Middle Age Miles

Hotel Review – The Morrison DoubleTree, Dublin

The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel, Dublin

This article is part of our Trip Report, A Summer Holiday in Ireland & Scotland.

We stayed at The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel in Dublin for a total of three nights on our Summer Holiday in Ireland & Scotland – two separate stays, with one night there on our first stay and two nights there on our second stay.

The short of this review is that The Morrison was outstanding in many ways – exceptional service from friendly staff, great breakfast, very good location, cool vibe, nice furnishings.  But there was one major issue with the HVAC that seriously tainted our stays (I’ll describe this in more detail later).

Our stays at The Morrison were before I conceived of Middle Age Miles, so unfortunately I don’t have any of my own photos of the property.  Therefore, I’m going to use photos from The Morrison’s website to supplement my review.  The photos that I’ve included here are absolutely representative of our experience at The Morrison, so I feel good about using them.

Booking and Rate

As I mentioned in our “How We Did It” article for this trip, Philly and I knew from past experience that we wanted to stay reasonably near the Temple Bar area in Dublin, as it would be lively and the girls would enjoy it.  We also wanted to stay at the same Dublin hotel twice – once for one night on June 8-9, and again on June 12-14 when we returned.  We knew that if we stayed at the same hotel both times we were in Dublin, we would probably be able to leave our big bags at the hotel so we could travel light for our between-stays excursion to Edinburgh and Belfast.

I researched many Dublin hotels, particularly around the Temple Bar area, and I found that hotel rates for the dates of our stays were already high, even though I was looking about 4 months in advance.  Many hotels were in the 400-500 Euros/night range, reflecting summer holiday pricing.

I decided on The Morrison for several reasons.  One was location – The Morrison is just across the River Liffey from the Temple Bar area, but easily walkable, so it suited us well.  The Morrison looked nice on its website, with kind of a funky vibe.  Critically, room rates were lower than other comparable properties in the area, and I also knew that with it being a Hilton-affiliated property, I had a few tricks up my sleeve to help with minimizing the rate.  Also importantly, I knew that as (then) Hilton Honors Gold members, we would get a nice free breakfast because of our elite status.

For all of our nights at the Morrison, we booked a King Junior Suite for Philly & me, and a Twin Guest Room for the girls.  We booked direct through hilton.com.  Room rates averaged about 300 Euros per night for the Junior Suite and 250 Euros per night for the Twin Guest Room.  [To be specific: The King Junior Suite was 306 Euros for June 8-9 and 289 Euros/night for June 12-14.  The Twin Guest Room was 263.50 Euros for June 8-9 and 246.50 Euros for June 12-14.]  All-in price for the two rooms for three total nights was approximately 1,650 Euros (a bit over $1,800 then).  Of course we would have liked our hotel stay in Dublin to be cheaper.  But, given the location of The Morrison, how nice it looked (and was indeed once we got there), the high prices of comparable hotels, and the discounted rates I was able to pull from my bag of hotel booking tricks, we felt like this represented good value.

The booking was made using a special “Gold Medal Rate” that is no longer available.  I don’t have the specifics, but this rate, when available, was always excellent and generally saved 10% or more versus other available rates (including Hilton Honors member rates and AAA/AARP rates).

The rooms were fully cancellable up through 11:59 pm on the day before check-in, giving us great flexibility if needed.

Standard rooms at The Morrison can be booked for 60,000 Hilton Honors points per night (same now as it was back in 2016).  The girls’ Twin Guest Room was a base-level room priced at this standard award level.  I don’t recall if rooms were available on points when I booked.  Thinking back, it might have been a close call as to whether to book the girls’ rooms on points rather than paying for them.  I valued Hilton Honors points at 0.5 cents per point, so I would have considered the points to be worth about $300/night.  For the first night, the girls’ room rate of 263.50 Euros (this rate included all taxes and fees) would have been close to $290 at the then-prevailing exchange rate.  In a call that close, I’d normally recommend to use points and save cash.

But I can see a couple of other key factors that pointed me to paying for the room in this case.  One is that my Hilton Honors points balance at the time I was making the reservations was only 214,000.  This would mean that using points for the girls’ 3 nights would have almost totally exhausted my points balance.  The other is that I knew that I had some other specific higher-value redemptions coming up within the next few months where I would have been getting value substantially higher than 0.5 cents per point.  Thus, I wouldn’t have wanted to burn my points stash at this time even though the redemption value would have been in the “reasonable” range.

