A friend and I decided it was time for a treat so we settled on a weekend at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. I made the booking online, two nights bed and breakfast and requested a twin room. The website makes it clear that any “preferences” cannot be guaranteed and confirmation should be sought directly with the hotel. After making the booking I emailed the hotel to request confirmation that we would be allocated a twin room. I received no response to this email so rang the hotel instead. I spoke with a nice gentleman who checked availability for the nights we were to stay and who confirmed to me that he had allocated us the required room.
We arrived at reception and were told that although we had indicated a preference for a twin room that there were none available and that we would have had to have rang in advance to “guarantee” one of these rooms. Apparently there was no log of my call and the man on reception gave the impression he did not believe I had made the call. A lesson learnt here to always ask who you are speaking with when booking something. He seemed to think that this was a non-issue in any event saying “sure isn’t the bed big enough”! We assured him that wasn’t the point and that we required two beds. He agreed to provide a roll up bed and that is what one of us slept on for the duration of our stay in the Shelbourne.
The Shelbourne building is old (dating back to 1824) but it was extensively restored in recent years and whilst there was obviously no change to the size of the rooms, I do not know why they do not have the type of flexible bedding you now see in even the smallest of hotels/B&Bs accross the globe where rooms can go from double to twin in the space of minutes as all beds are the same with two combined being a double. Despite the bedding issue, the room itself was lovely; though missing a few items off the advertised list in the brochure – I wouldn’t even have noticed this normally but I suppose having one issue makes it easier to find further fault.
Other than breakfast, we did not eat in the hotel for the weekend. The breakfast is served in the Saddle Room restaurant and is a real treat. For non-residents, the full breakfast is priced at e29 which is on the high side.
We had drinks in both bars. The main bar is called The No 27 Bar & Lounge and is busy spot and very popular on the Dublin social scene. If it’s busy you want, it’s the place to be. If not, then the Horseshoe bar is less frantic and we found a seat there both nights of the weekend (getting old!). It is nice to have the option of the two bars. We came in from a long day on the Saturday evening and decided to have some liqueur coffees in the Horseshoe Bar to warm us up. My friend ordered a Calypso Coffee and I, a Baileys Coffee. My Baileys Coffee was lovely but my friend was brought a French Coffee – brandy instead of the requested Tia Maria. It was laid in front of her and pronounced by the barman to be a “Calypso”. She did not complain (liking brandy anyway!) but really the barman should have known how to make this straightforward drink.
Whilst the service at the hotel was fine throughout our stay, I felt like we were made to feel lucky to be staying there rather than treated like valued guests. There was no comment card available in the room for us to fill out. However, a couple of weeks later I received an email asking me to complete a survey on my experience at the hotel. I duly filled this out and sent it back but nearly two months have now passed and I have not received any feedback on my survey questionnaire.
Come on Shelbourne, for a 5-star establishment you need to be better than this. Would I go back? Why would I need to when there is plenty of hotel accommodation in Dublin to try where, at a minimum, it may be easier to acquire a twin room if needed and where guests are more warmly welcomed.