The Devlin: Cool hotel in leafy Dublin suburb is perfect base for exploring the city
With no shortage of hotels to choose from in Dublin, we decided to try somewhere a little bit different for our latest trip.
Our base was The Devlin in the leafy and fashionable Ranelagh district. It markets itself as the "coolest" hotel in Dublin.
After our stay, it is certainly up there as one of the coolest and funkiest we have stayed in while in the city.
At weekends, there is a real buzz about the place with the coolest tunes, friendliest staff, trendiest customers and creative cocktails.
This buzzing vibe is not only evident in the ground-floor Americana bar, but also in the fabulous Layla's window-encased rooftop restaurant.
The hotel is a gallery of local modern art, curated by street artist James Earley.
While the star of the show is a Tracey Emin I Came Here For You neon sign at reception, there are also pieces from the likes of Dorothy Cross, Cian McLoughlin and Eva Rothschild across the floors and bedrooms.
The hotel has four different types of compact pod rooms, from the basic ModPod to the luxurious TriPod, which sleeps three to four people with one double bed and two bunk booths.
The design of the rooms makes the most of the cosy space and, with Netflix on all TVs, it is easy to lie back on the bed watching your favourite show.
With every room also having a Marshall Bluetooth speaker to play your music, a Nespresso machine, a Dyson hairdryer, a range of goodies in the mini Smeg fridge and Munchie boxes (think Irish chocolate, Tayto crisps etc), you may not want to leave it at all.
Bathrooms are super sleek, with rainforest showers and local toiletries.
The hotel also has a basement 44-seater chic cinema, which shows a range of Hollywood blockbusters, cult classics, arthouse favourites and Irish films.
You can also order cocktails and food, including barbecue pulled pork belly sandwich, fish tacos and a selection of flatbreads while you watch.
The hotel has a real community feel, especially with its coffee shop, which opens its windows to the world outside each morning, serving drinks and food.
The fact it is not slap bang in the city centre added to its appeal for me as it gave us the best of both worlds - the chance to explore a new area of the city while being close enough to the centre (about a 15-minute walk or grab a tram five minutes away).
At night we caught a taxi into the city centre to try out two other hospitality landmarks which are also in the portfolio of the Press Up Entertainment Group that owns The Devlin.
The hospitality gurus have a string of hotels, bars and restaurants across Dublin, including the amazing Vintage Cocktail Club and Roberta's restaurant.
The multi-award winning Vintage Cocktail Club lies behind an unobtrusive black door marked only with the letters 'VCC' in Temple Bar. Inside, you will find a cocktail menu that is hard to beat anywhere in Ireland.
Designed in the style of a 1940s speakeasy, this is the spot for retro cocktails with a modern twist. We particularly recommend The Dirty Wizard. Equally delicious was the Condor and Curly Sue.
After cocktails we popped a few doors down the street to Roberta's restaurant, which features modern twists on classic New York Italian dishes.
For starters we shared some beautifully rich wild mushroom risotto with king oyster mushrooms, truffle mascarpone and parmesan curls, as well as crispy prawns with spicy nduja mayonnaise, house-dried tomato and red pepper stew. Both dishes were taste sensations.
For my main I had a perfectly cooked medium-rare 12oz sirloin steak with sides of grilled mushroom, handcut chips, onion ring and peppercorn sauce.
My other half opted for a juicy chicken supreme with king oyster and Paris brown mushrooms on a bed of orzo pasta with Alsace bacon and white wine cream.
Again, the food was top-notch, as was the side of mac and cheese. We didn't clear our plates, but that was because of the generous portion sizes. This place does quality as well as quantity extremely well.
Even though we were stuffed, we did share a dessert of chocolate delice with fresh raspberries, honeycomb, caramel and vanilla ice cream. Trust me when I say the delice was just delicious.
The following morning, after having enjoyed ourselves immensely at the VCC and Roberta's, we had breakfast at Layla's, which offers great views over the city and has 1950s-inspired leather booths. You can easily spot the River Liffey and the Avivia Stadium from up there.
My Devlin Breakfast was one of the best I have had in ages. It included two organic fried eggs, sausages, streaky bacon, black and white pudding, fried potatoes and Boston Beans, a wonderful mix of beans and chorizo in a spicy sauce.
I am reliably informed the food for lunch and dinner is also highly impressive, with dishes including salt marsh lamb rump with caponata, potato and courgette rosti, tomato and caper vinaigrette, pizzas and grilled fish.
If that choice isn't enough for you (how could it not be?), there are also a range of great places to eat and drink nearby, including Bunsen burger. If you have been to Bunsen in Belfast, you will know I need say no more about how fantastic their burgers are.
To walk off all those calories, make sure to walk into Dublin city centre to catch one of its many amazing attractions, such as the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin Castle, Trinity College, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum or The Little Museum of Dublin.
The Devlin, 117-119 Ranelagh Road, Dublin 6.
Phone 003531 4066550 or visit www.thedevlin.ie. Rooms from £130 per night.
Vintage Cocktail Club, 15 Crown Alley, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.
Phone 003531 6754547, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.vintagecocktailclub.com
Roberta's, 1 Essex Street East, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.
Phone 003531 616 9612 or wmail email@example.com