ITTN’s Sharon Jordan visited the Devlin and sat down with general manager Adrian O’Connor (Music is Bensound: Summer)
Review: A Stylish Hotel That’s Also a Classy Hangout
A serious contender for Dublin’s most stylish hotel is the Devlin, a 40-room bolthole in the southside suburb of Ranelagh.
I use the word ‘stylish’ advisedly because – let’s be honest – it’s one of those throwaway words so ill-defined that it can be used to describe almost anything. But in the case of the Devlin it is entirely appropriate, for two reasons: firstly, because enormous care and attention has been devoted to virtually every fitting and fixture and, secondly, because the result works.
Ranelagh is one of Dublin’s most desirable neighbourhoods, a community of elegant Victorian and Edwardian houses centred on a village full of restaurants, bars and boutiques. And right smack in the middle of it is the Devlin, a contemporary building that stands out from everything around it but still manages to fit in.
And because Ranelagh is about its tight-knit communities, the Devlin is all about personal connections, starting with the front desk concierge, which sets the tone for the whole experience – from the moment you enter it’s smiles, a warm welcome and “how are you doing today?”
Need a steer on what do in the city (the city centre is only two stops away on the Luas)? The excellent concierge service is full of brilliant information to make your stay a good one.
Space is relative
The bedrooms, spread out across three noiseless floors, are called ModPods, which should give you a clue as to their compact size. But the designers managed that rare trick of making the absolute most of the space – and they did it by focusing on the essentials, including a comfy queen-sized bed built into the room with a full-length window down one end. Your storage space is below it, which means no awkwardly placed bags on the elegant herringbone floors.
The rest of the room is all about goodies and mod cons – Dyson hairdryer, Nespresso machine and a Smeg fridge to store those perishables.
A Strong Irish Identity
And while so many designer hotels are created to have no real geographic identity – and so could fit in just as well in Durban as they might in Dublin – the Devlin is very much an Irish hotel.
It’s not just the friendly service (but that, too) that gives it a sense of place, but collection of Irish treats in every room, a fine (and edible) complement to the 160 specially curated works of Irish art that are liberally spread throughout the hotel.
More often than not, a hotel that is working with limited space will sacrifice the bulk of it in the bathrooms, but this is definitely not the case in the Devlin, where spacious rainforest showers add to the feeling confined luxury. And there’s also range of Irish toiletries, which is another nice touch.
A Place to Visit as Much as Stay
A huge part of the Devlin’s appeal is that it’s designed to cater as much to non-guests as it does to those bedding down for the night – which makes those sound-proofed floors with the bedrooms all the more important.
On the ground floor is the wood-panelled Americana Bar, which is an updated version of the kind of 50s watering hole Mad Men’s Don Draper might have taken a client – or someone else – to. It’s here that a lot of the non-resident action takes place, courtesy of courtesy of one of the best cocktail menus in town, including the very popular Pineapples (Tangueray gin, Kopke fine wine port and pineapple juice).
The 1950s theme extends into the basement Stella cinema, a 42-seater tiered cinema with individual mid-century style armchairs and couches with cosy lamps and side tables beside each armchair. There’s a dedicated marbled countered bar, a popcorn machine and twice-daily screenings of new releases, indie films, cult classics and arthouse films.
And if you’re just passing by, there’s a handy coffee hatch at the front that does terrific coffees to go.
But the real treat is in the rooftop restaurant, Layla’s. Not only are there killer views from both the inside room and the covered terrace over the chimney pots of Ranelagh, with the Dublin Mountains to one side and the sea to the other, but the food is to die for.
As the son of an Italian mother, when I see that Layla’s menu leans heavily on the Old Boot for inspiration, I take a deep breath and hope for the best. But a couple of bites into my tagliatelle with a rabbit ragu – a Florentine favourite – and suddenly I’m head chef Eoin O’Connor’s biggest fan.
The dessert list is just as impressive, but I went for the tiramisu, and it didn’t let me down – it had all the flavour and fluffiness you’d find in a version made in its birthplace of Veneto.
Whether you come for breakfast, lunch or dinner – Layla’s is now a must-have dining experience in a city that has elevated the enjoyment of food to a highly competitive art.
A sustainable buzz
Local is clearly a big deal here – the food, the art, the atmosphere. And it’s that sense of community that informs the hotel’s sustainable credentials, plus a little extra – if you’re on the rooftop and listen very carefully you might just hear the hotel’s own hive of bees going about their daily buzz-iness!
Summer Staycation Packages
MISSED MOMENTS | Book Package from €150pp
Pick a date, and let’s celebrate! We have packaged up a sweet deal to help you toast to all those special moments that’s been missed. This one-night package has absolutely all you need to mark the occasion.
- Full Cooked to Order Breakfast
- Glass of bubbly on arrival
- 3 Course Dinner with Bottle of House Wine
- 1 drink token per person for a Signature Serve Cocktail
- Gift in room
- Plus No deposit & Flexible Cancellation
THE DEVLIN ALL IN | Two Night Package from €225 pp
Enjoy the ultimate All-In experience at The Devlin without having to step foot outside of the building you can enjoy a little bit of everything that makes The Devlin special.
- Welcome Drink from from the award-winning Americana Bar.
- Tickets to our on site movie theatre Stella Cinema
- Cooked To Order Breakfast in Layla’s Rooftop Restaurant
- 3 Course Evening Meal in Layla’s Rooftop Restaurant on an evening of your choice