Special Guest Review: Exploring Ireland’s Radisson Properties

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My partner Jay wrote an article about our hotel stays at the Radissons of Ireland. I’m still working on full reviews of all the properties – they’ll be posted soon.

I thought it might be nice to read a different viewpoint and hear a new voice. Jay recently opened the US Bank Club Carlson Visa Signature card (pre-devaluation) and is still getting the hang of this points and miles business. So our trip to Ireland trip really was a last hurrah with Club Carlson – for both of us.

Ireland is Club Carlson HEAVEN, by the way. They have hotels in every major Irish city (see map below). It’s really too bad that not only are BOGO award nights going away, but categories are going up, AND the free night certificate they give after $10,000 in spend is only good in the United States.

Anyway, I’m also working a few new articles for the What to Do series. I’d definitely welcome other guest writers that would like to share their viewpoints about the best places to stay, where to eat, and how to get to your neck of the woods. Feel free to email if you’re interested – I’d love to learn about new places!

Without further ado, take it away, Jay!


We stayed at almost 50% of the Radissons in Ireland (4 out of 9)!

Our Radisson/Club Carlson Circuit

In order, we stayed at:

  1. Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Dublin
  2. Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Galway
  3. Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Limerick
  4. Radisson Blu St. Helen’s Hotel Dublin

That’s a lot of Radisson!

Blu Royal, Dublin

I’m going to gloss over the Blu Royal, Dublin, since Harlan already covered our experience.

Our desk agent Francois (the French one!) cannot be glossed over. He was excellent during check-in and check-out and our stay was better because of him. Francois also told us that we absolutely HAD to check out RAW – Sushi in the Sky, the restaurant that sat atop our next destination. Cool!

Overall experience: 5/5

Blu Hotel & Spa, Galway

Driving into Galway was pretty much a disaster. Road construction clogged the narrow streets coming in and out of the city. But, signs for our hotel were frequent and prominent (unlike everything else in Ireland) and parking in the garage was easy. A quick elevator ride led us into:

Lobby of the Radisson Blu Galway

The front desk in Galway. Fancy!

The property was very nice. Unfortunately it was overflowing with people since there was a big event happening in their conference space. Check-in was a bit of a chore, but we were upgraded again! Free breakfast! Yay!

Hallway leading to Room 315

Hallway leading to Room 315

Room 315

Room 315

The room was spotless, had great wifi, and came with a beautiful view of the horrendous traffic we had just suffered through.

The view

The view

The room

The room

The bed

The bed

The bed situation was the same as the Dublin hotel – two twins pushed together to make a King. This was fine, but the seam in the middle was pretty annoying.

Nespresso Machine – a very nice touch!

Nespresso Machine – a very nice touch!

Not as nice as the Dublin hotel, but perfectly functional!

Not as nice as the Dublin hotel, but perfectly functional!

This Works bath products

This Works bath products

Everything seemed fine. We dropped our bags and went out for an evening in Galway.

Galway, Ireland

Galway, Ireland

It was a blast! Such a cute town.

Dinner

For dinner we ate at RAW – Sushi in the Sky. No reservation needed. We walked in and were seated immediately.

Cute place!

Cute place!

And I will say – I think this was some of the best sushi I’ve eaten in my life!

Soft rice, flavorful fillings, perfectly constructed – yum! 

Soft rice, flavorful fillings, perfectly constructed – yum!

I can’t say enough about the food. This restaurant definitely deserves its reputation.

The service, unfortunately, was lackluster. We were left alone in the restaurant for over thirty minutes with empty plates and glasses. Only after we were standing up, ready to walk out the door, did a waitress make herself available, and even then it took an additional 15-20 minutes for her to produce a check. It really put a damper on an otherwise amazing dining experience.

Strike 1 

Harlan and I weren’t about to let some spotty service ruin our trip. I mean, who hasn’t waited on a check before?

Strike one came around 5am, when we were jolted awake by the most terrifying explosion of noise I have ever heard. I leapt out of bed, fearing for my life. What was this awful commotion? I had never heard anything like it.

I immediately phoned the front desk to ask if there was an emergency. The clerk apologized and explained that someone in the kitchen had tripped the fire alarm.

Okay… it was an accident. I can understand a one-time accident.

Breakfast

A delicious, full Irish breakfast was available during our whole stay – yummy!

Fresh fruit, pastries, and cereal

Fresh fruit, pastries, and cereal

My carnivorous breakfast

My carnivorous breakfast

Lots of juice and smoothies!

