WHERE TO STAY
With over 70,000 rooms available, Ireland offers something for everyone. Top hotels are still not quite as expensive as those in Paris or London, but the best news for visitors is the increase in low to mid-range hotels. While many of these are basic, they offer excellent value. Other options available are self-catering apartments, bed and breakfast in guesthouses, as well as youth hostels and YMCAs. Accommodation with the Bord Failte Logo is of assured quality.
WHERE TO LOOK
Dublin is the traditional location for most luxury hotels, but several world renowned 5 Star hotels are located outside Dublin in some of the most beautiful areas of our countryside. These hotels offer the height of luxury with vast private grounds, often with their own golf course. Rates are from 250 Euros + per night.
Business travellers tend to favour either city centre or proximity to airports / major roads.
The main cities; Dublin, Cork & Limerick have a wide selection of mid-range hotels, with special rates for business travellers. Accommodation quality is high with all the normal facilities provided and fax / modem access is becoming commonplace. Rates from 60 Euros + per night.
Some hotels offer seasonal promotional rates and other off-peak reductions. For example, business travellers vacate hotels at the end of the working week, and you can take advantage of bargain weekend deals, even in luxury hotels, as prices drop.
There is a growing number of large-suite hotels available in every price category. These offer about twice the amount of space as a normal hotel room. Most suites can accommodate up to four people, a saving which makes them popular with families. Bear in mind that the location will be reflected in the cost.
In most cases the price displayed / quoted is what you will be charged. Most hotels include breakfast in the room price. Hotel telephone charges are usually high, it may well be cheaper to use the pay phone in the lobby, particularly when calling overseas or using the Internet. Drinks from the in room mini-bar can be very expensive.
Solo travellers will find that single room rates are usually at least 80% of the double rate and are sometimes the same as for two people.
Although you'd expect hotel rooms in city centers to be noisy, most windows are double - or even triple-glazed to keep out the noise. Air conditioning is a common feature, so there is no need to open the windows in hot weather. Even so, some rooms are obviously quieter than others, if they are at the back of the hotel or overlooking a courtyard - check when booking.
Television, radio and at least one telephone are usually provided in every room, even in modest lodgings, and most hotel bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms. Many mid-range hotels now offer fax points and machines in each room, a health club or exercise room and a full concierge service. Very few city center hotels have their own car park, a reduced (but still expensive) daily parking fee is normally payable in a local carpark. If there is no concierge at the hotel, front desk staff will be able to help with tourist information and to answer any queries.
HOW TO BOOK
It is advisable to make hotel reservations at least one month in advance. While it's unlikely that the hotel will be fully booked, you may well find that the best rooms and suites have been taken, especially if a major convention is taking place. The busiest periods area at Easter, July & August (Summer Holiday Period) and Christmas.
Book directly with the hotel by telephone, letter or fax. If you require, we can arrange through a fully bonded tour operator, not only your accomodation but flights, car-hire as well.
Written confirmation of your telephone booking will be required, probably with a deposit as a guarantee of your arrival; any cancellation fees may be deducted from this. You can pay by credit card, international bank draft or money order, or travellers cheque. Advise the staff if you are going to arrive at the hotel after 6pm, or your room may be let again, unless you have prepaid with a credit card.
Hotels are busiest during the week, when business travellers are in the city, so most of them offer cheap packages to encourage more weekend business. It's often possible to move from a standard to a luxury room for the weekend at the same rate.
A lower corporate rate is usually available to employees of large companies. But quite often, reservation clerks will grant you discounts on request without even asking for a company affiliation.
Package tours can also provide savings on the usual price. These rates may not oblige you to stay with a tour group, only to use their air and hotel arrangements,
These packages may also include airport transfers, an additional saving.
By law, new hotels must provide facilities for disabled visitors, and many older buildings have been renovated to comply, too. Guide dogs are allowed in most hotels but it is advisable to check when booking.
TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN
Irish hotels generally have a very welcoming attitude towards children.
Facilities like cots and lists of babysitters are normally widely available, and most hotel restaurants are happy to cater for young guests.
Travelling with children can be cheaper than anticipated. Many hotels do not charge for children if they stay in their parents' room, or make only a small charge for an extra bed. There is usually a limit of one or two children per room in these cases and most hotels stipulate that the children must be under a certain age, often 12. Parents of older children are expected to pay the full price, although the age limit is occasionally extended to 16. Ask about family deals when booking.
BED AND BREAKFAST
Ireland is probably best known for its very high standard of B&B accommodation. Bord Failte is the official Irish Tourist Board and accommodation that is approved by them can be recognised by a sign displaying a shamrock on the premises. Bord Failte classifies its accommodation with a star rating - the higher the star rating, the better the facilities a guest can expect. Town & Country Homes are a similar body.
Price wise, a person can expect to pay between 20 Euros - 40 Euros per person sharing for B&B accommodation depending on facilities and location.
Many people ask . . . "What is a traditional Irish Breakfast?
Well it's a great way to start the day and should consist of the following:
A cereal and fresh fruit juice starter - sausages, egg, rasher, black & white pudding, tomato, toast and fresh homemade brown bread for the breakfast - served with tea or coffee.
There is an increasing amount of self-catering accommodation to be had in private homes & apartments. This varies from an en-suite room in a flat with an owner-host in residence to an entire house to yourself, with its own kitchen and bathrooms, rented out while the owner ia away.
Staying in self-catering enables you to soak up the local neighbourhood atmosphere and to visit local restaurants & bars, usually far more reasonably priced than those in the cities.
Rates for self-catering vary from 200 Euros - 500 Euros per week for self-catering (up to 8 persons) again depending on location and time of year.