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Bewley's Hotel, Dublin 

Thomas Prior House
Ireland 4
Tel: 353 1 668 1111
view web site ›'s insider take:

It was only a matter of time before Ryanair's business model came to be applied to hotels. Rooms at Bewley's are advertised from €59 (around $85) but creep up inexorably as the bookings roll in. Then come the add-ons: breakfast at €9.50; parking at €8; use of gym (a cab ride away) at €9.50. The rooms are basic, too—think single pillows; tiny, 12-inch tube TVs; a bare minimum of towels; and soap dispensers rather than individual bath products. Topping it all off, it's far from a city-center location. So why recommend it? It's the economy, stupid. Despite the add-ons, Bewley's has priced this product perfectly, offering real value for customers wishing to use the hotel as a base and little more. But there is more. The central staircase descends through an atrium-cum-conservatory into a hugely useful meeting area—where big, old leather seats sprawl about in the glow of (surprisingly) complimentary Wi-Fi. Cream and brown tones and a cheery mix of watercolors shore up a room that is bustling and invariably manages to throw up a free table. Last, but not least, there's the building itself. Bewley's is a refurb of Thomas Prior House—originally a Masonic girls' school, and a Victorian treasure that makes the neighboring Four Seasons Dublin look like Lego.—Pól Ó Conghaile

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