Number 31 Dublin: Ireland’s Glamorous Bed And Breakfast
Neither hotel nor guesthouse, Number 31 transcends categorisation. The former home of celebrated (and controversial) Irish architect Sam Stephenson, Number 31―the name alludes to its address at 31 Leeson Close―is today one of Dublin’s most distinctive places to stay. As a heritage-listed building, Number 31 maintains the distinguished atmosphere that prevailed when Stephenson, ever the bon vivant, hosted here a plethora of celebrities and dignitaries including Grace Kelly, Henry Kissinger, and the paragon of Swinging Sixties fashion known as Twiggy in his avant-garde residence.
Leisure travellers from across the world come to Number 31 for weekend citybreaks or longer stays time and again as it is the perfect base for guests looking for charming accommodation in a serene environment. The centrepiece of Number 31 is the expansive living room with a large, sunken conversation pit warmed by an aromatic peat fire. Today, this living room serves as a relaxation room for the interesting mix of guests who call Number 31 home when they are in Dublin. The room’s double-height, floor-to-ceiling glass wall looks out to an intimate garden, across which is a classic Georgian townhouse also owned by Number 31 where 15 additional bedrooms offer a more traditional ambience enhanced by contemporary style details and a refined colour palette.
The townhouse’s front door opens onto Fitzwilliam Street, home to some of Dublin’s most outstanding examples of Georgian architecture. Attractions appealing to the urbane traveller lie a short walk in every direction―the tranquillity of St Stephen’s Green and the boutiques Grafton Street shopping to the north, chic Ballsbridge to the east, the lovely and historic Grand Canal to the south, and the National Concert Hall just a couple of blocks to the west. Not many Dubliners are even aware of the existence of Number 31, holding true to its status as a member of Hidden Ireland, an eclectic association of the country’s most discreet manor houses and hotel establishments.
This unique property has won accolades from discerning locals and visitors since its opening more than a decade ago both for its special accommodation and for its excellent breakfast, always a source of pride in Irish hospitality. Now under the new ownership of Splash Hospitality, the hotel company, led by two amiable Rays of sunshine in the form of Managing Director Ray Byrne and Director of Operations Ray Hingston, has plans to enhance the quality of the property to reflect further its status as Dublin’s most glamorous bed and breakfast while preserving the historical aspects that make Number 31 such an atmospheric place to stay.
One less tangible aspect that will certainly not change is the privacy. Guests have their own keys to the front doors of both houses and can come and go as they please without ever feeling as if they staying in a hotel. Mr Stephenson’s master bedroom is found just off the living room of the original house, discreetly tucked away off to the side. His unique bedroom has no windows, only a skylight above the bed, and his master bathroom is a masterpiece of sleek lines and tilework―an exceptional guestroom in an exceptional guesthouse.
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