A modern retreat in Dublin
In a city rife with landmarks, antiques and a history that stretches back centuries, it's refreshing to discover the modern side to Dublin. One place you’ll find it is The Marker Hotel, on the edge of the Grand Canal that opened in 2013 in a neighborhood lovingly called the Silicon Docks.
The whole area boasts a chic-contemporary vibe complete with one-of-a-kind art installations, the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and technology businesses peeking around every corner.
Yet, despite the setting, The Marker’s actual building speaks more to nature and features shapes found around Ireland. For example, the checkerboard facade is an ode to the hexagonal stones of the Giant's Causeway. And the rough edges of the property take form from the rugged Burren, a karst landscape in County Clare.
The name pays homage to the country, and comes from the historical marker in the Grand Canal that dictated the end of the trade route. In this way, the Marker showcases both a love for the island while tipping a hat to its future.
Each room overlooks either Grand Canal Square, the Docklands, the Wicklow mountains or Dublin itself. Like the outside of the property, the inside also features elements from nature, though in a thoroughly modern way.
However, the rooms prove more business-like with straight lines, lots of square shapes and shades of gray. Bold and cool colors accent the slate, and your room might have sparks of lime green, cobalt blue and aquamarine to give it a bit of a pop.
But just because the accommodations don't have a warming quality, that doesn't mean they aren't the epitome of comfort. Cozy blankets, armchairs, a luscious bed and floor-to-ceiling windows give the rooms a livable feeling, making it a great option for those who like to mix business with pleasure.
Your space may have an artsy Andreu white glass pedestal table, a Philippe Starck Flos D’E lamp or Eames-style Task Chair, helping to showcase the property's dedication to style and art.
Another stunning feature is the Italian Carrara and Black Nero Marquina marble bathrooms. They come with sleek Villeroy and Boch sinks and showers, and Malin + Goetz bath products.
Being only 25 minutes from Dublin Airport, within walking distance to many tourist spots and in the heart of the technology work center, one of The Marker's best assets is location. Not that you would ever have to leave once you settled in there. With three places to eat and drink and a superb spa complete with a glass-like infinity pool inside the facility, staying in proves an excellent option.
Take a dip and then book a muscle melt massage, a treatment that utilizes a special blend of muscle-warming ingredients such as black pepper and Spanish rosemary. For the jet-setter, consider a hydrating facial after your flight. The signature caviar facial proves a real treat, even if you can't eat the product, and the refresher facial uses organic Moor mud, an ingredient native to the area.
In addition, the spa menu includes an array of wraps, body exfoliations, prenatal massage and nail care. The Dublin hotel also offers a full gym and a eucalyptus-scented steam room.
One thing not to be missed at The Marker is the Brasserie, its casual yet upscale restaurant located right in the lobby. It focuses on locally sourced produce and a dedication to Irish cuisine, with a modern twist, of course.
Chef Gareth Mullins helms the kitchen, churning out dishes such as chestnut gnocchi with apple cider jam, ham hock and black pudding terrine, red wine poached brill with black lentils, and buttermilk mashed potatoes. Choose to perch at the large communal table, tuck into a booth or sit at the long banquette that looks out toward the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.
The luxury hotel hosts one of the only rooftop lounges in the city. Get a glass of wine, craft cocktail or beer and small plates of food while looking out over Dublin and toward the sea. If it's chilly, outdoor heating lamps and soft blankets will keep you toasty.
Or opt to drink inside at the Marker Bar, an artsy space accented in yellows, browns and grays that offers imbibers plenty of plush chairs, cozy couches and bar stools. Have your whole meal here, as the kitchen dishes out classic Irish fare and a dessert list sure to spark any sweet tooth.
While the bar definitely serves up great cocktails, it also whips up a healthy spa menu of fresh pressed juices, smoothies and salads.
No matter which path you take, don't pass up the selection of handcrafted Irish cheese, a tray that you won't easily find outside of the country.