The homemade preserves and oven-warm scones are reason enough to stay at this stately redbrick 1850 Victorian guesthouse, in one of Dublin's poshest tree-lined suburbs and a 25-minute walk from St. Stephen's Green. The welcome is friendly and professional, too, and the rooms are comfortable and traditional. It's also very close to the Aviva stadium.
YOU SHOULD KNOW While there are ground floor rooms, to get into the main entrance of the gueshouse there are 15 steps, and the reception, drawing room and dining room are all on the first floor - worth bearing in mind for any guests with mobility issues.
Restored rooms in the main house are lovingly decorated with Georgian antiques, Victoriana, and period wallpaper and drapes. The 13 rooms at the back of the house are less luxurious (although some compensate with garden views), but all are immaculate, and very quiet - some of the walls are two feet thick!
Bathrooms are cosy and clean, with subtle yellow tiles and bath/showers.
The reception desk is small but perfectly formed, and staff are armed with everything guests may need, from tips for where to dine to a cup of tea for early arrivals whose rooms may not be quite ready.
The guesthouse's breakfast is legendary, often voted amongst the best in Ireland, and it lives up to the hype.
There's no bar as such, but guests can have a glass of wine or home-made afternoon tea in Ariel's graceful, fireplace-warmed drawing room, complete with red and gold drapes, a Waterford-crystal chandelier, and comfortable leather and mahogany furniture.
Guests are welcome to use the lovely garden - more of a draw in the summer than in Dublin's notoriously damp winters, we admit.
The guesthouse is within a reasonable stroll of the city center - around 20 minutes to half an hour - although attractions nearer the river, from Trinity College to Temple Bar, are a bit further - up to 40 minutes. But there are buses or the Dart to take you some or all of the way.
The Lobster Pot (7-minute walk) is a quaint old-school seafood restaurant nearby. Or try The Chophouse (5-minute walk), a good local gastropub with a modern, airy feel and an international menu.
The Bridge Pub (7-minute walk) is one of only a tiny handful of pubs in Ireland to offer fresh, unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell to customers - the brew is kept in tanks in the cellar, and it is delicious. Or Searsons (11-minute walk) is a traditional pub and bar, nicely restored, with a great atmosphere on match days.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Traditional guesthouse fare here, and all the better for it - comfortable rooms, a friendly welcome, and a reliably quiet, cosy stay, plus the breakfast is a cut above.