Best Family Hotel in Dublin
Our visit to Dublin really took us by surprise as I’d always associated Dublin with packing in plenty of the abundant family activities that Dublin has to offer such as Dublin Zoo. Trips to museums, parks and most importantly shopping. However, I really had no idea how relaxing and luxurious Dublin could be for families.
The trick to any city break with kids is not to overdo it. Stick to a couple of activities a day combining them wisely with maybe a museum in the morning and the afternoon in the park. Sometimes the most simplest of plans to just stroll through the historical streets of Dublin, visiting a museum and heading to the playground in Stephen’s Green can be most enjoyable. Fortunately for you, we have found the perfect family hotel in Dublin offering all on your doorstep.
Family Hotels in Dublin
These days, junior guests are as welcome as their seniors in many luxurious five star hotels. However The Westbury in Dublin takes extra care to ensure families feel their very warm welcome.
The Westbury Hotel brings together superior first class service and sumptuous surroundings creating a real sense of luxury with an intimate and stylish atmosphere. From the ever friendly doormen with their top hats awaiting your arrival to the warm greeting from the reception team offering a truly personal touch where every attention to detail is observed.
Family Hotels in Dublin
However, it’s unrivalled location in the very heart of Dublin’s main shopping and entertainment district is what set’s The Westbury apar from other family friendly hotels in Dublin. One may expect a certain level of pretension from a hotel of this calibre or feel children may not be understood.
Yet the first class service extended to ever single guest ensures that even children are made feel like VIPs. While we have stayed in many five-star hotels in our time. This has been the first occasion where our children really took note of how they were welcomed and received as they felt like celebrities which was the real magic of our stay.
Family Rooms at the Westbury Hotel
Of course, the elegant bedrooms continued the luxury theme with heavenly beds and marble bathrooms. Open space and room to spill out can be in short supply in most city hotels but The Westbury in Dublin is one exception to the rule. One of my priorities in a family friendly room is space in the bedrooms as you may share a couple of hours in the evening here to wind down. Not only was there more than enough space but even watching a film on the large flat screen TV from the giant king-size bed gave a real sense of Home Alone 2 and the stay in the Plaza.
All rooms include mineral water, Nespresso machines, flat screen TVs, turn-down service, room service, and air-conditioning. A babysitting service is available at the hotel and you can reserve fun Tippes in stays in their deluxe rooms and suites.
There’s no shortage of places to eat in Dublin and most are very welcoming to kids. But in the current climate I felt the easiest option for us as a family was to dine in the hotel. The fact that the most casual of their three dining options was Balfes’ Bistro was an extra bonus for me. As a popular spot for Dublin residents and visitors alike, Balfe’s has a phenomenal ambiance with a real New York vibe.
Balfes Bistro, The Westbury
The food is a far cry from standard bistro fayre and while the first class service throughout the hotel was still on offer here, I was made feel extremely relaxed dining with a family and all that it entails. With one fussy eater in toe and two food allergies, not an eye was batted and almost tailored alternatives were promptly offered. I would recommend booking well in advance as Balfe’s is a real Dublin institution and while we were there many of our fellow diners were celebrating their graduation from Trinity College so it is a busy spot.
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Family Activities Nearby
As stated previously the best feature of this family friendly hotel in Dublin by far is the location. The Westbury is located on Balfe Street, just off Grafton street. So you are a few steps away from Stephen’s Green Park in one direction. Trinity College, the home to the famous Book of Kells in the other direction with Grafton street on the doorstep. While you are placed within the heart of Dublin’s social and cultural scene. The Gaiety Theatre lies just around the corner, but should you require public transport the Luas stop is only a two minute walk away connecting you to Heuston Station.
The Luas from Abbey street will take you to Heuston train station and Dublin Zoo is an easy 10 to 15 minute walk from there. The C3 or C4 bus from Westmoreland street will take you to Parkgate street with a similar walking distance to the Dublin Zoo and Phoenix Park.
Stephen's Green Park
Stephen’s Green, which is a photographers haven with beautiful bridges, band stands and small lakes is also home to one of the best playgrounds in Dublin. It is the perfect location for a picnic or a break away from the bustling city. With ducks to feed and nice walkways it is a great place for the little ones to wander around. Furthermore, if you are going shopping, it could be a welcome respite for kids getting a bit bored to blow off some steam and get going again.
