The Alex has an A-list location on Fenian Street in the heart of Dublin.
You can fly into Dublin International from around the UK (it’s just over an hour from London), Europe and North America. The airport is 13km from the hotel; the journey takes around half an hour in a taxi.
The city tram runs right past the front door – follow the tracks to the nearest stop, just up the road. For longer journeys, Pearse station is a short walk from the hotel; from there, you can take the intercity service to Belfast (two hours and 40 minutes), or head down the coast to Bray (one hour) and Wexford (two and a half hours).
Hire a car from the airport if you’re planning to explore the rural riches of Emerald Isle. While you’re in Dublin, store it at the car park 100m from the hotel (€15 a day).
Worth getting out of bed for
At the hotel itself, head down to the espresso bar for a coffee and a sweet treat, hit the high-tech gym (it has every machine and accessory you can imagine… and a lot you didn't know existed) and refuel with a health-food salad at the restaurant. If you’re staying in an Executive Room or a suite, you’ve got access to the swish Executive Lounge, which has its own bar for snacks and drinks throughout the day – and don’t worry, there’s super-fast WiFi too.
Then head out into Dublin – you’re in the heart of the Georgian district. Browse the big-name shops along Grafton Street, then mooch around Merrion Square, the townhouse-fringed park that was once home to Oscar Wilde and W.B. Yeats among other distinguished Dubliners. On its western edge, you’ll find the National Gallery, filled with blockbuster baroque paintings, work by the Dutch masters, and finest collection of Irish art in the country. Trinity College is Ireland’s most prestigious university – and its cobblestone grounds make it a lovely spot for a stroll, or a picnic on the lawn. Don't forget to take a gander at the extraordinarily well-preserved, 9th-century Book of Kells. After all that roaming and romance, it’s only right to pop by the shrine of St. Valentine (at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel), and pay your respects to the patron saint of lurve.
Try the tasting menu at Delahunt (there are vegetarian and vegan options too). The cosy candle-lit dining room is a particularly romantic spot to spend a few hours tasting Irish cuisine. The menu changes, but you can expect high-quality dishes – we loved the globe artichoke, monkfish satay and forced rhubarb dessert on our visit – plus the bread (always try the bread). The Market Bar serves gourmet tapas on sociable canteen tables, under the vaulted ceilings of a converted warehouse – there’s no music, so all the atmosphere comes from the din of diners and the open kitchen. Chimac is all about Korean-style chicken (brined for 18 hours, double-fried and doused in fiery spice), home-made pickles and cold craft beer. Michael’s is the spot for special-occasion seafood; or drop by Little Mike’s (a few doors down) for casual plates of oysters and scallops at the counter.
Network does all manner of pastries and a very respectable flat white, but the single biggest reason to go is the smashed avocado on toast. Brother Hubbard has a few outposts spread across the city. Whatever you do, go with an appetite – try the vegan mezze tray or the pulled pork croque madame.
The discreet doorway of the Vintage Cocktail Club is a portal to a different world – specifically, a Prohibition-styled speakeasy crafting madcap cocktails. The drinks list is a journey through time, from a 17th-century-inspired milk punch with freshly grated nutmeg, to a 1930s mai tai and the bar’s latest signature creations. If you’re going to go for a pint of Guinness and a folksy singalong anywhere in Dublin, it’s got to be riverside in Temple Bar.