Dublin's Urban Retreat: The Croke Park Hotel | 都柏林的城市隱居：克羅克公園酒店
For mom and dad's first trip to Dublin, we stayed at The Croke Park Hotel for three nights and used it as our sightseeing base.
Ranked number 5 out of 171 hotels in Dublin on TripAdvisor, the Croke Park consistently scores highly on cleanliness, food, service and price.
This 4-star modern property is part of The Doyle Collection, an Irish-owned boutique chain with hotels in Ireland, UK and the U.S. I first heard about it from a friend who held her wedding reception at The River Lee in Cork and couldn't praise it highly enough. So that's one vote of confidence in the bag.
The hotel is located north of the river and a 15-minute stroll to the city's main artery - O'Connell Street. There's also a hop-on hop-off bus stop outside the hotel entrance.
For under 20 euros, a taxi will get you from Dublin airport to The Croke Park Hotel in under 20 minutes, passing through some lush countryside and rows of beautiful homes along the way.
The hotel is situated right opposite Croke Park Stadium - home of the Gaelic games such as Gaelic football and hurling. It is also one of the largest and most popular venues in Europe for sporting and concert events. The next big name on the calendar is Beyonce, who will be performing here in July 2016 as part of her Formation world tour.
Although a railway track runs along one side of the hotel, we did not see or hear any train go by during our entire stay. The area is generally very quiet and only seems to come alive whenever there is an event at the stadium.
Built in 2005, the Croke Park Hotel is well-kept and feels spacious and airy. Contemporary design is featured throughout this four-story establishment, and homely touches such as a library nook and fireplaces lend it a boutiquey, comfortable vibe.
The staff at reception were extremely upbeat and helpful, and we were given our room keys immediately despite arriving hours before the official check-in time. However, we were assigned the wrong type of room and eventually ended up waiting in the executive lounge until the right accommodation was readied.
The hotel seems to cater mainly to business travellers and families. The rooms come in two categories: Superior and Deluxe, and the configurations include Double, Triple and Family Suite (with 2 bedrooms and a living room).
There's not much difference between Superior and Deluxe rooms in terms of size, amenities and interior design, but the Deluxe rate does include breakfast as well as access to the Executive Lounge, which I highly recommend.
這家酒店很適合商務旅客和家庭，有雙人，三人和家庭套房（兩間臥室加起居室）。客房分兩種等級：高級 (Superior) 或豪華 (Deluxe)。
All rooms are equipped with the following:
- 32-inch flatscreen TV (50-inch in family suite)
- Tea-making facilities with teabags and instant coffee
- Hairdryer, iron and safe
- Working area with desk and plenty of sockets (Ireland uses the same 3-prong/220V plug as Britain)
Wireless internet is free throughout the property and the signal is strong. Phew.
- 書桌，還有很多插座（愛爾蘭和英國使用同樣的三孔/220V 插頭）
The spacious white bathroom has a separate shower and bathtub with toiletries from The White Company, a British home accessories brand known for its simple, beautifully designed bedlinen and home fragrances.
All guests staying in a deluxe room automatically get access to the Executive Lounge on the top floor, where complimentary hot and cold drinks and snacks are served all day.
豪華客房的客人可使用四樓的貴賓室 (Executive Lounge)，享用全天免費供應的冷熱飲品和小點心。
In the morning, guests can choose to have breakfast at the hotel's main restaurant or in the comfort of the Executive Lounge, where a continental buffet is available.
早餐有兩種選擇：一樓餐廳提供的是熱食自助餐，貴賓室裡則是 continental breakfast (歐式早餐)。
For me, the Executive Lounge is the most relaxing space in the hotel. First of all, it has large, comfortable sofas and was almost always deserted during our stay, making it the perfect place to unwind after hours of sightseeing. In the evening, you get a lovely view from the balcony of the sun setting over the stadium and Dublin's urban skyline.
Feeling peckish? The refreshment section offers cookies, fruits as well as freshly ground coffee and a selection of teabags for a mini afternoon tea. Bottled water and juices are also available.
Another perk for Deluxe room guests is that you get a voucher for a free drink, per person per day, at the hotel bar. There's your nightcap, sorted.
Since the Croke Park Hotel is in a residential area, there are not many choices of restaurants in its immediate vicinity. The hotel does have a couple on-site eateries offering comfort food (burgers, sandwiches and steaks) as well as healthy meals (salads and smoothies) throughout the day.
Breakfast is served buffet style in the main restaurant. I'm not usually a fan of buffets as I don't fancy the idea of eating food that's been sitting on a hot plate for hours on end. But my preconceived notions were pleasantly overturned here, as everything I had tasted fresh and delicious.
One reason could be because the kitchen opens out to the buffet table so not only do the diners get to see the preparation process, they can also see when freshly cooked items are added to the buffet lineup, which is pretty frequently.
我平常並不喜歡自助式的早餐，因為放在電熱板上好幾個鐘頭的食物總是不太好吃。不過在 Croke Park Hotel 我倒是吃得很愉快，因為菜色豐盛，新鮮可口，咖啡也很不錯。
Besides the hot food, there's a good selection of fresh fruits (all cut into in large pieces) along with Irish bread, croissants, honey straight from the honeycomb, yogurt and cheese, etc. If you're craving for something that's not available from the buffet, just tell the wait staff and they'll effort to make you what you want.
For guests whose room rate does not include breakfast, or anyone who wants a casual meal or a drink, the Sideline Bistro & Bar has a simple menu offering traditional pub food, like sandwiches, fish and chips, salads and even organic smoothies. The space also features a giant TV screen, making it the perfect place to hang out on game day.
MY RATING: 8.5 / 10
Over all we were very happy with our stay at the Croke Park Hotel and felt well looked after. Next time I'd like to give its sister hotel The Westbury a try. The Westbury is a more luxurious and traditional property located right off Grafton Street (the self-proclaimed 'world famous' shopping district) and a short walk from Temple Bar and Trinity College.
Phone: +353 1 871 4444