If you head out the gate from Stephen’s Green on the Grafton Street side you will notice The Gaiety Theatre to the left of Grafton’s street. After missing panto last year we were determined to make up for it this year. The Gaiety Theatre, celebrating 150 years open this year, is a truly magical theatre experience. This traditional theatre is exquisitely decorated and with plush red seats offers a real luxurious theatre experience. The Gaiety being the longest established Theatre in Ireland is at the heart of the Irish theatre scene and the bronze handprints of some of the greats, including Maureen Potter, Brian Friel, Niall Toibin, John B. Keane and Luciano Pavarotti, set into the pavement in front of the theatre are a testament of what is to come.
The Little Mermaid opened within days of Stephen Donnelly mentioning that may be we should choose between Santa and the Panto and on the night the support from the crowd was palpable. While Santa would take priority in most Irish homes, Panto is very much now an Irish Christmas tradition and for many children their first taste of the arts. Therefore, I am delighted that they backed tracked on their comments. As it was so magical to see Lonán (aged 5) who does not recall the panto the year before, to be mesmerised as the stage lit up with familiar characters performing high energy dance routines to our favourite songs. Of course jokes and gags were littered throughout the performance with even Stephen Donnelly getting a mention in the absolutely hilarious script.
After months of talk of covid and restrictions, The Little Mermaid provided a welcome release from our world. Gently seducing us down under the sea with bubbles floating over our heads to the depths of the brightly coloured coral reef and home to Ariel and the city of Atlantica. It took all my might to hold Lonán on my lap from leaping on the stage as she sang along and clapped with a great excitement feeling immersed in this undersea world. While Lonán’s favourite character was Ariel played by the panto regular, Ciara Lyons. Sebastian played by Michael Joseph and Granny Haddock played by Joe Conlon stole the show for the rest of us with their great stage presence and perfect comic timing.
Even the ever creepy Ursula played by Emma Wigglesworth could of claimed this prize as her powerful show stopping performances blew us away. With the fabulously fishy costumes and the imaginative underwater world recreated on stage, bubbles and large tentacles floating overhead, The Gaiety Theatre, did not let Covid hold them back but created a production full of imagination and wonder. It really is a show that will appeal to everyone both young and old.
Strict checks were in place with all adults asked to show their Covid passes and ID upon entry. Most importantly though despite there being no legal reason at the time, many children and even those very young wore their masks along with the adults in what I felt as a real show of defiance against the measures taken on children who have lost out on so much already and how we can play our part to ensure that the show goes on. Now before the Covid police get on my back, I am a stickler for keeping to the restrictions, reducing my movements and playing our part but don’t take Panto from us when many bars are full and house parties are underway.
Following a very poignant standing ovation, Joe Conlon, who has played the role of the Gaiety Dame for more than ten years, made a passionate plea to support the arts, thanking the delighted audience for attending but I felt it was our privilege to witness and be part of such a spectacular production that will forever remain amongst our most treasured family memories.
If you don’t make the panto this year, Bedknobs and Broomsticks will be visiting in March with tickets at an unbelieve price of €19 and the Broadway hit, The Addams Family will fly in for a few days in April.
Museums for Families
The Little Museum, a short walk from The Westbury offers a fun and interactive children’s experience using worksheets and quizzes as their motto is “Boring museums are ancient history”.
A trip to Trinity College to see the extraordinary Book of Kells has so much more to offer than the chance to see the book itself. Discover how the world’s most famous medieval manuscript was made and learn about the rich symbolism behind it.
Museums fo Children
You will also be able to visit the Long Room – the main chamber of the Old Library (one of the world’s most beautiful libraries). See the oldest harp in Ireland and also one of the copies of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic. At the moment you are required to book online before you visit and the gift shop has limited access. The grounds of Trinity College are a wonderful place to explore and there are some fine picnic spots to enjoy too.
Dublina is a fun and interactive museum bringing to life medieval Ireland is about a 15 minute walk on a relatively easy route. Just across O’Connell’s Bridge you have The National Leprechaun Museum of Ireland exploring Ireland’s folklore past.
A trip to The Westbury Hotel is the real treat so take the time to enjoy the hotel itself. Wander out for a walk around Stephen’s Green, enjoy the hotel’s five star cuisine, take in the theatre and I promise you will feel all the better for it.
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