Hotel Rating: Cool meets couture at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

Hard Rock International is celebrating its 50th anniversary, which feels like a good time to visit one of its newest hotels – a Dublin edition in Temple Bar.

I’ve always had prejudices and perhaps misconceptions about Temple Bar. The cynic in me almost dismissed the area as a conspicuous tourist trap, negating local interests in favor of attracting overseas visitors.

But after staying at The Hard Rock – which opened here in February 2020 – I see a side that tries to embrace, not negate, Irish culture and music.

A consistent theme throughout the chain is of course the introduction of music into every aspect of your stay, but there’s a big Irish emphasis here, along with the stunning mainstream acts that adorn the walls of reception, the rooms, even the escalators and Rainbow Bridge, which connects the two main areas of the hotel (it’s very Instagram-friendly — if you’re into that sort of thing).

Arrival & location

The Hard Rock Hotel is located at 18 Exchange Street Upper, on a corner of Temple Bar near City Hall. That leaves Temple Bar’s action close by, but also feels better for a sound night’s sleep.

From the moment you step inside, the theme of celebrating the old rock messiahs is evident — memorabilia from acts like Janis Joplin, Nirvana, and U2 (of course) are etched onto the lobby walls.

The Hard Rock name and branding clearly borrow from fabled artifacts from a rock ‘n’ roll era of yesteryear, but there are also some pop nods – with a Beyoncé t-shirt and Justin Timberlake jacket from their concerts in Dublin.

Gatekeepers of “real” music might cringe at the inclusion of Timberlake alongside Kurt Cobain (one of his sweaters is on display), but expanding the demographic for visitors makes sense.

After initial confusion regarding the rooms, we were greeted with a warm welcome and briefed on the hotel’s key features – namely the amenities fused with music and the Zampas Bar & Restaurant. 7/10

service & style

My first thoughts when it comes to city hotels are: small and cramped. Hard rock real estate defies this. The hotel appears to be well staffed and someone is almost always on hand to help you with anything you might need.

It also has an undeniable sense of style. Opened just a month before the hospitality industry closed due to the pandemic in February 2020, it still feels chic and swanky, and there’s plenty of room for social distancing. 7/10

The rooms


One of the rooms in the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

If you’re looking for a modern experience on one of Ireland’s oldest streets, look no further.

The rooms and decor at the Hard Rock Hotel, which opened just two years ago, are modern and sleek. We stayed in a “superior” twin room on the fourth floor and found touchpads for lighting and room temperature instead of buttons and light switches.

The celebration of musicians and artists continued – think works featuring Jimi Hendrix, The Edge or Phil Lynott on guitar – and the color scheme is bright and contemporary.

Attention to detail is a key feature of the rooms – from the “Sound of Your Stay” playlist on the TV to the embroidered guitars on the pillowcase and padded shamrock-shaped headboard.

Our room had no view and instead looked into an apartment block which was the only downside to the experience. It may be worth requesting a view when booking, although prices may vary. 7/10

Eat Drink


Zampas at the Hard Rock Hotel

The food was the star of the show during our stay.

The hotel’s Zampas bar and restaurant serves “Peruvian food and drink with a distinctly Irish accent,” according to sales and marketing director Stephanie Hayes. The South American flavors coupled with the sparkling cocktails create the perfect atmosphere for Saturday night drinks with the girls or a large gathering of colleagues.

I chose chimichurri Irish chicken wings with grilled lime and cilantro as a starter (€9.95), followed by an O’Flynn smoked lamb tomahawk with yellow chimichurri sauce and roasted hazelnuts (€27.50). – 7.5/10

The final result

While the musical memorabilia is a clear calling card of hard rock, the real winner for me was the exciting restaurant, with solid Irish staples served with a spicy and invigorating twist. If you’re looking for a dinner that will fill you to the gills but still leave you wanting more, then this is the place for you.

insider tip

Music lovers can experience Dublin’s most notable art venues just a stone’s throw away. The 3Olympia Theater is on the doorstep, while further up Wexford Street you can enjoy the famous Whelan’s (a venue known to all music lovers) and stroll the streets of Glen Hansard’s Once was filmed.


Siún’s cocktail at the Hard Rock Hotel

Local 101

Continue the musical theme by stopping by Rory Gallagher Corner in Temple Bar – look out for the replica Fender Stratocaster near the street sign!


Double rooms start at €269 per night. Siún was a guest of the hotel. Hotel Rating: Cool meets couture at the Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin

Fry Electronics Team

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