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What Are The Best Hotels & Areas To Stay In Dublin Before & After Your Tour?

What’s the best area to stay in Dublin? Discover travel expert John's favourite hotels in each neighbourhood, including maps and tips on where to avoid.

By John

As Senior Sales Specialist here at Vagabond Tours, I know that choosing a hotel in a city you've never visited is tough.

Actually booking that hotel for a reasonable price can be even harder!

That's where this Best Hotels in Dublin blog comes in.

Make sure you also check out my guide to Dublin hotels outside the city centre.

For now though, read on for our insider tips on where to stay in the Irish capital.

The First Rule of Booking a Hotel in Dublin

Before you do anything, remember this: booking a hotel in Dublin more than 12 months out is rarely possible.

For some reason — we're not entirely sure why — Dublin hotels tend not to be available more than a year away.

If your favourite hotel is showing up as unavailable, don't fear!

It doesn't mean that your ideal accommodation is booked up. You will just have to wait until closer to your travel date to make a booking.

If in doubt, get in touch directly with the hotel to ask what their policy is on future bookings.

The Best Hotel In Dublin For Our Tours

All of our tours start and end at the Grand Canal Hotel in Dublin.

If you’re booked onto a Vagabond or Driftwood tour, we recommend booking a room there.

On the morning of your tour, you simply stroll downstairs to meet your VagaGuide and jump aboard your waiting tour vehicle.

When you return from your tour, booking a room at the Grand Canal Hotel means you’ll avoid the inconvenience of taking a taxi with your luggage to a different location.

Grand Canal Hotel Dublin

The Grand Canal Hotel In A Nutshell... 🥜

🚐 The Grand Canal Hotel is the only pick-up and drop-off point for ALL of our Vagabond and Driftwood Tours.

📍 It's located just south of Dublin city centre.

🏨 There's no obligation to stay at the Grand Canal Hotel and we're not linked with them - it just makes your tour experience more convenient!

🚶🏽 The downtown area of southside Dublin is a scenic 20 minute stroll from the hotel.

🚉 Grand Canal Dock train station is located less than 5 minutes walk from the hotel.

🏟️ Attractions within 10 minutes walk include the Grand Canal, the Aviva Stadium and Ireland's largest fixed-seat theatre.

Best Green Hotel in Dublin

At Vagabond Tours, we are huge advocates of responsible travel.

The Sandymount Hotel in Dublin shares our values of care for the planet and action to combat climate change:

  • 95% of the hotel’s waste is now recycled
  • 23% of the energy supply is sourced sustainably
  • Rewards and incentives are available to guests who adopt green practices
  • Beverages are served in 100% biodegradable, compostable coffee cups and lids
  • The hotel bar uses 100% compostable eco-friendly straws

The World Travel Awards recognised these efforts, naming Sandymount Hotel Europe’s Leading Green Hotel for three years in a row (2017-2019).

Best of all, the Sandymount Hotel is a mere 5 minute taxi ride from the Grand Canal Hotel. So you can be sure of helping the planet and arriving for your tour on time.

Best Areas To Stay In Dublin Near The Grand Canal Hotel

If the Grand Canal Hotel is booked up, it's best to stay somewhere nearby. That way you can take a short taxi ride or walk to the pick-up point on the morning of your tour.

Here are the best areas in Dublin to book a hotel close to our pick-up/drop-off point:

  • Grand Canal Dock
  • Northumberland Road/Baggot Street
  • Temple Bar/St Stephen’s Green
  • Ballsbridge

We recommend staying south of the River Liffey and close to, or in, Dublin’s downtown area.

Best Hotels in Dublin’s Grand Canal Dock Area

City centre attractions like Trinity College and Temple Bar are a stone’s throw away. What’s more, Grand Canal Dock features exciting cultural venues, such as the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, and practical transport links, like the Grand Canal Dock DART Station.

Bord Gais Energy Theatre at Grand Canal Dock in Dublin

Stay here if... You want to stay at the Grand Canal Hotel (GCH) but it’s booked up. From Grand Canal Dock, you’ll have a very short taxi journey to our tour pick-up point.

Hotel Name Marker Hotel Clayton Hotel
Rating 5 Star 4 Star
Average Room Rate €300 €110
Distance from Pick-up Point 5 min taxi 5 min taxi

Discover the best places to eat and drink near Grand Canal Dock/Hotel

Best Hotels in Dublin’s Northumberland Rd/Baggot St Area

These Dublin neighbourhoods are a genteel mix of commercial offices and Georgian townhouses, with decent options for restaurants and easy access to downtown attractions.

Grand Canal in Dublin

Stay here if... Walking distance to the Grand Canal Hotel matters to you. You’ll be so close if you stay near Northumberland Road that you should be able to stroll there in less than 5 minutes. Baggot Street and Lansdowne Road districts are a little further away, but not by much.

