In every city, small nuances about weather, meal traditions, and amenities can impact the quality of your hotel stay. Consider the following tips on finding the perfect hotel in Dublin, and you’ll be prepared for whatever the Irish capital throws at you.
Then, with these tips in mind, head over to read our reviews of the best budget hotels in Dublin.
Try to find a hotel near a Dublin Bikes stop. Photo: William Murphy.
Are you a light sleeper? If so, choose a hotel in a quiet, residential neighborhood like Ballsbridge rather than rowdy Temple Bar or noisy O’Connell Street. This safe, leafy neighborhood is only a 10-15 minute walk (or 5-minute cycle) from St. Stephen’s Green.
2. Proximity to Dublin Bikes (dbs)
Dublin is home to a cheap citywide bike rental program called Dublin Bikes. If you plan on exploring the city on two wheels, check out the location of your hotel in relation to the nearest db stand. For example, Avalon House is a short 2-block walk from the nearest db stand.
3. Free umbrella rentals
An umbrella is often essential, at least for a few minutes a day, in Dublin. If you don’t want to pack your own, how about a hotel that offers a free rental? Many in the city center do, with a stash of umbrellas left right at the door for your use. Double check when booking about free umbrellas.
4. Easy travel from the airport
Dublin doesn’t have a subway or train system that connects the airport to the city center. One of the easiest ways to reach the city is with the Aircoach, a comfy bus that has designated stops in the city center. Many hotels coincide with Aircoach stops, such as the Schoolhouse Hotel. This is very convenient for travel to and from the airport.
In Dublin, air-conditioning isn’t a concern. You’re more likely to need to put on the heat on a summer’s night. Most hotels will not offer air-conditioning, and sleeping with an open window is a great way to get some fresh air. Ask for quiet rooms in the back of the property to sleep soundly with the window open.
6. Beds and Twin Rooms
A variety of styles of rooms are available throughout Dublin. In most cases, a basic room will offer a double or queen size bed. However, solo travelers should investigate “single” rooms that offer twin-size beds. These rooms are often very snug, but with extra amenities like free breakfast and Wi-Fi, they are great value.
Is the included breakfast a "Full Irish"? Photo: Happyjed1
7. "Full-Irish" breakfast
Read the wording carefully around free breakfast. Some hotels will offer free continental breakfast—consisting of toast, fruit, juice, and tea—while other hotels will offer a full Irish breakfast included in the price. This also includes eggs, bacon, and if you dare, black pudding. Complete with potatoes, roasted tomatoes, and mushrooms, this hearty breakfast will set you up for a day of exploring Dublin on foot.
8. Free Wi-Fi
Many hotels offer free Wi-Fi throughout Dublin, but require a password. When you check in, request a Wi-Fi password. Some passwords will work for your entire stay while other hotels use a service that requires you to enter a new password every 24 hours.
9. On-site Pub
One coveted amenity in hotels is an on-site (or nearby) pub. On a chilly, rainy night in Dublin visitors might not want to venture too far from their warm bed. Several hotels have on-site pubs where you’ll find a perfectly poured pint of Guinness.
Many of the hotels we recommend, such as the Hazlebrook House, are old Georgian townhouses.
Many of Dublin’s hotels and inns are located in historic Georgian buildings. This often means that there are restrictions about renovations, and in some places, no elevators exist. Keep this in mind when picking a hotel and packing your bag. You can request a lower-level floor, but might find yourself climbing four or five floors of stairs with your bag.
Many sinks in Dublin have two separate taps, with one knob for each. One is the hot water tap, and one the cold water tap. The general idea is to plug the sink and mix the water to your desired temperature. Beware of the hot taps—in some places the water can be downright scalding.
12. Afternoon Tea
Some hotels and B&Bs offer afternoon tea. In most cases this is a fix-yourself option, with an electric kettle to boil water and some biscuits (cookies) to accompany a cup of milky, Irish tea. Many hotels will also offer cups to bring your tea to go.
13. Common spaces
Because some Dublin hotels have been converted from Georgian homes, they have nice common spaces. If you would like some extra space to put your feet up, look for hotels that offer a living room with a fireplace. These are not only cozy, but provide a great perspective on what life was like in Georgian Dublin.
Most hotels in Dublin will charge for outgoing calls, sometimes even for local calls (to restaurants for reservations, for example). Double check with a hotel to see if they charge for local calls. Phones in your room can be handy for receiving incoming calls. Family and friends can call using Skype for as low as 2 cents per minute and be connected to your room.
15. Reception hours
Choosing an independently owned B&B has many good qualities, but expect these properties to have limited reception hours. Since they are family-owned, there are usually designated hours that reception is open to welcome guests. If you plan on arriving or departing at strange times, you might want to consider a larger hotel or private room in a hostel where the desk is watched 24-hours a day.
If you plan on exploring Ireland beyond Dublin, you might be considering renting a car. There are many affordable car rental options in Dublin, especially if you reserve in advance and pick up at the airport. Within the city center, there are some hotels that offer free parking such as the Sandymount Hotel. (Read more about renting a car in Dublin.)
Isaac's Hostel offers guests rooms with shared bathrooms... and a free sauna.
17. Special Amenities
In Dublin there is a lot of competition between hotels. This has encouraged the development of special amenities. For example, Avalon House has an award-winning espresso bar on its ground floor that attracts locals as well as guests. Isaacs Hostel has a free sauna while Staunton’s on the Green backs onto Iveagh Gardens, one of the city’s most beautiful (and somewhat secret) parks.
18. In-room kettles
Electric kettles—capable of quickly boiling water for coffee or tea—are widespread in Ireland. Many hotels offer electric kettles in the room, for making coffee or tea at your convenience. This small amenity can make a big difference if you encounter a rainy day in Dublin and need a quick pick-me-up.
19. Outdoor space
If you happen to be visiting Dublin in May, June, or July when the daylight hours last well into the evening, you might want a hotel with some outdoor space. Many hotels, especially those set in Georgian buildings, have courtyards or back patios. One good option is the Townhouse, with a brick garden patio and several small tables.
One way to save money is with a kitchenette in your room. Some bed and breakfasts offer apartment style options with small kitchens. Another option is the dorms at Trinity College during the summer months. Not only do they offer an incredibly central location, but some also have kitchenettes.
Read hotel reviews
Now that you've made it through our list of considerations, check out the reviews of our favorite budget hotels in Dublin. Our editors have inspected and reviewed their favorite affordable hotels in the city center.
About the author: Jessica Colley writes about Dublin for EuroCheapo. Read her posts in our Dublin blog.