Chic and Edgy in the City Docklands
It is hard to believe that there are 252 bedrooms tucked away in this vibrant hotel located at The Point Village in the rejuvenated docklands of Dublin. Named after the famous Gibson guitar the hotel opened in 2010 and is anything but understated. Sometimes ultra modern hotels disappoint because of various factors such as low ceilings, poor lighting and blandness. In one or two instances I have even been tempted to bring a torch with me because of the dark and gloomy interiors! Not so with this Scott Tallon Walker designed building. The first thing that hits you when you arrive at The Gibson is the amount of natural light which floods the entire Reception floor.
The exterior of the building is quite restrained on three sides but the west side leans literally towards the dramatic with large curved wooden beams running the entire side of the building. The hotel atrium is a dramatic double curved structure of ribs and glass with two glass external panoramic lifts which whisk guests up to the Reception and public areas on the third floor level. Alternatively guests can opt for the escalator ride, allowing time to enjoy views of the River Liffey (also known by its Joycean name of Anna Livia Plurabelle) and the surrounding docklands. There is a real thrill looking down from the Atrium to the ground floor – those with no head for heights beware. A concourse runs the entire length of the south façade joining the restaurant and bar areas to the Reception.
Public Rooms: The public rooms are very spacious with high ceilings and with a colour scheme that deserves a special mention; chic muted backgrounds with sudden strong bursts of primary colours in red and vibrant lime green, which is the theme colour throughout. Contemporary modern art is scattered throughout the hotel. I just fell in love with the Pig at the Reception. The Resident’s Bar adjacent to the Reception is fashionable and full of light from the surrounding glass walls. Around the corner off the southern concourse is the hemidemisemiquaver bar and is another ‘in place’ to be seen to hang out. A balcony runs alongside the concourse; ideal for hardy folks who like fresh air. A thoughtful touch is the basket with blankets, just beside the door as this area of Dublin can be quite windy, even on a calm day.
The Bedroom: Due to high occupancy on the evening I visited I was given an upgrade to the Gibson Suite, Room 681 – happy days… The first thing I noticed on the bedroom corridors was the angled number boxes outside the bedrooms depicted in the hotel’s lime green theme with the number visible from the side as well as front so that you see the numbers easily as you traverse the corridors. My snazzy suite comprised a sitting room which accessed a large bathroom which was also accessed from the bedroom on the far side. A separate corridor meant I could enter the bedroom by another route. Being a corner room the views across Dublin were out of this world. The bedroom was one of the quietest I had ever been in. I discovered on further inspection that not only was the floor to ceiling windows triple glazed but that there was then a small space of about a foot between yet another triple glazed window. This feat of engineering enabled the room to withstand ‘Storm Henry’ (our seventh storm in less than two months) and not even a whisper of wind noise was audible. Outside I could see a large wrap around balcony – but as it was early February it was too cold and windy to venture out there. Oh and by the way the Respa bed was superbly comfortable and configured perfectly to suit the room. Rituals toiletries added to the overall sense of luxury.
There are three courtyards within the hotel and many of the bedrooms overlook open spaces; much of the planting in the courtyards contain bamboos and their balletic movements are appropriate to a soothing stay.
The Coda Eatery: In keeping with the musical theme the Coda Eatery is located on one side of the main courtyard; the décor is that of clean lines with black tables and chairs interspersed with red banquette seating. Being a modern restaurant it was de-cluttered of linen and oriented in Feng Schui fashion. I felt quite philosophically harmonised with my environment so much so that I thought I was in some exotic Asian movie. Thankfully I didn’t need my little grandson’s light sabre to oust some fiery dragon. Alex, the superb Maitre’ D’ immediately engaged my attention with that evening’s Menu. For dinner I opted for celeriac and truffle veloute, followed by crab linguini. These dishes were beautifully presented and complimented by a glass of Linteo, a Scilian Insolia wine. Portions were very generous, so much so that I had to forego dessert. However, later on I confess that I had a nibble on one of the two chocolate guitars thoughtfully left in the bedroom, which was delicious. A big conference in town meant that they were expecting 250 for breakfast next morning. Breakfast is self service and despite arriving just after the main surge all the dishes on the counter were full and nicely presented. So often the self service breakfasts let hotels down if they are not refreshed and tidied up.
Guests are spoilt for choice as regards things to do. There is a sublime Relaxation Room on the 6th Floor. This wonderful space includes a terrace with two large copper tubs which overlooks the Aviva Stadium. The Odeon Cinema is situated on the ground floor with several theatres to choose from. Next door is the 3 Arena, where all the big music events take place. Across the bridge on the other side of the River Liffey is the new Bord Gais theatre who play host to a great variety of musicals. The Abbey Theatre is about a 7 minute taxi ride away (depending on traffic!) During the summer there are ferry rides up and down the Liffey and a good way to see the city centre if you feel a little lazy.
Just because a hotel is in a chain doesn’t mean that it is a poor relation of the more highly regarded individually owned and managed hotels. This hotel embraces its modernity by including lots of interesting elements that bring out the personality of the hotel. Even the website is trendy and cutting edge. The hotel was built primarily as a business hotel close to the nearby Convention Centre. At weekends it transforms itself seamlessly into a leisure hotel. The hotel flourishes because of its unique charisma and it is to be hoped that the Dalata group who recently acquired it will continue to promote the chic and edgy Gibson brand as a beautiful and worthwhile addition to the rejuvenated Dublin city docklands.