Monday, 29 December 2008

The Clarence Hotel Penthouse - Luxury and Leaks....

My friend Debbi and I had a three day break in Dublin just a week after I had returned from Florida (globetrotter that I am!) We were staying two nights at the Tara Towers Hotel (where we had a room that had a fabulous view over Dublin Bay) and one night in the penthouse at The Clarence Hotel. We had started saving to stay in the penthouse once more immediately after our last stay there in May 2007. By the end of November this year we had enough money to spoil ourselves once more.

We got all dressed up to look the part and took a taxi to the Clarence Hotel where we were greeted warmly by the staff and asked to sit in The Study (the lounge for hotel guests) and our complimentary Cosmopolitan cocktails were brought in for us.

After a short while the General Manager of the hotel, Oliver Silvestre, came in to see us. We were wondering what was up as normally someone like him would not come to see guests. He was extremely apologetic and said there was a problem with the penthouse. During the night a pipe above the master bedroom had sprung a leak and they had been unable to mend it in time for our stay so that room was not usable. He offered us the use of a two bedroom suite two floors below as well as the rest of the penthouse, then he left us for a while to discuss it.

We did not want to spend time in separate places, especially when one was two floors below so we decided we would ask for the other penthouse bedroom's king bed to be made into twins and not use the two bedroom suite at all. Oliver came back and said that there was no problem making up twins. I thought I'd ask if we would get a discount as we were not getting what we are paying for. He said that of course there would be a discount - which turned out to be very generous and we were very happy with that.

Welcome to the Clarence Hotel Penthouse!

He took us up to the fifth floor and into the penthouse and showed us the master bedroom which had a big hole in the ceiling and a bucket on the floor catching drips that were coming down. When we were in the loft area we noticed that the hot tub on the back balcony had no towels or gowns beside it, so we asked if we could use it. For a second Oliver looked surprised, then said yes, no problem there either and he would get that sorted. Despite the icy weather we were determined to go in the hot tub - I think Oliver thought we were mad! But it was also clear that he was very relieved that we took it all so well.

A battalion of staff appeared out of nowhere and discreetly sorted out the bedroom and the hot tub, and then quietly left and we were finally alone in the penthouse. It was lovely to be back, the first thing we did was change out of our posh clothes into lounging gear. Then we opened the bottle of complimentary pink champagne and ordered some sandwiches.

The penthouse was just the same as when we had been there last, luxurious and spotlessly clean, you could see your reflection in the wood of the piano! The fittings and furnishings were all the best, beautiful oak floors and doors, an elegant spiral staircase linking the ground floor and the loft area, muted colours, fantastic floral creations, Guggi paintings throughout. A well stocked bar groaned under the weight of spirits, wines, champagne and beers, complete with lots of ice and a tray of cut lemon. From the balcony running along the front there were fabulous views of the River Liffey and it's bridges and the city.

We were brave and went into the hot tub which was lovely and warm once you got under the water. But boy was it cold when you got out, the lovely thick dressing gowns were a blessing then! Afterwards we relaxed on the large beige velvet sofas in the fabulous loft area of the penthouse hardly believing we were back there again.

Later we got all dressed up again to go for dinner in The Tea Room. The restaurant manager greeted us and said "Just out of the hot tub ladies?" I smiled to myself, the fact that we wanted the hot tub working had obviously filtered through the hotel staff, the phrase "Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun" came to mind!

The Tea Room was busy, and we had a table near the door which I was pleased about as I was tottering in my high heels and the less to walk the better! We had a delicious meal, one of the best I've had there, it is always of a high standard and if you buy off the Market Menu not too expensive either. Afterwards we went to sit in The Study for a while before returning to the penthouse.

We found a CD that had Christmas 2007 on it so we put it in the player to see what was on it, it was old Christmas songs, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Nat King Cole and the such-like. It was very Christmassy and I'll never forget Debbi dancing along to It's Beginning To Look A Lot like Christmas!

We chilled and drank more champagne and watched DVDs of U2, Ab Fab and Father Ted that we had brought with us. The life of luxury really suits me! We sat on the balcony (well wrapped up there was an icy wind blowing) and watched the Dublin nightlife below us. At 4am we got back into the hot tub.....mad dogs and Englishwomen go in the hot tub in the icy night! But this day and night was all about doing different things and living a different life for a while and we weren't going to miss out on anything! But by 5am even we were flagging a bit and reluctantly went to bed.


Next morning we had a delicious breakfast in our very own dining room in the penthouse, savouring our last couple of hours there. Then sadly packed as the time had come to go back to normal life.

We met with Oliver again as we were leaving, he thanked us once more for being so understanding and told us the good news that The Clarence would not be closing in February 2009 as we'd thought, but in about two years time. So, us mad Englishwomen, have immediately started saving for another stay in the penthouse - 2010!


  1. a grand piano! wow. u2, ab fab and father ted is about as close to perfect as you can get! (plus champagne, natch)

  2. The only thing that could have made it better would have been Bono propping up the bar LOL!

  3. Great story, and good to hear that the Clarence will remain open for some time. It reminds me of our honeymoon in 2003, three days of which we were staying at the Clarence (although not the Penthouse) and the "adventures" we had there, involving one well known singer and his entourage ... ;-) Maybe we should take the chance as well and book a few nights next year?

  4. Yes I remember, so exciting for you! Go for it treat yourselves to a few nights!

  5. didnt Bono send you guys drinks one time???

  6. Yes he did, on our last stay in the penthouse in May 2007. Champagne was waiting in the penthouse when we arrived. Then when we went for our meal in the Tea Room we got another bottle of champagne and a note from B. The wine with the meal was also on the house. What a star he is! I've heard of him do stuff like that for other fans too.