to catch an early ferry from Dun Laoghaire Port and my colleague noticed that the RM had a special offer of £32 per room. We leaped at the chance of staying there and booked online immediately. The hotel is about a five minute walk from the Ferry terminal building so it couldn't have been more convenient for us. You will find the Hotel on Marine Road overlooking the bay. You can't really miss it! A very short drive up from the railway station, turn left down the drive and there is ample parking for residents outside and in the underground car park. Parking is free for residents but you must remember to get your ticket endorsed when you check out. The underground car park has a lift which takes you to the main lobby and here you will also find an entrance to the gym. (I admired the physique of folk going into the gym but not enough to tempt me into it.) ~~Going up in the world.~~ Emerging from the car park lift into the Hotel Lobby, my first impression was of space, luxury and peace. Various areas were available to eat, wait or just sit and relax in, the way the space was divided by pillars and plants meant that the tables and chairs dotted about had an intimate feel to them. The space was used well for the comfort of the hotel guests. Comfortable sofas and chairs seemed to abound. The ceilings were elegant and highly decorated in keeping with the age of the hotel. It just looked right. The check in desk was to the left and manned by two receptionists who soon had us booked in. I think that the people who book you in to an hotel leave a lasting impression. These two were genuinely welcoming, gave us all the information we needed and actually looked pleased to see us. I have booked into hotels before where the receptionist barely bothered to look up from the computer, let alone smiled and talked to me like a real person. We were booked in in a matter of minutes and given directions to our rooms. ~~A room with a view? Not really~~ The room key was an electronic card, I was given two. It also worked to control the electric to my room so that a few minutes after taking the card from the slot just inside the door power to the room is cut. More and more hotels use this system and it must save huge amounts of energy. My room was in the new wing and was large and well designed. It contained a king size and a single bed. The pillows provided were ample with spares in the wardrobe if needed. The bed linen was crisp white cotton it looked so inviting I nearly decided to forego my dinner and get straight into bed. The overall colour scheme of the bedding, cushions, curtains and carpet were lovely autumnal hues which blended or contrasted beautifully. It was a real pleasure to look at. The wardrobe was a good size with one end dedicated to take an ironing board and very efficient iron with a huge long cord. There was plenty of hanging space and easily enough hangers, four good sized shelves, a long mirror in the open space between the two halves and a shelf for your suitcases. I couldn't think of any storage requirements that hadn't been met neatly. I wish more hotel rooms were equipped in the same way! One side of the room had a long desk with large drawers at the end. These contained a slide out unit that held a kettle and tea, coffee and hot chocolate making doodabs. Free biccies too! What really pleased me was that rather nice mugs were provided rather than teacups. (I usually get to the bottom of my teacup and even though my head knows the tea is gone, part of me is still wondering where the rest of my tea is!) This unit also contained a little fridge and a decent sized safe. There was a large flat screen tv on the wall over the desk with a keyboard provided should you wish to go online. The remote for the TV was in a drawer and was extremely easy to use, even for me. I didn't have much time to watch but caught the News in the morning, it was nice to lie in bed and surf through the channels. (Lazy me!) The wall opposite the door is floor to ceiling window with a door out onto a little balcony. The view was really the only thing about the room which was not delightful. My room overlooked a row of terraced housing and the service entry gates of the hotel. The houses looked okay but the gates and driveway there were fairly tatty and let the rest of the place down. I have to say, having only paid £32.00 for the room it would be churlish to complain about a pair of untidy gates, so I looked the other way at the church at the end of the street. No problem! The bathroom was a delight, equipped with a full sized gleaming bath, seperate shower cubicle with a powerful multi setting shower, lots of luxurious white towels, really nice smelling toiletries, a large handbasin with plenty of room on the side for my odds and ends and a hairdryer that works better than my own does. It had obviously been designed and equipped with the satisfaction and comfort of their guests as a top priority. The bathroom and toilet were exceptionally clean as was the rest of my room, the whole place reflected care and attention