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Brooks Hotel

by Sarah Shuckburgh

The two best features of this Dublin hotel are its location - minutes from Grafton Street shops, Trinity College and the pubs and live music of Temple Bar - and the warmth and friendly charm of its staff. Brooks Hotel lacks the stuffy formality of many 4-star hotels, and everyone who works here, whether they are receptionists, waiters, managers or cleaners, greets each guest with smiles, good wishes and blessings. They really are interested in you. Nothing is too much trouble. For Londoners like us, this friendliness was quite overwhelming and wonderful.

Brooks styles itself as a boutique hotel, and is the only member of Small Luxury Hotels in Dublin, but with 98 bedrooms, it is not exactly small. Nor is this purpose-built hotel eye-catching or elegant. It opened in 1997, and an annexe with bar, spacious new dining room and extra bedrooms, was added in 2004. The hotel stands in an unexceptional street, facing a bleak multi-storey car park - no Georgian architecture in sight. The rooms at the back are quiet, but at the front you may be roused by clubbers going home in the early hours.

The interior décor is well-appointed and comfortable, but Brooks lacks the intimacy and history of some other Dublin hotels. The bedrooms come in a choice of 'traditional' or 'modern' furnishings. An unusual feature is the pillow menu - useful if you are allergic to feathers. The more expensive rooms have video and DVD, but every room has TV, iron, mini-bar, tea-making equipment and air-conditioning.

Breakfast was delicious. I had porridge with Irish whiskey stirred in, and felt set up for the day.

Tucked away in the basement is a pretty panelled sitting room, for hotel guests only (entry with your room key). It would be a peaceful place to relax in - cosier than the open-plan foyer and bar on the ground floor - but we kept forgetting that it was there, and never used it. Also in the basement is an embryonic business centre, with free internet connection to its one computer; there are plans to put broadband in every bedroom. There is also a small gym and sauna.

First published by Travel Intelligence Ltd

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