Lots of juice and smoothies!

Staying in the Business rooms at the Radisson is definitely the way to go – we saved a bundle with these free breakfasts!

Strike 2

On our second evening, we decided to eat at the Radisson Galway’s Atrium Bar and Lounge.

Radisson Galway Atrium Bar and Lounge

Radisson Galway Atrium Bar and Lounge

It looked nice, but we left after waiting nearly an hour for our food to be delivered. We were assured that the food would be physically brought out to us around 30 minutes in, but canceled our order after waiting another half hour. No bueno.

Strike 3 

During our final night, we were woken by the fire alarm not once, but TWICE. Deafening noise jolted us out of bed at 1:30 am AND 5 am.

Both times we called to the front desk to make sure we weren’t actually in danger of being roasted alive and both times we were given the same excuse that ‘someone in the kitchen’ had tripped the alarm.

Three fire alarms in two nights AND bad service in two separate restaurants? Not acceptable. One star simply because the sushi at RAW was amazing! I wouldn’t recommend that anyone stay here.

Overall Experience: 1/5

Blu Hotel & Spa, Limerick

The Limerick Radisson is right off a main highway and was easy to access. It also had FREE parking (wahoo!) which was very nice after four nights of parking garages.

Radisson Blu Limerick

Radisson Blu Limerick

 Check-in was smooth and simple

Check-in was smooth and simple

This sight greeted us on the way to our room

This sight greeted us on the way to our room

 No upgrade this time – bummer!

No upgrade this time – bummer!

Same bed situation - two twins. Same annoying divot in the middle

Same bed situation – two twins. Same annoying divot in the middle

Functional, clean bathroom

Functional, clean bathroom

Biggest difference – no Nespresso machine!

Biggest difference – no Nespresso machine!

Overall: cute room!

Overall: cute room!

As it turns out, the Radisson Limerick is actually 15-minute drive from the city and there would be no parking due to a huge marathon happening the day we arrived. So, we opted out of seeing the city. Next time, Limerick!

This location was fine, but being outside of the actual city kind of a bummer. But it was a great spot to hop on the highway and drive away, which is what we did.

Overall experience: 4/5

Radisson Blu, St. Helen’s, Dublin

This property is beautiful! It’s housed on a mid-1700 estate that’s now an Irish national monument.

Radisson Blu St Helen's - Stunning!

Radisson Blu St Helen’s – Stunning!

This lobby welcomed us when we entered

This lobby welcomed us when we entered

Check-in was smooth and easy

Check-in was smooth and easy

Marble staircases and furnishings

Marble staircases and furnishings

The hallway leading to our room

The hallway leading to our room

No upgrade – but we hardly noticed

No upgrade – but we hardly noticed

Again with the two twin beds an annoying seam – that’s just how it’s done I guess

Again with the two twin beds an annoying seam – that’s just how it’s done I guess

The bowl of fresh fruits was a nice touch!

The bowl of fresh fruits was a nice touch!

The real star of this property was the Orangerie Bar and Ballroom – a gorgeous multi-room area where you could drink and dine while seated on beautiful, comfy furniture.

And a great drink selection!

And a great drink selection!

Great service AND a balcony!

Great service AND a balcony!

This room was lit with big chandeliers and had pretty marble columns

This room was lit with big chandeliers and had pretty marble columns

We also dined at Talavera, an Italian restaurant in the hotel.

It was very good!

It was very good!

#shamelessfoodselfie

#shamelessfoodselfie

Staying at the St. Helen’s location was such a treat! It’s not often you get to see such a beautiful property. It was really a special experience. I encourage everyone to try and stay here at least once!

Overall Rating: 5/5

Bottom line

Galway aside, I had an amazing time at all the Radissons in Ireland. The rooms were clean, serviceable, and staffed by wonderful people. Each had its own special quirks that made them memorable.

I would specifically encourage other guests to stay at both Dublin locations – St. Helen’s for the amazing property and the Blu Royal in Dublin for its great location within the city – and definitely steer clear of the Galway property!

Has anyone else stayed at these hotels? How was your experience?

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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  1. Stayed at Radisson Blu Athlone last November for $37 USD per night on 2-for-1 Gold elite rate.

    Spent three nights at Radisson Blu St. Helen’s. Loved that area of Dublin and south county outside of the big city. Your room photos look like the same room I had for my stay.

    • We didnt get a chance to stay in Athlone! How would you rate your experience?

      Glad you liked St. Helen’s too! Did you eat at the restaurant?

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