to detail. I couldn't help wondering if my room was one of the least expensive in the Marine Hotel, what extra luxuries the posher rooms and suites contained? ~~General Overview~~ The Marine hotel boasts 228 Bedrooms, 14 Dedicated Meeting Rooms and a Conference Centre. I had previously looked into the meeting rooms and conference centre in case we needed somewhere in that area for our meetings. The well equipped conference centre can seat up to 750 delegates. It looked extremely well organised and the list of available facilities I was presented with was incredibly comprehensive. I won't go into them all, mostly because I can't remember enough to do it justice, the person in charge of the conference centre and meeting rooms managed to combine friendliness with an air of efficiency and competency. I can imagine that anyone booking the place would be very well looked after. More details can be found on their website at the end of the review. As far as I could see throughout the hotel all areas were available to those needing wheelchairs. ~~The Spa~~ My colleague has a thing about spas, she visits them on any possible occasion. The spa at the Marine has nine different treatment rooms and specialises in aromatherapy treatments, pregnancy massage, sports injuries, flotation relaxation and many other treatments I had never heard of! Whilst my colleague raved on about mud packs and seeweed I couldn't help thinking you could just wander down to the bay and roll around in all that, on the beach but I am a Philistine. when it comes to spas and I must take her word for the fact that the spa is fabulous. It certainly looked and smelled wonderful but I didn't use it myself. ~~The Pier Health Club~~ This looked really 'state of the art (and so did some of the blokes using it!). It had equipment that looked like posh instruments of torture, a sauna, a steam room and a beautiful swimming pool. The use of this is free to residents and it's kept at a lovely warm temperature. I had a swim here a few months ago before catching the ferry home and it was like being on a tropical holiday until I walked back outside into the Irish weather! If you are in the area and want to try the health club they can be contacted for times and special offers at firstname.lastname@example.org ~~Eating, drinking and the Craic!~~ ~The Dun Restaurant~ The Dun Restaurant in the Marine is a light airy place with fantastic views across the bay. I've loved the food I have had here whenever I've visited. The seafood is well presented and reasonably priced considering how close to Dublin the hotel is. The menu tends to focus on locally available foodstuffs and the veg is always served fresh. The Ceasar salad here is one of my favourites and the Seafood chowder is thick enough to stand several spoons up in. The waiters are discretely at hand to see that everything is to your liking and the wine waiter doesn't patronise you, he just likes to enthuse and inform without making you feel like an 'eejit'. He gets my vote. The restaurant is well patronised by locals as well as guests. ~The Hardy Bar~ We ordered bar food from here rather than eating in the more formal Dun Restaurant. We had a mixture of dishes between us. I had gammon and egg, it was delicious but too large to finish. Another colleague joined us for dinner and she had ribs, of course I had to pinch one. It was gorgeous, just the right amount of sticky sauce and as tender as any I'd had before. The service here was prompt and attentive and the meal for three of us with drinks came to E38.00 which seemed very reasonable to me. Some evenings there is live entertainment and free snacks. I keep being there on the wrong days so I haven't heard the live music yet. I will soon! ~The Bay Lounge~ Another lovely area to sit in and admire the scenery, drinks and light meals are served in here. It's a very comfortable place to just chill out in. Tea, coffee and drinks are served all day here. The decor is very palm court meets your best lounge! The sofas and chairs are comfortable enough for the weary traveller to nod off in. ~Laurel's Bar~ This is above the Hardy Bar and is used for private functions mainly. It has it's own seperate entrance outside. ~~~Nearly done~~~ There is so much to see and experience in this grand old hotel. Even though this is a long review I still haven't mentioned everything about it or all the extra events that happen here. I feel that the hotel manages to combine the best of the old and the new. Many new hotels feel soul-less and many old hotels feel past their sell by date. The Marine Hotel has been refurbished so well that the balance between historical grandeur and modern convenience and comfort has been struck perfectly. If you are travelling to Ireland I advise you to take advantage of their very generous special offers and indulge in some 'olde world' Irish hospitality. Thank you for reading. Contact Details Royal Marine Hotel, Marine Road, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland 00353 (0) 1 230 0030 00353 (0) 1 230 0029 email@example.com ..