Location

As I mentioned above, location was a key factor in selecting The Morrison because it is just across the River Liffey from the lively Temple Bar area of Dublin, across the pedestrian-only Millennium Bridge.  From the standpoint of getting to and from Temple Bar, this worked out great.

The Morrison is also well-located with respect to many of the other popular tourist sights in Dublin.  For example, The Morrison is within a mile (20-minute or less walk) of Trinity College, the Irish National Gallery, the National Museums of Ireland – Natural History and Archaeology, St. Stephen’s Green park, Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the old Jameson Distillery (the Guinness Storehouse is a bit farther away – but it’s farther away from everything in this core central district).  The Morrison is on the north side of River Liffey, whereas all of the sights I just mentioned other than Jameson are on the south, but walking access is very easy across the pedestrian Millennium Bridge or the famed Ha’penny Bridge which is just a block away.

For us, we also liked the location because it is easy walking distance to one of our all-time favorite bars, The Bank on College Green (which you can see in the lower center of the second map below).

Here are some maps showing the location of The Morrison with respect to other popular places in Dublin (the third one is an artsy map from the hotel’s website):

Arrival, Check-In and Service

We were driving to The Morrison on our first night (shout-out to Philly for driving in central Dublin, pretty much during afternoon rush hour), so we were pleased to find that The Morrison has a couple of unloading spots on the street, right in front of the hotel.  Parking is in a garage in the next block past the hotel, the Jervis Street Car Park.  It is very easy to access the garage, as the hotel and garage are on a one-way street, and both are on the left side of the road. The Morrison’s website says that the parking rate for hotel guests is 19 Euros for 24 hours, which seems very reasonable for a place in the center of a European capital city.

When you enter the hotel, check-in is immediately on the right, with the lobby opening up to your left.  You can’t help but be immediately struck with the hip, funky vibe of The Morrison.

The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel, Dublin – check-in desk

The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel, Dublin – lobby

Throughout out stays at The Morrison, service was excellent, even when the facilities were not.  I’ll touch on those subjects some more, later in this article.  I’d like to call out one instance of great service here, though.  As I’d mentioned, we hoped we could leave our big suitcases at The Morrison while we traveled to Edinburgh and Belfast for a few days before we returned to Dublin and The Morrison.  The hotel accommodated this request without hesitation, and it worked like a charm.  We were able to take small bags with us on our travels to Scotland and Northern Ireland, which was very helpful as our flights were on European low-cost carriers Ryanair and easyJet.  I really appreciated how easy The Morrison’s staff made this for us.

On our first one-night stay at The Morrison, we were not upgraded as Hilton Honors Gold members.  On our second stay of two nights, the room for Philly and me was upgraded to a King One Bedroom Suite with River View, although this was a result of the issue we’d experienced with our first room as opposed to being an elite status-based upgrade.  My understanding is that the hotel was at or very near full capacity for all of the nights we stayed there.

After check-in, we headed to the elevators, and the elevator lobby continued the “funky vibe” theme:

The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel, Dublin – elevator lobby

Rooms

As I mentioned earlier, we had booked a King Junior Suite for Philly & me, and a base-level Twin Guest Room for the girls.

Room decor was certainly on-theme with what we’d experienced in the lobby.  Here is a photo from the hotel website of a base-level Guest Room (albeit with one bed rather than two):

The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel, Dublin – base-level Guest Room

The girls liked the modern feel to the room, especially the light-up shelf like the one you can see in the picture above.

Next, here are a few photos of a King Junior Suite like the one Philly & I had for our first stay at The Morrison:

The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel, Dublin – King Junior Suite

The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel, Dublin – King Junior Suite

The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel, Dublin – King Junior Suite

As you can see from the photos, in the King Junior Suite we had an area with a separate couch, coffee table and tv, and we had a desk with a large workspace.  This came in very handy for me, as I had a legal deadline back in the States that kept me up long into the night.

