The Best Western Academy Plaza is a safe bet in a good location to visit the town and have a good night's sleep. Although its style is resolutely modern, with facilities to match, there is unfortunately hardly any natural light in the various spaces, which are consequently rather yellowish.
The establishment is located not far from O'Connell Street, the Bond Street of Dublin. Dublin international airport is 20 minutes away.
Two superb computers with free internet access are set up in the entrance area hallway, to surf the web standing up. Free Wi-Fi access is available throughout, and 14 of the rooms are suitable for guests with disabilities.
This handsome, labyrinthine Best Western opened in 1997 and was renovated in 2008 in order to add new rooms. It is a long, 7-storey building with low ceilings, served by 3 lifts. The long entrance hall is decorated in a combination of subdued colours (white columns, cream marble everywhere, black leather sofas) that is easy on the eye. The odd dash of colour is provided by a modern style of paintings on glass. The rooms are on the 1st to 7th floors. The small, windowless gym has 7 "Technogym" machines set next to one another on the light parquet floor. There is also a small beauty parlour, again without natural light.
The 285 spotless, new rooms are pleasantly decorated in an identical modern style. They are divided into 6 categories: single, double (small and large), triple, quadruple, Superior and suite. The top two categories are larger than the others, and offer more services. The rooms are provided with lots of light wood storage space, very comfortable beds (much appreciated), double glazing, a large plasma screen satellite television with more than 25 channels and a keyboard, tea and coffee-making facilities in a drawer, individual air-conditioning, a telephone, electronic safe, iron and ironing board. Great effort has been put into the lighting. In terms of decor, there is a carpet with orange, yellow and black squares; wall lamps above the headboard which, like the mirror opposite, is lined with imitation leather; and armchairs covered with leopard-print fabric. The Superior rooms boast bow windows. The suites are at the corners of the building. Be warned: the 50 rooms in the extension do not have an open outlook, and receive very little natural light. The cream bathrooms are very clean but a bit small. Two thirds of them have a bath, the rest a shower, and a hair-dryer and hospitality products are also provided. Room service is provided 24 hours a day.
"Sir Harry's Bistro" is a vast, L-shaped restaurant on two levels, and serves lunch and dinner. It is located opposite reception, and has a big, long bay window parallel to the street. Therefore, it does enjoy some natural light, but the little brown brick church opposite is very close to the building, preventing much light from entering. On account of this, the setting is the same yellowish colour as the light bulbs, which is a real pity. One section of the ceiling is decorated to resemble a starry night sky. Peaceful music helps relax guests sat around the large L-shaped counter or on one of the many velvet chairs and black leather sofas. A small selection of dishes is offered for lunch from 12:00 pm until 2:00 pm, Monday to Saturday. Dinner is served between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm, and is more substantial (?10 to ?15 per dish). There is also a short wine list.
Guests can also head to the stylish "Abacus" restaurant for dinner. It specialises in Chinese and seafood cuisine, but also offers Malaysian, Thai and European dishes. The plant patterns and gilding decorating the thick columns in here were painted by hand. There are also comfortable green velvet armchairs set along the counter, which is made of black granite and gilded bamboo stems. This theme is taken up elsewhere, with painted bamboos also set in the walls at the entrance of this well known restaurant. There are plenty of dishes to choose from, and set menus consisting of a starter, main course, ice cream, coffee or tea start at ?25.
There is also a long restaurant room serving breakfast only (Continental and Irish styles) as a buffet from 7:00 am to 10:00 am during the week and from 7:30 am to 10:30 am on weekends. It is furnished with a red carpet with big squares, beautiful chandeliers, and has bright red wall seats at each end, as well as many tables seating 2 to 4 guests, and comfortable chairs. The stylish black buffet station stretches along one wall. Here again, there is not much light.
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