A stunning property occupying a large corner site on the city’s most gracious Georgian square - overlooking a leafy park and only a minute’s stroll away from the City Art Gallery - this is the luxurious boutique hotel that visitors to Limerick had long awaited.
Immaculately restored in authentic celebration of its original architectural features, it is clear from the moment you cross the threshold that no expense has been spared to make this the most elegant and comfortable small hotel – and - far from the all-purpose plastic welcome that so often meets the traveller – well-trained staff show genuine interest in ensuring that visitors are introduced to the attractions of this fine city and enjoy their stay. (On the Guide’s initial visit, proprietor Patricia Roberts carried luggage to the room herself).
It’s true that there is a three floor climb to the two top-floor Lord and Lady Barrington rooms but, at the other end of this long building, there is a lift to take guests up to the top rooms, and you are rewarded with a view of the neat little Zen garden from the corridor as you make your way along to either the spa or the restaurant.
Set against a classically elegant colour scheme of eau de nil, mushroom and the palest of dove greys, the décor is appropriate to the period and enhanced throughout the hotel by glittering mirrors, gilded frames and polished glass.
This Limerick Hotels public rooms include a fine first-floor Drawing Room with an open turf fire overlooking the People’s Park in Pery Square (Afternoon Tea is served here, 3-6pm daily) and on the ground floor an intimate and very comfortably furnished bar, the Park Room Lounge, also has an open fire, encouraging relaxed conversation.
Yet, whilst all is comfort and elegance, this is not an old-fashioned place – all public areas have complimentary WiFi, and landline internet access is among the many facilities in bedrooms where, although coffee and tea making facilities are absent, you will find a safe, iron, hairdryer and the welcome courtesy of large umbrella.
Bathrooms are large and gleaming, with full size baths, giant monsoon shower heads, generous towels and L’Occitane toiletries; a bath butler menu is offered in all bedrooms, and organic seaweed baths are also available in most rooms.
The three types of room offered include four spacious and light-filled period rooms named after previous residents of the house and overlooking the park, terrace or garden; 15 Club rooms named after Irish poets and with a more modern classic tone; and a gorgeous Penthouse Suite with its own bar and dining area – and views across the city to the hills of Clare.
But if pampering is on your mind, the place to be is the vaulted basement, where the holistic Spa @ No. 1 offerings include a thermal spa (try the coal bunker sauna), sound wave therapy, tailor made programmes and a Zen garden; totally natural Sodashi products are used, along with the Voya organic range produced by the Celtic Seaweed Baths in Sligo - it all adds up to what is accurately described as a unique “Irish Spa” experience.
With a dedicated car park just a little distance away, this makes a fine place to stay – in the heart of the city yet quiet and harmonious, and with top-class dining to boot.
Conferences/Banqueting (60/70); secretarial services, video conferencing; free broadband wi/fi.
Rooms 20 (5 suites, 15 executive, 2 shower only, 1 ground floor, 2 disabled, all no smoking). B&B €82.50 pps, no ss. Children welcome (under 4s free in parents room, baby sitting arranged). Room service (all day); lift. Spa (sauna, steam room, treatments), snooker.
Although it’s called Brasserie One, the hotel restaurant offers an experience far removed from the breezy dining one associates with a brasserie, veering towards the fine dining end of the spectrum yet without being stuffy or overly formal.
Patricia and her team, including head chef Christian Baldenecker, support local suppliers and use the best Irish ingredients whenever possible – all meat is locally sourced from award-winning butcher and farmer Michael O’Loughlin.
The cooking style aims for simplicity in both classic and rustic dishes that are elevated by unexpected flourishes, such as a ballotine of foie gras served with a pear and chocolate chutney and a lime syrup or a dollop of a moreish chorizo jam alongside a pig’s head terrine. This is confident cooking with a light touch that focuses on interesting, creative combinations, where each element is well executed, letting the flavours speak for themselves and marry harmoniously on the plate as a whole.
Main courses showcase the freshest of fish dishes, with seafood featuring most prominently on the menu, although there is a beef, duck and chicken option too. A freshly made ravioli à la chef constantly changes, while vegetarians will always find one dish especially for them, all perfectly cooked and served with imagination and attention to presentation. A whole oven-roasted sea bass might arrived wrapped in a newspaper parcel, like a Christmas cracker.
The attention to detail carries through to the desserts, with something as deceptively simple as an Eton mess or vanilla cheesecake arriving not as you’d expect, but instead is deconstructed and artistically presented on the plate.
The award-winning wine list is extensive and well considered, with wines arranged according to the grape type rather than region. They are available by the glass or a 500ml carafe as well as bottles, and there is a small selection of pudding wine to accompany the sumptuous choice of desserts.
Excellent food together with a tasteful, understated atmosphere and top-rate service from knowledgeable and well-trained staff make this a premier dining venue in its own right for anyone visiting Limerick.
Private dining and wine tastings are also offered in The Wine Room (tastings for up to 25, dining for 8), The Boardroom (up to 20 for lunch or dinner, or 14 for meetings) and The Terrace (summer events – drinks and canapés for up to 30 guests).