Executive Edge’s Debra Chalmers hit Dublin and London in The Doyle Collection style.
Q: What struck you the most about the city of Dublin?
The city of Dublin, so much fun. The people are so friendly and it’s got this amazing vibe about it with lots of street performers, great pubs on every corner and restaurants. Temple Bar location is brilliant.
Q: Tell us about your private guided tour of Dublin.
Maloney & Kelly were our ground operators who were incredibly knowledgeable and extremely professional. Our first day we toured outside of Dublin and visited Powers Court House. The gardens around the house are stunning and have been voted by National Geographic #3 in the world. Then we drove to Ballyknocken Cookery School which has an incredible reputation. We had a fun afternoon making scones and, of course, tasting what we made!
The next day we visited the historical Trinity College and The Book of Kells which was extraordinary. Then we walked to St. Pauls Cathedral. We also visited the Guinness Brewery which I must say was absolutely incredible. The sheer size of the place and all the clever marketing tools that go along with the brand are famous. I had my chance to craft a perfect pint of Guinness.
Q: Doyle Collection’s The Westbury is a Dublin institution. I understand you were treated to cocktails in its Penthouse Suite?
We were totally spoilt from the minute we arrived. We were treated to pre-dinner drinks in the Penthouse Suite which was divine. We met the CEO of the company and also had a lesson on making cocktails. Very intimate setting and nibbles. We had our personal ‘cocktail champion’, which seems to be making a resurgence. It felt like the days off old wheeling in the most divine drink trolley 1940’s style. Smartly dressed waiters discreetly mixing up cocktails…
What an institution, The Westbury! Amazing property with the best location, understated luxury and exceptional service. Food and service was incredible. I quickly settled into my studio suite with a four poster bed. I loved the level of detail throughout the property. The most stunning crystal glasses in room. Service was outstanding and the staff super attentive.
Q: How was the cuisine at Bales Brasserie, The Westbury’s all-day bistro and Wilde? Ireland has a reputation for unhealthy, uninventive meat and potatoes cuisine but I understand The Westbury challenges that presumption.
Cuisine at Bales Brasserie and Wilde was unbelievable. The Guinness bread is SO good. The food was amazing, very international. The level of service was outstanding. Every morning they offer the most amazing Juicery. I would always start my mornings off with one of these incredible juices.
Q: Elaborate on your visit to Cork – visiting their famous English Market, lunch at The Farm Gate, and dinner in The Weir Room at The River Lee.
Our visit to Cork was such a highlight. We did this food walking tour around Cork which was outstanding. They are so incredibly proud of their produce and we got to taste things along the way. We explored the English markets then had lunch at the Farm Gate which was outstanding. The freshest cuisine/seafood. I could have sat there all afternoon. The most divine quiches and the abundance of seafood.
Overnight was spent at The River Lee. Great location and great property. Ideal location to set off and explore. We had dinner in The Weir Room with local musicians planning in the background.
Q: Onto London! Tell us the highlights of your stay in the Big Smoke.
I’ve been lucky enough to go to London many times and it was refreshing to see new sights and visit new places this time. One day we went to the House of Parliament and got to sit and listen to the House of Commons and House of Lords. A debate was in place about Brexit. We were able to explore all through Parliament into areas you’d never be able to explore. Our tour guide had contacts at Parliament and we joined up with an MP on a private showing.
On this same private tour, we saw West Minister Abby and taken into areas where only the royals enter and exit. Once again fascinating insight into such an icon. Also, my visit to Sir John Sloane’s Museum was really interesting.
I was lucky enough to stay at The Kensington located in such a beautiful part of town near V&A/ Natural History Museum. The rooms at The Kensington are so gorgeous, contemporary classic. Each room is different. The architecture of the building is so appealing – a converted Victorian townhouse. Staff and service once again a stand out.
A: You also tested out The Marylebone…
The Marylebone is very cool and located in a such a brilliant location. We were lucky enough to have cocktails on the roof terrace which boasts spectacular views over the city. It would be a perfect vantage point to take in New Year’s Eve fireworks. We also had the most wonderful early morning yoga experience on its rooftop.
Dinner at its 108 Brasserie was outstanding. We ate the most incredible food and wines to match. It had such a groovy vibe. I’ve dined here before on my last visit to the UK and it never disappoints.
Q: What stood out during your walking tour of Marylebone Village?
The Marylebone hotel is located in one of the best places to explore from. Marylebone Village is this awesome mix of high-end shops, one-off designers, French patisseries and the most amazing fromagerie delis, bars, art galleries and eclectic book shops. Such a fine blend. LOVED it…
Q: Did you enjoy Motown The Musical at the Shaftesbury Theatre?
We started with drinks and nibbles at Dalloway Terrace which was packed with the ‘after work’ crowds. Then onto Shaftesbury Theatre to see Motown – what a blast!
Q: You got to experience a private yoga class at The Bloomsbury hotel?
Yes, we rose with the sun to partake in an early morning yoga class held in the ‘Harley Suite’. It was the most perfect way to finish the trip and relaxing tonic to start the day with amazing views.
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