The site of the new Keavan’s Port Hotel on Upper and Lower Camden Street, Dublin, was derelict for many years. It is eight Georgian buildings, behind which is a church and now a newly built modern hotel with 89 stylish bedrooms. Within the original buildings was the convent of the Little Sisters of the Assumption, hence the church. It also housed the workshops of Earley Studios, an ecclesiastical stained-glass manufacturer.
The history of the previous owners and residents is remembered around the new development with retained stained glass windows, images of doves and repurposing of old windows and church pews.
Walking through the hotel from Reception will take you through a series of drawing rooms of the original houses. These are lovely rooms to have a coffee, with snugs to hide away in. Each room has memories of the past with lots of interesting things to read and see. There is an eclectic mix of old furniture.
The main bar and restaurant area opens up into a 20-metre atrium with some very interesting art on the walls and dotted around. Not just paintings, but sculptures and installations. It overlooks a big garden area with interesting art, recycled planters and lots of greenery. There are snugs dotted about. There is another smaller, more secret garden at the other end of the hotel.
I had passed the hotel a number of times since it opened on August 16, and noticed that the people waiting to show their Covid documents were young. However, when staying there last week, it was obvious that this is a place that will appeal to all age groups. The guests ranged across not just young friends out partying, but family groups, couples and some auld lads enjoying a cheap pint.
Despite the staffing issues in the hospitality industry, there seems to be no shortage here and there are friendly security staff mingling in the public areas. There is no music playing, but the gentle hubbub of conversation is nice.
Food and Drink
Like other Wetherspoon operated premises, each table has a number, QR code or you can use the app on your smartphone to order food and drink. I counted more than 500 table numbers here, that will give an idea of the size of the place as tables take from two to four people.
The ordering system is easy to use, and there are waiting staff to take orders if you have difficulties. We found the app on the phone was not working, probably due to weak wifi downstairs. However, the QR code worked fine, except I ordered two rounds of drinks by mistake. At their prices – not a problem.
The smell of curry tempted us both to try it. I had the beef curry and my friend had chicken curry. It was served with nan bread, poppadums and rice. And it was delicious – we both wiped our dishes clean. More surprising still was the price. It cost €26.60 for two curries and two drinks – a Birra Moretti Italian beer and an Absolut Vodka soda.
All meals include a drink and prices vary depending on whether you have a soft drink or alcoholic one. The menu is extensive, not fancy, but nice. You can have burgers, steak, pizzas, pasta, chilli, paninis, jacket potatoes, fish and chips and a good selection of small plates which cost €15.50 for three.
Breakfast is served all day and a traditional breakfast costs €6.35. Tea, chocolate and coffee cost €1.25 with free refills. Breakfast is a popular time at Keavan’s Port, there was lots of high-vis jacket wearing builders there, when we were having our breakfast. We sat in the atrium looking over the garden and it was a nice bright place to sit. All dishes on the menus have a calorie count.
The rooms include twin, double and family rooms with a pull-out sofa bed. The decoration is very nice. Feature walls are papered in an old map design which looks nice. The beds were very comfortable with cushion-topped mattresses, crispy cotton sheets and duvets. Our room overlooked the inner atrium and was very quiet with thick curtains. We slept very well.
The rooms are spacious and have all that you need for a comfortable stay. Wardrobe areas have a proper iron and ironing board, hairdryer, a safe and hanging space. The bedside sockets also have USB connections and good reading lights. Each room has a kettle with tea, coffee and milk.
The bathroom was spacious with a big rainforest shower and nice fluffy white towels. There are no excess toiletries here, just wall-mounted soap dispensers by the sink and in the shower. So, remember to bring what you need.
Finding your room might be a bit of an ordeal, as this is an old building married to a new extension. We had to go through five doors to get to our room, some of them security locked, so keep the key with you at all times. The beautiful carpet designed as images of stained glass, makes it an interesting walk to your room.
Until 26 September prices are €85 midweek and €125 at weekends. After that, prices will change and will be €150 per room per night, jdwetherspoon.co.uk and booking.com.
Keavan’s Port hotel and pub, 1-5 Camden Street Upper and 49-52 Camden Street Lower, Dublin 2.