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Hotel Review: The Fleet Street Hotel in Dublin, Ireland

When my mom and I went on our European trip, we started in Dublin. Primarily because the airfare into Dublin was less than any other European city we had been considering, and I wanted to take my mom to more than just the United Kingdom. So we picked Dublin, and I began my hotel hunt. Unfortunately, the hotel I had decided on in my previous post was no longer available when we were finally ready to book, but I found a just-as-inexpensive hotel in an even better part of Dublin for around US$40/night. The Fleet Street Hotel at Temple Bar. Reviews on TripAdvisor were favourable (at the time), and the photos on Travelocity and their own website looked nice, so we booked it for our 3 night stay.

After about 3 hours in the hotel room on our first day, we really wished we had stayed elsewhere.

The hotel itself is fairly rundown. There used to be a pub/restaurant attached, but it was closed down and made the place feel a little creepy. We asked for a room in the back to avoid the street noise, and we were given a room facing a back alley. The back alley that all the delivery vehicles used for the stores, so we were woken up around four in the morning each day by the noises of the deliveries.

It’s an odd building, quite literally looks like something designed by MC Escher. The most likely explanation is that the hotel took over several row houses and converted things to rooms, making it a bit of a maze. But the funnier thing had to be being told we were on the second floor….and to take the lift, turn left, then go down 2 short flights of steps. I wish I was kidding. The worst thing was, my mom and I both had large suitcases (with wheels) as this was leg 1 of a 15-day trip! Trying to carry the suitcases down the short flights was rough, and it was even harder when we had to check out. The staircases didn’t have any railing to hold onto, you just had to use the wall for support. At one point, I really thought one of the steps was going to give out on me.

Our room was….a room. We had two twin-sized beds, one chair, a desk, a table, a bedside table, a suitcase rack, and a dresser with a TV on top of it. There was a heater/air unit up against the ceiling but no matter how many times I tried to adjust it I just couldn’t figure it out. Not all of our outlets worked (and yes, I flipped the switch), so it was hard charging devices. On first glance, the bathroom was really nice looking. What appeared to be all new tile lining the walls and floor, and a towel warming bar (which didn’t seem to work) next to the shower. The sink could have done with more counter space, as there was plenty of room for it, and they really needed a new toilet. The shower looked to be pretty decent. It was just a standard shower stall, or at least appeared to be.

Since we were coming off of a long flight to Paris, followed by the short flight to Dublin and a bus ride, I really wanted to take a shower before we did anything outside the hotel. The shower went on alright….but the floor soon filled with water as if the drain was clogged. Fortunately, I take a fairly short shower. I went t o get out of the shower and tried to turn the knob to off…and it wouldn’t go. I wrapped a towel around me and called for Mom, and she couldn’t get it to turn off, either. Oh, and did I mention the rooms don’t have phones? Mom starts bailing out the shower into the sink, and I threw on the first clothing I could find and ran down to the lobby to tell the desk person about the shower. He comes up and tells me there’s nothing wrong with it, and turns it off. Then, he calls housekeeping and all the woman does is plunge at the drain! Plunging? Plunging isn’t going to get out the major clog the drain probably has! We get offered a new room, but neither one of us really feels like lugging our bags around, so we declined. Each morning we would have to take a towel, wrap it around our hand, and tug the shower off.

Travelocity claimed the hotel had free wi-fi. And they did. In the lobby. The only place in the entire hotel the wi-fi worked was sitting in the Lobby. Get 2-3 people in there with their laptops and there wasn’t any room to move! Fortunately, I had my N810 and iPod and didn’t need to get out my laptop, but it was really annoying trying to make private phone calls on Skype (to my aunt and to Tim) with other people hanging around.

In the end, I found the hotel tolerable. It was in a great location central to a lot of the Dublin attractions, and the bus that took you over to the Ferry port even picked up right outside the hotel. However, I don’t think the hotel was pleasing to my mom, and I don’t think she’d ever stay there again. Really, it’s debatable if I’d stay there again, though for the price and location, you really can’t beat it. It’s right at the entrance to Temple Bar, Trinity College is 3 blocks away, and it’s a short walk over to Guinness.

One thing I do have to say about the staff – ALL of the desk staff we interacted with were friendly…even if they didn’t have any good suggestions for places to eat. I felt safe staying there and sleeping there, and I wasn’t too worried about leaving our things in the room while we were away (though I did still lock the expensive electronics in my suitcase while we were out!). Since the hotel is at the opening to Temple Bar, which is essentially an entire street of pubs, they use a buzzer system to get into the hotel after dark. You press the buzzer and tell them your room number before they will let you in….and they have close-circuit TV at the door to check people’s appearances. So I do need to add that it was a friendly and safe hotel to dtay in…even if it wasn’t quite what we were expecting.

On our way back through Dublin, we just had a stopover and I booked us at the Travelodge Swords, as it was close to the airport. The Travelodge was so much nicer, and only $10 more. The only negatives of the Travelodge was the €27 cab ride from the ferry port (which I paid for ALL in small coin), and the fact that if you based yourself there for sightseeing, you’d be paying for cabs into town daily. The Travelodge also had a restaurant attached…even if it was super expensive for a small pizza (€10!).

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