I love landing in Europe and my recent trip to Ireland was no exception. Flying from Toronto to Dublin on Aer Lingus was a dream, thanks, not in small part, to the lovely, lilting Irish accents that greeted passengers upon boarding the aircraft and our bulkhead seats that gave us access to a baby bassinet. This was the first time my husband Johnny Jet and I were traveling across the pond with our one year old son Jack and I was nervous about how he’d fare on the flight (his longest to date) and how he’d cope with the jet lag upon landing. He took it all like a champ!
But landing in Europe at 6am (which is really 1am back on the east coast) is tough on even the most seasoned traveler, let alone a baby. We were booked at The Westbury Dublin but landing before dawn, would our room be ready? Check-in technically isn’t until 3pm. And if it wasn’t ready … what were we going to do with an extremely tired baby? We headed straight to the hotel to find out.
The Westbury Dublin
The Westbury is a five-star hotel located right in Dublin’s city centre. It’s a member of Leading Hotels of the World and could not be more perfectly situated in the city. Right outside the hotel’s front door is Grafton Street, Dublin’s main shopping area and it’s just steps from other attractions like Trinity College and St. Stephen’s Green. If location is important to you and especially if you don’t have a car and intend to explore by foot, this hotel is ideal.
We showed up at the check-in desk around 7am and I was hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. Turns out, I had nothing to fear. While our room was not, in fact, ready for us to move right in, they provided us with a family-friendly room to wait in. I was thrilled by the news – at that early hour of the morning, I was eager to take a shower and to put my son down for a proper snooze. But I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It was the first time I’d ever been given a room to wait in until check-in. I remember landing in Switzerland at 6am many years ago and having to kill time until 3pm check-in. I was deliriously tired and it was a terrible way to start my trip. But at The Westbury, they’re prepared for guests arriving from North America and the level of service we experienced throughout our stay began from the moment we arrived and were ushered into the beautiful room – a regular guest room; see top image – just for us to wait in. Two big beds, a pack and play for Jack, gorgeous flocked wallpaper and a shower with great water pressure … I was beyond grateful.
After a hot shower and a much-needed snooze, we were all ready and raring to go! With Grafton Street, Trinity College and St. Stephen’s Green right outside our door, we didn’t have to go far to explore.
When we returned to the hotel, our room was ready – and what a room! We were moved into luxurious one bedroom suite that was just perfect for our family. At 775 square feet, it was the size of a small apartment and had plenty of room for Jack to play around in. I loved the plush carpeting that made crawling nice and easy for him, plus, the furniture was so baby-friendly as well. The low-slung sofa was easy for him to crawl up and down on and when he tumbled off, he barely noticed. The coffee table was round so there were no sharp edges to worry about. Before Jack, there was a whole different list of things I loved about a luxury hotel stay but these days, this is what matters to me.
But that’s not to say that I don’t still love luxury amenities and The Westbury certainly delivers. The rooms are beautifully understated in their design, oozing easy and elegant living and boast original paintings and sculptures by noted artists. A four-poster bed dominates the separate bedroom and adds real drama to the space. The marble bathroom is spacious with a separate shower and bathtub and one of my favourite features, under floor heating.
Afternoon Tea at The Westbury
I was lucky enough to be celebrating my birthday while we were at The Westbury and so we headed down to the second-floor gallery to enjoy one of those Dublin must-dos: Afternoon tea at The Westbury. The large, light-filled space is filled with plush sofas and overlooks Grafton Street. The food was just what you’d expect – a yummy selection of sandwiches, scones and pastries and tea with the option of Perrier-Jouët Blason Rosé Champagne (yes, please!)
Dining at The Westbury
Unfortunately, Jack got sick while we were in Dublin, which of course was terrible for the poor little guy. This meant that while we didn’t get to explore the city as much as we would have liked, we did get to really enjoy our luxurious stay at The Westbury, including room service dinner both nights we were there. I ordered the organic salmon with potato mousseline and sautéed spinach (26 euros) two nights in a row and my mashed potatoes were so good I had to share with Jack; he loved them so much he refused his sweet potato baby food after that. I can’t say I blame him! I would have loved to check out Balfes, the laidback chic on-site restaurant – it’s Dublin’s newest all-day dining restaurant and is a popular option for both locals and visitors alike thanks to its enticing menu, craft cocktails and local produce. With a beautiful, 20-seat outdoor terrace, a zinc covered bar and an open kitchen, this lively spot is the perfect place for everything from a healthy breakfast to dinner with friends to weekend bunch. This is just one more reason to add The Westbury to my list of hotels to return to!
Our stay at The Westbury was comped but all opinions expressed within this article are my own.