Travelodge Plus: A New Level of Accommodation in Dublin
A 393-room Travelodge Plus has recently opened its doors in Dublin, aiming to provide a more elevated experience compared to the typical Travelodge. Upon entering the hotel, one immediately notices the difference. Unlike most Travelodge lobbies, which are functional spaces designed for quick check-ins and check-outs, this lobby feels like the centerpiece of a new four-star hotel. It is a stylish and inviting space, designed to encourage people to meet, mingle, and linger in Dublin.
The lobby features walnut dividers and subtle changes in tone and lighting, separating the bar, restaurant, and a windowside working space. Colorful mosaic pillars flank the bar, where fresh pastries are on display. The Mossco restaurant overlooks Dublin’s Moss and Townsend streets, and a terrace is adorned with Shane Sutton’s giant mural of a Docklands diver. It’s even a place where one might consider stopping by for a cocktail, which is not something typically associated with a Travelodge.
Referred to as “the largest budget hotel in the country” by Tifco CEO Enda O’Meara, the Travelodge Plus in Dublin boasts 393 rooms. While it is classified as a three-star hotel, with room rates starting from €129 in autumn and €159 in summer, it caters to both business and leisure guests. And from my experience, I believe it succeeds in its mission.
Arrival & Location
The Travelodge Plus is located on Moss Street, which connects the River Liffey to Shaw Street. It is a central location, just a short walk away from Trinity College, Temple Bar, and O’Connell Street. However, the area is undergoing some changes, with new buildings like the Premier Inn and Staycity popping up alongside derelict sites. Stepping through the revolving door, I was greeted by a line of angled reception desks and friendly staff, such as Ken, the head porter. The hotel aims to attract a diverse mix of guests, including tourists, corporate travelers, conference delegates, and concert-goers.
Service & Style
The Travelodge Plus brand aims to add a stylish twist and create a more inviting ground-floor setup compared to traditional Travelodge properties. With around 590 properties in the UK and Ireland, this Dublin hotel is considered a flagship. Operated under franchise by Ireland’s Tifco hotel group, it shares design elements with other Tifco hotels, such as the Hard Rock Hotel and Arthaus. Curving walnut screens separate the bar from the lobby, allowing glimpses of the activity. While some design choices, like a neon sign reading “Be yourself, everyone else is taken,” may feel outdated, the overall ambiance is appealing. The spaces seamlessly accommodate various groups, families, diners, and solo travelers. However, during peak times, it can feel a bit crowded, especially with openly stored luggage.
The majority of the 393 rooms are standard, measuring 15 square meters. They offer small and basic accommodations with king-size beds, desks, and amenities like bedside charging points, a 27-inch TV, iron, hairdryer, and blackout curtains. The showers are excellent, the WiFi is reliable, and there’s a small kettle for making tea and coffee. For those looking for an upgrade, the hotel offers “SuperRooms.” These rooms provide more space, with five rooms on the seventh floor featuring double-height ceilings. SuperRooms also include extras like Lavazza coffee machines, 32-inch TVs, cartons of Tipperary Water, and a choice of hypoallergenic pillows. The beds are comfortable, and the lighting is well thought out. However, some elements, such as the veneered plywood finishes on the desk and wardrobe, the public restroom-style soap dispensers, and the lack of a hook to hang a bath towel, remind guests that they are in a budget hotel. The key to maintaining the appeal of these rooms will be proper upkeep, as wear and tear could quickly diminish the experience.
Food & Drink
One pleasant surprise at the Travelodge Plus was the quality of the food and drink. I ordered a burger and chips from Mossco, expecting an average meal, but was pleasantly surprised by the deliciousness of the burger. It had charred and crispy edges, a juicy and flavorful patty topped with Gubbeen bacon and melty Dubliner cheddar. The soft sourdough bap added to the overall experience. The menu offers comfort food options, including fresh pastas, pizzas, and Irish specialties like Roaring Water Bay rope mussels and Kilmore Quay haddock. The prices are reasonable, and the quality is impressive. However, breakfast, while reasonably priced, feels more functional and lacks the same level of excitement as the other meals.
The Bottom Line
According to Travelodge’s national sales manager, Cathal McGlinchey, the Travelodge Plus in Dublin is tailored specifically for the city. The hotel has successfully achieved a solid opening, with a friendly and efficient staff. While it would be great to see the hotel embrace Dublin’s culture even more, it is already a three-star property that can give higher-rated hotels a run for their money. This is a challenging feat, as the Travelodge brand is known for its straightforward approach, and the Travelodge Plus manages to add a touch of pizazz without straying too far from its core identity.
Like most hotels, the rates at Travelodge Plus fluctuate based on demand. It’s worth keeping an eye on the prices for the best deals.