During the “Celtic Tiger” years (from 1995 until 2006), Dublin was famous for being one of the more expensive cities in Western Europe, with hotel prices reaching record highs. On occasions it could be hard to find anywhere to stay at any price, and even dumpy hotels were charging upwards of €100 a night. In the downturn that followed, Dublin was suddenly affordable again; 4 star hotels were selling rooms for €60 a night, and special offers on food and beverages were everywhere.
Now, the economy is rebounding, hotel prices are once again heading to stratospheric levels, and many hoteliers seem to have adopted the attitude that they are doing the guests a favor by allowing them to stay. I’ve recently been planning a short visit to Dublin which will take place at the end of June, 2016. Booking more than seven months in advance, I hoped to find some deals. Amazed to find even basic hotels and hostels quoting rates in excess of €100 a night, and better quality places in excess of €200 a night, I was pleased when I located what appeared to be an acceptable property on the south side of the river, to the west of Temple Bar for a little under €100 a night. I popped over to Tripadvisor, to see what previous guests had to say. The comments were generally good; however some guests had noted that rooms above the bar tended to be very noisy.
Seven months in advance, you’d expect I’d be able to book a room which is NOT above the bar, wouldn’t you? I made a booking through the hotel’s online system, and followed up with an email to the property, giving my booking number, and requesting to be allocated a room which is not above the bar. To my amazement, I received a reply from the front office manager, advising they could not guarantee this request, and providing a long list of reasons why it could not be done. Having worked in hotels myself, I know it is in fact not only possible to guarantee specific rooms or locations to your guests, but very easy, as long as you keep close track of requests. Unwilling to risk ending up above the bar, and also not keen to stay in a property with this attitude, I promptly cancelled the reservation.
I decided to check Airbnb, which is often a great option for finding value priced quality accommodation, and sent several inquiries. In each case, the “hosts” snippily advised me that they didn’t accept inquiries for dates more than 3 months in advance. Really? This seems to be a unique situation in Dublin, as I have never had an issue booking an Airbnb property elsewhere for stays much further in advance than that.
At the moment, I’m still looking for a place to stay during my visit, and if prices and attitudes in Dublin continue in this fashion, it’s likely to be my last for quite some time.