“Art does not reflect what we see,” the artist and Bauhaus teacher Paul Klee once said. “It lets us see.”
When I see a quote like this on a hotel website, I usually roll my eyes. However, I’ll make an exception for the Arthaus Hotel – a new boutique hotel behind Dublin’s Stephen’s Green Shopping Center.
The hotel has focused entirely on a concept look inspired by the Bauhaus, the hugely influential school of art, design, and architecture that was based in Germany from 1919 to 1933. The movement revolved around clean lines and geometric shapes. It sought to reconnect art with functionality and everyday life, and you could see its influence in everything from New York’s Seagram Building to Orla Kiely’s prints to the boxy, beautiful chairs on your Pinterest feed.
As I approach a night at this former Travelodge, I have no idea what to expect. Artistic gain or marketing nonsense? But the eye-catching works I see on the restaurant wall, painted on elevator doors, or dangling above the front desk somehow feel appropriate. After all, hotels are functional. But design can take them to another level.
Arrival & location
The Arthaus Hotel is a small, comfortable and ultra-central stay. It opened at the point where Bow Lane meets Mercer Street during the pandemic and I estimate it’s a three minute walk to the top of Grafton Street and Stephen’s Green. While Mercer Street itself is uninviting, it represents a changing side of Dublin — another relatively new addition, the 300-bed Marlin, is directly across the street.
The hotel’s exterior is unremarkable (one would almost walk by without noticing) but the Bauhaus chord strikes as soon as I step through the door.
As I look up to see a swirling ceiling mural, General Manager Seán O’Keefe gets a polite check-in underway, hands out room key cards, and names Saba or Pink on nearby South William Street as restaurants. It is a tiny reception area with stairs and lifts to the left and a bar and restaurant to the right. 7/10
service & style
As well as bathing in the Bauhaus, the hotel’s appearance is dominated by women, with interiors by Yvonne Clarke of Clarke & Whiteman and signature artwork by Fran Halpin and Deirdre McClorey, who pay special tribute to two now iconic Irish artists who were contemporaries of the Bauhaus, Mainie Jellett and Mary Swanzy.
In some places (e.g. the elevator doors) I find the painting pops but is ultimately somewhat painless. In other cases, it feels genuinely fresh and engaging (McClorey’s St. Stephen’s Green is a dramatic collage that stretches the length of a restaurant wall and is made up of discarded items like plastic bags and construction waste from around the hotel).
About 100 pieces of art are scattered throughout rooms, corridors, and public spaces, ranging from the fun to the unforgettable.
However, don’t expect artistic immersion on the level of The Merrion or Kelly’s Resort in Rosslare. The theming here feels more like The Hendrick, a street-art themed hotel in Smithfield, or the rock memorabilia and pop art of The Hard Rock Hotel — both also operated by Tifco in Dublin. It also reminds me of Press Up Group hotels like the Devlin and Dean, enlivened by new, playful Irish art. 7/10
The 41 rooms are compact, ranging from Boutique (15-18 sqm) to Superior (20-23 sqm) to Executive (21-25 sqm), with rates increasing accordingly.
We stayed in an executive room with bold blue tones and geometric shapes running through headboards and plush furniture (others are decorated in bright coral or earthy green tones). Details like walnut cabinets make things stand out, and beds are good. Ironically, as a travel writer, I rarely sleep well in hotels. I have here.
The bathroom had a spacious shower and I loved seeing large dispensers filled with products from Irish company FieldDay instead of disposable bottles. On the other hand, the street view is limited and uninspiring, the desk impractically slim, and while there are compostable mugs, the coffeemaker is flanked by a pet — UHT milk cartons. 7/10
Breakfast service is nice and warm, but the selection itself is disappointing — a very basic continental-style buffet tucked into a corner by the bar. Generic paper labels such as “white and brown bread” and “brown flakes” preface the items, parrying any indication of origin.
The short à la carte menu is better, with options such as a full Irish (€12), chorizo hash (€7.50) or a French toast (€9.50), where a lovely toast under squirts of sweet maple syrup (above), but the bacon is tough and difficult to cut.
And that’s it. At Laszlo’s (the bar and restaurant is named after a Bauhaus teacher) you’ll find a small cocktail menu (€8.95 to €12) and friendly service, plus a private events space, but no lunch or dinner at the moment. That’s because of the staffing issues affecting the hospitality industry across the country, I’m told. Dublin is crammed with restaurants but I hope there is room for development here. 4/10
The final result
“We’re trying to create a hotel that’s a little more unique,” Tifco’s David O’Connell tells me. “It’s not just a bedroom. There is a story behind it.”
I admire that. I admire anyone who thinks about hotel design and public relations. Creativity takes more energy and effort than throwing up generic blocks, but it makes Hotels so much more memorable.
Arthaus has made an effort, feels inclusive, and while I don’t think it’s as layered or polished as similarly dedicated launches like Wren Urban Nest or Zanzibar Locke, there’s a lot of potential…if it chooses to pursue it .
If you book directly on the hotel’s website, you will receive a €10 discount per night (use the code DIRECT10).
Hang Tough Contemporary’s Páipéar group exhibition of works on paper runs through August 28 at the Central Plaza on Dame Street.
Room-only rates from €199 this fall in a boutique queen room. Parking at nearby Q-Park costs extra. Pól was a guest of the hotel. arthausdublin.ie
https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/ireland/hotel-review-a-new-boutique-hotel-brings-bauhaus-and-female-led-design-to-dublin-41918786.html Arthaus Hotel Review Dublin: A boutique stay with more than a touch of Bauhaus