As I’ve alluded to, though, we had a major HVAC problem with this room.  The temperature control and air conditioning did not work, and it was extremely uncomfortably hot in the room.  But we didn’t really discover the problem until late in the night.  When we first arrived, the room was warm, but that didn’t seem terribly unusual for entering an unoccupied room in Europe in the late afternoon.  We turned the thermostat down and went out to eat dinner and explore.  When we got back, we discovered that the room was still warm.  We couldn’t get the a/c to turn on despite our best efforts.  So we called down to the front desk, but by that time it was quite late.  They were responsive but there was little that could be done at that time of night.  They brought up a fan, and we could open the windows.  This helped somewhat with the temperature although it was still a fair bit warmer than we would have liked.  And it turned out that the location of the hotel, which had been a blessing, was also a curse.  With the windows open, we could hear the Temple Bar revelers loud and clear.  And remember, the Irish like to party.  It was very loud, deep into the night.  Between the temperature and the noise, Philly & I didn’t get much sleep at all.

At check-out the next morning, the hotel staff was very apologetic.  The hotel manager came out to talk with me and assured me that we would be well taken care of when we returned.

And indeed, when we came back to The Morrison a few days later, Philly & I had been upgraded – to a King One Bedroom Suite with River View.  The only higher-tiered room at The Morrison is the Presidential Suite.  Here’s a photo:

The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel, Dublin – King One Bedroom Suite with River View

Wow, this was nice. You can see the basic layout of the room in the photo.  When you enter, the desk is immediately on the left.  In front of you is the six-person glass dining table.  The living room opens up to a couch, dining table and tv.  The open door to the left of the photo goes into the bathroom, and there’s another entry to the bathroom from the bedroom (you can barely see part of the door frame, just in front of the bed).  Behind the partial wall is the bedroom.  There are windows all along the wall to the right of the photo, and they overlook the River Liffey, the nearby bridges, and the Temple Bar area.

Here’s a look:

The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel, Dublin – view to the south across the River Liffey to the Temple Bar area – see the pedestrian Millennium Bridge to the left

Now, the bad news.  Guess what?  The temperature controls and air conditioning in the new room didn’t work!  You have to be kidding me.  Again, the hotel staff was responsive.  They tried to fix it, they brought us a fan, we opened the windows and heard the partiers, and we tried to stay cool.  Once again, we didn’t sleep much.

The hotel people were incredibly apologetic.  They sent engineers up to the room the next morning.  They worked and worked, and things were a little better by the second night.  By that time, we weren’t anxious to move rooms because things were a bit better and we had to get up early the next morning to catch our flight home.

The hotel manager and staff were so nice and tried so hard that I didn’t ask for any compensation on-site.  The upgraded room had been amazing, save for the HVAC.  However, when we got home I reached out to Hilton corporate, told them the story of what happened, and asked for compensation of 30,000 Hilton Honors points.  I chose that number because it was one-half of a free night in a standard room at The Morrison, for what that’s worth.  The Hilton customer service team apologized and immediately agreed to credit my account with 30,000 points.  I appreciated their response.  At the end of the day, I had good feelings about our stay at The Morrison.

And to close the rest of the loop, the girls’ base-level rooms didn’t have any HVAC problems during either stay.

Restaurants, Bars and Breakfast

Unfortunately, the “restaurants and bars” section of this review is very short – we didn’t visit the hotel’s restaurants or bar other than for breakfast.

But breakfast was terrific.  The Morrison served a breakfast buffet with hot items, cold items, made-to-order items, drinks and barista-prepared coffee.  All of it was delicious, and it looked as good as in the staged photos on the hotel website.  Here’s a look at the breakfast room and the buffet:

The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel, Dublin – breakfast room

The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel, Dublin – breakfast buffet

Here are some of the individual items from the buffet:

The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel, Dublin – breakfast – cereals

The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel, Dublin – breakfast – fruit & yogurt

The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel, Dublin – breakfast – meats and cheeses

Made-to-order food was included, and here are a pictures of a few of the made-to-order items:

The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel, Dublin – breakfast – French toast

The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel, Dublin – breakfast – Eggs Benedict

The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel, Dublin – breakfast – salmon bagel

The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel, Dublin – breakfast – waffles

The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel, Dublin – coffee machine

And our girls really loved the special smoothies in mini milk bottles:

The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel, Dublin – breakfast – yummy smoothies

Other Hotel Amenities

We didn’t visit the fitness center at The Morrison.  The equipment looks nice, but the center looks pretty small, especially given that this is a pretty good-sized hotel:

The Morrison DoubleTree Hotel, Dublin – fitness center

Have you stayed at The Morrison?  What did you think about it?  Did you have HVAC issues?  Are there other hotels in central Dublin where you’ve stayed that you thought were a good value?  Please let us know in the comments.

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