The Gibson Hotel is heralded as one of Dublin's most stylish hotels. Ed Leahy shares his thoughts.
A hemidemisemiquaver is a sixty-fourth note in music notation; it is also the name of the spectacular glass-fronted, elevated bar of one of Dublin’s newest hotels.
The Gibson Hotel is one of the capital’s most stylish establishments and the outdoor area of the bar provides breathtaking views of the city from its prime central location.
Enjoying a pint and the view from on high, the city sprawled beyond, while the pedestrian plaza below was a hive of activity.
Right across from my eye line sits Dublin’s premier music venue and the influx of people into this regenerating region was for one reason – The National were in town.
And what better way to treat yourself when your favourite band are playing than making a weekend of it at this ultra fashionable hotel that stands like a crystal cruise liner, docked in Dublin at the mouth of the Liffey.
Arriving early, I had spent the afternoon lounging in my stylish lodgings on the hotel’s fifth floor. The room, like the entire hotel, is a work of fine design, simple and slick, contemporary yet comfortable.
Seasonally mild, I enjoyed my complimentary cup cakes al fresco on the roof-garden-style balcony, a world away from the busy city going about its business below.
The music theme is certainly encouraged in the hotel and the complimentary copy of Hot Press provided a knowing nod for the concert-going guest.
If you want to make it a real rock ‘n' roll weekend at The Gibson, you can always check into the hotel’s penthouse, which apparently includes a state of the art sound system and the luxury suite offers unrivalled views over the city from its private terraced balcony.
After a few hours of familiarisation with the smart settings, I was confident enough to call it ‘The Hemi’, and a few hours before the gig, the bar was full of concertgoers, while the sense of occasion was building as we met with friends for some pre-gig drinks.
Formerly the Point Depot, the renovated and re-branded O2 Arena is no more than a hop, skip and a jump across the Point Village Square from the Gibson Hotel entrance, so you really are a bit spoilt to be so close to the venue.
Two hours of uninterrupted bliss later, the clamour for late-night taxis and Luas lines did not apply as we skipped back into the Gibson to continue a great night out.
The hotel bar went late and was Lit Up with a lively concert crowd enjoying All The Wine, many of whom had obviously made similar weekend arrangement as we discussed the Slow Show, sipping Pink Rabbits – pardon the song references!
The following morning I enjoyed an extended stroll about the old Dublin town docklands, where a transformation has been ongoing for the past decade.
Apart from a couple of idle years in recent recessionary times, the dockland sprawl boasts a brilliant energy as new and old, money and mayhem, cohabitate along the banks of the riverside.
I made my way up river, through the financial district, stopping off for a good dander about the CHQ Building’s warehouses and vaults, an amazing protected structure, housed on the banks of the river.
The towering Liberty Hall, bedecked in a colourful ‘1913 Lockout’ collage signalled the traditional boundary of the city centre, so I swung across the bridge onto the south side, where a similar renaissance is building along the riverbank back out towards the mouth of the Liffey
Magnificent modern buildings run the length of the south quays, which back onto Grand Canal Dock, while the water’s edge will provide stunning views of the upturned-keg-like Convention Centre. The Ferryman pub is a great stop for a sneaky pint, while there are a host of options around the canal dock for lunch or some afternoon bites.
The road runs down past Shelbourne Park greyhound stadium to Ringsend and as you cross the bridge into old Raytown, look right to catch an unspoilt spectacular view of the remarkable Aviva Stadium on Lansdowne Road.
Into Irishtown and back around to where the river meets the sea on Sandymount strand, before working my way back around to the East Link bridge to arrive back at the Gibson Hotel with a few hours to spare before dinner.
You are spoilt for choice with options to pass the time at the Gibson with a series of three heavily landscaped courtyard gardens in the hidden outdoor area, which were created to excite, surprise and delight, carefully designed with towering bamboos and calming water features.
I took advantage of the hotel’s private relaxation area on the sixth floor; a calm retreat where you can de-stress and rejuvenate in the sauna or steam room, or take it easy with a good book or bottle of bubbly.
An alternative option is to sink into one of the Japanese copper baths on the terrace area and experience the urban atmosphere with views that stretch as far as the Wicklow Mountains.
Dinnertime at the Gibson’s Coda restaurant is just as enjoyable as the no-fuss approach keeps very much in sync with the rest of the hotel, while the menu is based around wholesome food, in season and sourced locally.
The three-course set-menu offered a decent range of choices with excellent food and wine enjoyed throughout the evening with a flawless chocolate orange brownie to finish.
Back in the Hemi, there was no after-dinner concert crowd to contend with, so the atmosphere was, very much like the hotel, laid back, yet classy.
For more information, visit www.TheGibsonHotel.ie.