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Honeymoon In Dublin

by Kathryn Lemmon, Wedding Zone Staff Writer

Honeymooning in Dublin? Why not consider an apartment?

Let's face it, a standard hotel room, especially a European hotel room, can be less than perfect for your honeymoon.  To get a good location, the price tag will be steep and the room tiny.  On the other hand, a rental apartment can provide ample space, extra amenities and more privacy.

As I began researching hotel rooms for an upcoming trip to Ireland, I stumbled upon what they call "self-catered" apartments in Dublin. The more I considered the idea, the more sensible it sounded. We could pick up food for breakfasts and dinners, thus saving on our meal costs. How pleasant it would be to really settle in and not need to endure the "generic hotel room" feeling. But, would the price be anywhere near our budget? When I did comparisons, the apartments were in the same range as the city center hotels.

Our plans had us arriving on a Wednesday morning and leaving the next Wednesday. Thanks to a major rugby match between England and Ireland, there were no apartments available over the weekend. Since we wanted to rent a car and drive to the west coast for two nights, it worked out fine. Unfortunately, Ireland lost the match, but the pubs were all overflowing nonetheless.

The contrast between a standard hotel room and our apartment was all too evident when we arrived in Bunratty, not far from Limerick. Our hotel room was tiny. It had all the usual amenities, but they were squashed into roughly a 12 x 12 space. We immediately knew noise would be a problem when we saw the two-inch gap under the door. Sure enough the next morning at 6 a.m., people were stomping down the hallway and shouting at each other. With Shannon airport only a few miles away, many visitors choose to stay in Bunratty on their first or last night in Ireland.

In terms of price per night, the apartment in Dublin was nearly the same as this claustrophobic space. The hotel room had no place to stow our bags, so they filled up what little floor area we had. On the plus side, it did have a great location for the sights we planned to visit and their buffet breakfast was tasty.

On Sunday night we were happy to return to our quiet apartment in Dublin and the space seemed all the more enormous after two nights in the cramped hotel.

The apartment had a large, well-equip kitchen with microwave, stove, and full-size refrigerator. Although we found no large super markets in the city center, smaller food stores called Centra, provided all we needed. After a long, tiring day of sightseeing, who wants the hassle of going back out to find a restaurant, not-to-mention the extra cost. First thing in the morning, I got my coffee, without waking my hubby or having to venture out into the world prior to caffeine.

As "serviced" apartments, daily maid service was included in the price. Although we didn't use them, the apartment had a washer and dryer in a separate laundry room.

Check-in and check-out for the apartments was handled at the Clarion Stephens Hall Hotel on Lower Leeson Street. We were pleased to know answers to our questions were just a phone call away, as it would be in any standard hotel. When we couldn't find our TV remote, for example, they were quick to bring us another.

During our time in Dublin we utilized the hop-on, hop-off bus service, did a great deal of walking and used taxi's. Driving in the city center is not recommended, due to congestion and difficultly parking.

We booked our Howard Johnson serviced apartment with a company called Prem Group. Currently, Prem Group has similar apartments in Nottingham, Manchester, Liverpool, and Bristol. Rates begin about 155 euros per apartment, per night. All their apartments in Dublin are located within the city center, walking distance to most major attractions.

For a convenient, inexpensive ride to and from the airport, Air Coach has a pick up point at the Clarion Stephens Hall Hotel, every fifteen minutes. The big blue buses get to the airport in an hour or less. For more information about Prem Group apartments, click on www.premgroup.com. Or, contact Howard Johnson Serviced Apartments - 81 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2, Ireland.


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