three Dublin Airport hotels — so handy for starting your holiday a little earlier

We’ve all been there when you live somewhere other than the capital: an early morning flight from Dublin Airport shows up on your holiday schedule, and so you’re faced with the dilemma of either grabbing a rude flying hour or a night out. At the airport hotel. Cork Airport may have been out of business for the past few months (and thankfully, only for a week!) but overnight stays in Dublin Airport hotels remain by and large a travel staple for non-residents of the capital. So what are the current options? When I embarked on my first international flight nearly two years ago earlier this month, I checked the latest of them all, Holiday Inn Dublin Airport, to see if it was worth the stay.

Each airport hotel is only as good as its location, preferably inside a jet engine from the terminals (soundproofed, that is). The Holiday Inn is well located here in that regard, being just off the M50/M1 junction and just across the road from my favorite airport hotel (Clayton). Arrived here by car, opting to take advantage of the hotel’s car park for extended stays as well as the handy bus service to the airport. The hotel is actually the same distance from the airport as the official long range blue car park, so a 10 minute motorbike should take you door to door.

Opening this summer, the Dublin Airport Holiday Inn is the first purpose-built offering in Ireland of the chain, and on the outside has a fresh, albeit almost clinical, appearance. But once inside, the hotel offers a surprisingly funky interior in an explosion of pops of rainbow colours. The hotel’s official press summary is a design ode to 1950s Americana, but it sounds more Scandinavian than Route 66. But in a good sense. Beyond the simple reception area lies the branded open lobby with lounges and sofa nooks all decorated with bright furniture, funky light fixtures, and plenty of texture and candy colours, I imagine the kids would spend a field day exploring here.

Elsewhere, collage panels fill the walls, all subtitled in Dublin-colored prints from James Joyce to the cheeky “What’s Crazy?” quotes. Everything is very organized but even as one of the 1,200 chain hotels around the world, I still managed to find a guest sense of place here.

modern suite

If you’re expecting the American chain of hotels to have the look of a cookie-cutter, you’re in for a treat with the property’s 421 trick-or-treat rooms. My room size is fairly standard, but it makes new use of its space, not least the L shaped sofa which can be used as a sleeping bed. Elsewhere, there’s a comfortable double bed, work desk station, flat-screen TV, refrigerator, and T2 views on the horizon to spark a love of wanderlust.

The shower is a compact, but inviting affair of subway tile, and as someone often confused by hotel showers, I grabbed a one-button switch! All in all, it’s a great base without any fuss—and with that color palette, I’m really in the holiday mood.

Open Lobby, Holiday Inn Dublin Airport.  Photo: Ryan & amp;  Robert
Open Lobby, Holiday Inn Dublin Airport. Photo: Ryan and Robert

food and food

I head downstairs to dine at the bustling open lobby restaurant: the ambiance is lively, the lighting is vibrant and the decor is contemporary, the space almost housing a posh college cafeteria. Menu options range from vegan burgers to the house favourite, the beef with potato fondant.

And while many airport experiences can seem like a fleece center, affordable mainline prices start at €13. Breakfast the next morning features a good selection of buffet and continental food (in the absence of obvious gluten free options) and I appreciated how the fruits and yoghurts were served in individual glass containers rather than the plastic containers so prevalent in these covid times.

Uniquely, the hotel also has the novelty of its own Starbucks outlet – although it was closed until 11am the morning I was checking in – no pumpkin spice latte for me.

paying off?

This was my first visit at a Holiday Inn, but after a wonderful overnight stay, I definitely expect us to be future travel companions. What’s worth noting for the gambler at the moment is that the hotel seems to be putting itself between stiff competition with current rates of €89 per night. There are also decent parking and dining deals, and it’s worth checking out the chain’s Kids Stay & Eat Free policy. All of these aspects can take the heat off an extra night’s splurge, so perhaps allowing your vacation to start an early night?

For more, visit

Tom was a guest at the hotel for this review.

Clayton, Dublin Airport

Clayton Hotel, Dublin Airport
Clayton Hotel, Dublin Airport

This may be the pre-holiday hype but there’s always something about the atmosphere at Clayton Airport Dublin that feels a little festive. Even in July. The four-star hotel offers classic but well-appointed rooms as well as 1,500 parking spaces – also available for travelers who do not wish to book accommodation.

I always find the food, and especially the service here, to be top notch, and the hotel offers three dining options; Italian Kitchen, The Playwright Bar and Red Bean Roastery Coffee Dock.

Excellent prices also from 80 euros;

Maldron Hotel, Dublin Airport

Maldron Hotel, Dublin Airport
Maldron Hotel, Dublin Airport

I’ve had a variety of luck with the Maldron staying in Ireland this year. My stay in their Belfast city center was excellent while the room I booked recently at the Newlands Cross location was one of their previously renovated rooms so was a bit disappointing in comparison.

All rooms in their Dublin Airport hotel have been refurbished with a brand new look in gray and yellow. And if proximity is a major criterion, the hotel considers itself the closest to Dublin Airport – just 273 meters from T2. You can expect to pay a little more for comfort with prices starting at 119 euros;


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