Hotel Name Waterloo Lodge Townhouse Schoolhouse Hotel
Rating 4 Star 4 Star
Average Room Rate €269 €89
Distance from Pick-up Point 5 min taxi 5 min walk

Find out some fantastically non-touristy things to do in Dublin

Best Hotels in Dublin’s Temple Bar/St Stephen’s Green Area

These downtown districts of Dublin are where the action happens.

Trinity College square in Dublin

Stay here if... Lively nightlife and/or close walking distances to the city’s heritage attractions are important to you.

You’ll be able to walk to Trinity College and the National Museum. But you’ll most likely need a taxi to bring you to the Grand Canal Hotel.

Hotel Name Westin The Fleet
Rating 5 Star 4 Star
Average Room Rate €400 €105
Distance from Pick-up Point 10-15 min taxi 10-15 min taxi

See which Dublin bars and pubs are our favourites

Best Hotels in Dublin’s Ballsbridge Area

Lying south of downtown, Ballsbridge combines upmarket residential streets with some characterful attractions.

Herbert Park is a sprawling green with a Sunday farmers market. The quaint village and beach at Sandymount is walkable from Ballsbridge.

Stay here if… You prefer quieter neighbourhoods and being closer to nature. Ballsbridge is further from Dublin city centre than any district mentioned above but still has good rail and bus links into downtown.

Hotel Name Intercontinental Clayton Ballsbridge
Rating 5 Star 4 Star
Average Room Rate €350 €95
Distance from Pick-up Point 5-10 min taxi 5-10 min taxi

Dine like a Dub with our shortlist of the best foodie hotspots in Dublin 

Best Hotels Near Dublin Airport

Dublin Airport is not located close to downtown Dublin or the Grand Canal Hotel. You’ll need to catch a cab when arriving and departing from our tours.

But this area still proves a popular choice for our guests. Why? Well, it’s just nice to roll out of bed and onto a plane, isn’t it? Especially at the tail-end of an energetic Vagabond adventure.

Stay here if… You prefer to minimise the risk of missing your flight home. And you’ve already seen everything there is to see downtown.

Hotel Name Radisson Blu Maldron Hotel
Rating 4 Star 4 Star
Average Room Rate €95 €80
Distance from Pick-up Point 30 min taxi 30 min taxi

Read more about transit to and from Dublin Airport into downtown Dublin

Where NOT To Stay in Dublin

Dublin city centre is split north and south by the River Liffey. For Vagabonds and Driftwooders, we don’t recommend staying on Dublin’s ‘northside’.

There are some fine hotels and charming neighbourhoods north of the River Liffey. The problem is the Grand Canal Hotel’s location on the ‘southside’; travelling there from O’Connell Street or further north could prove a headache.

And who needs headaches? You’re on vacation!

We would also advise against staying outside the immediate downtown Dublin area before or after your Vagabond or Driftwood Tour.

The coastal charms — not to mention lower prices — of hotels in Dalkey, Dun Laoghaire and Howth may tempt you.

We must stress, however, that the Grand Canal Hotel is a 45-60 minute taxi ride from each of the above districts. All of our tours depart between 8.10 and 8.30am. So avoid undue hassle and book a central Dublin hotel instead.

You can always take a day-trip to the pretty villages in and around Dublin

When Should I Arrive and Leave Ireland?

We advise arriving into Ireland at least the night before your tour departs.

One of the advantages of choosing Vagabond & Driftwood Tours is the reassurance that you’ll have full days on tour. An 8 day tour means just that; 8 full days.

To guarantee maximum value for you from day 1, all of our tours depart early in the morning, between 8.10 and 8.30am.

Because of this early start, we strongly recommend NOT arriving into Ireland the same morning as your tour departs. Even if your flight arrives on time, you may not clear Passport Control and hail a cab in time to reach the Grand Canal Hotel.

On the last day of your tour, you’ll arrive back in Dublin between 5-6pm. We advise spending an extra night in Dublin.

But time is limited and you need to fly out on the last night of your tour, please do not book a flight departing Dublin before 9pm.

This will ensure you have enough time to reach Dublin Airport, dump your luggage, get through security and pass US Customs pre-clearance — phew! — in time for your flight.

Check out our Ireland trip planning checklist

How Much Are Taxis In Dublin?

We recommend you stay at a hotel on the southside of Dublin city centre. This area does not cover more than a 5km radius of downtown Dublin and its southern suburbs.

Taxi sign in Ireland

The most you should pay for a taxi from your hotel to the Grand Canal Hotel within this area is €15-20.

Travelling before 8am, additional baggage and passengers all incur surcharges. However, €20 should be the absolute maximum you pay for a cab within the city centre.

If your accommodation is located north of the River Liffey, in suburban areas or near Dublin Airport, expect to pay extra.

Tipping your taxi driver isn't mandatory in Dublin, but always appreciated for friendly or helpful service. Rounding your fare up to the nearest €5 or €10 is a common practice.

Find out more about the rules of tipping in Ireland

Photo of Dublin doors by Robert Anasch on Unsplash

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