Mark Casserly reviews the Intercontinental Hotel, Simmonscourt Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

The Intercontinental is located in the leafy suburb of Ballsbridge and is very easily accessible for all visitors. The hotel is around 30 minutes away from Dublin Airport and the Aircoach Bus, which goes to and from terminals 1 and 2, has a bus stop right outside the hotel.

The Sandymount Dart Station is also a five minute walk from the premises with a return journey into the city centre costing only €3.30.

For visitors driving to the hotel, there is onsite car parking available at a cost of €18 per vehicle per night.
Staying at The Intercontinental is also perfect for taking a stroll to the idyllic Herbert Park and the scenic Sandymount Strand which are both nearby.

The Stay

During my time at The Intercontinental I stayed in one of the luxurious one bedroom balcony suites. These spacious suites have separate bedroom and living and dining room areas and offer fantastic views out over the neighbourhood.

Upon entering the suite and walking past the Nespresso coffee machine and minibar, guests move into the living area which contains a sofa, armchair, dining table and work desk. Throughout this area, and indeed the whole suite, there are a lovely combination of purples and golds which help to further enhance the elegance of the room.

In the suite I stayed in, the living area had two beautiful paintings on the walls. These works were from the early 1900's and were created by famous County Roscommon artist Percy French.

The bedroom contained a plush king-sized bed. This pillowtop bed was covered with a light and airy duck down duvet which I greatly welcomed for during the warm summer night I stayed.

The bathroom has been marvellously designed with Italian marble and contains a deep soak bath, a separate walk-in shower and Byredo toiletries as well as soft bathrobes and slippers.

This suite is the definition of luxury and would definitely impress anyone who stays in it.

Photo: Mark Casserly

Food & Drink

During my stay, I had a three-course dinner in the hotel's Seasons Restaurant. The menu I chose from has only just been released and will be available over the coming months. All the dishes I ate were amazingly delectable and were definitely up there with the finest food I have tasted.

The restaurant is located in a stylish dining room which has a nice view looking out onto the picturesque terrace gardens. The large windows also help to flood the room with natural daylight coming in from the gardens.

Photo: Mark Casserly

For the starter I had a refreshingly light watercress soup with a poached organic hen egg and chives.
For the main course I ate a lamb rump and shoulder which came with harissa hummus, potato gratin, brined lemon, olives, chickpea and lamb jus. The lamb was so perfectly tender that it just melted in my mouth.

As a side, I had the moreish truffle fries which were covered in pecorino cheese. These dishes were prepared by executive chef Alberto Rossi and were completely faultless. Rossi and his culinary team use the finest, locally sourced seasonal ingredients. For example, the Irish grass fed beef comes from McLoughlin Craft Butchers in Co. Dublin, the free range Irish chickens from Manor Farm, processing plant in Co. Cavan and the heritage potatoes from Ballymakenny Farm, Co. Louth.

For dessert I had the flavourful lemon and black pepper chess pie with vanilla ice cream. Orna Larkin, head pastry chef at The Intercontinental, is an expert at her craft and deserves praise for the high quality of her work.

Photo: Mark Casserly

The full Irish breakfast the following morning was delicious with other options on the breakfast menu including Irish smoked salmon, Belgian waffles and lemon ricotta pancakes.

All-day dining is available in The Lobby Lounge, which has been newly refurbished. and looks out onto the Terrace Gardens. The hotel also has a resident pianist that performs here every Friday and Saturday night from 8-10PM. This is also the perfect spot to enjoy some champagne or cocktails made by one of the hotel's mixologists.

Photo: Mark Casserly

This Whiskey Bar is a quaint area adjacent to The Lobby Lounge and is where over 100 varieties of whiskeys can be found and served by the hotel's whiskey sommelier.

A longstanding tradition at The Intercontinental is afternoon tea. It is served in The Lobby Lounge and Reading Room daily from 12-4.30PM and guests are treated to a selection of finger sandwiches and freshly baked scones and pastries. There are an abundance of teas to choose from while a glass of Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut or Blason Rosé Champagne can be added to make the experience even more special.

The Facilities

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As soon as you exit the elevator and enter the health club at The Intercontinental you will almost immediately be transformed into a zen-like state thanks to the sounds and colours emanating throughout this area.

The spa contains a 14 metre heated pool and a whirlpool jacuzzi. This pool area is bathed in natural light from outside which adds to its sense of serenity. There are also dedicated hours for children which allows families to have their fun and relaxation too.

A state-of-the-art gym can also be found here for those looking to keep up their fitness routine while away from home.

The spa has 4 treatment rooms with treatments carried out by award-winning therapists. These therapies are carried out using high-quality ESPA products and range from facials and massages to reflexology and pre and post natal treatments.

The Price

I was invited to stay at the hotel for purpose of review. A classic room (room only rate) starts from €310. A 1 bedroom suite with a balcony, like the one that I stayed in, starts at €800.

The Verdict

It is no wonder that celebrities such as Bob Dylan, Mariah Carey and Adele have stayed at The Intercontinental as this urban resort offers great privacy in a stunning location. It is easy to see why it is one of the country's leading hotel's. No stone is left unturned in creating an exemplary experience for all guests with all staff carrying out a great service. The Intercontinental is truly a luxury hotel, with every aspect in this prestigious establishment of the highest calibre.

A big thanks to head concierge Valerie for showing me around and sharing with me all her excellent insight on The Intercontinental and to general manager Nicky for making me feel so welcome.

For more staycation inspiration, check out our review of kayaking on West Cork's Beara Peninsula and exploring the food and drink of Galway.

- Written by Mark Casserly