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First impression: Everyone here is having fun.
Staff: Young, friendly, European.
Food and drink: Cocktails in the lobby, stout in the pub, steaks in the rooftop grill.
Bed and bath: From pint-size yet comfy doubles to suites with deep copper tubs at the end of the bed.
The crowd: Twenty- and thirty-somethings working in tech, media or finance.
Neighbourhood: Still up-and-coming rejuvenated dockside, literally on the rise as new blocks are being built all around.
Eco effort: Soon-to-arrive beehives on the rooftop, a living wall, glass not plastic in the minibar, full-size toiletries.
In a nutshell: Dublin’s latest hip hotel redirects the compass to the north banks of the river Liffey, with a locally rooted heritage and a 21st-century creative attitude.
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Set the scene
Walking into the Mayson feels a bit like stumbling into an Ace hotel, or the Nomad in Manhattan. This is lobby as living and co-working space, with Dublin coffee roasters Dime in one corner, a full-size olive tree set in the centre of a circular studded sofa, Muji robes for sale behind the check-in desk, classic Danish Seventies leather chairs for slinking and racks of vinyl to flick through. The building itself is a handsome one, a well-scrubbed old timber warehouse whose roof was lifted off to extend and add floors with a bare-boned steel structure. In recent years the action was on the south side of the quays – with addresses such as the Marker shaking things up – but now it’s starting to move across the river.
What’s the story?
This is the sister of the Dean, arguably one of the first next-gen hotels to bring in-room record players and exposed-brick Brooklyn vibes to Dublin. While the Dean is set in the heart of nightclub land, the waterfront Mayson has more space and greater appeal to those looking beyond just a good time (although there’s plenty of fun times here too). A little more grown-up next-gen, perhaps. The man behind the Mayson is Paddy McKillen Junior, whose Press Up group runs cocktails bars and restaurants across the city. His father, Paddy McKillen Senior, owns the game-changing French art hotel and wine estate Villa La Coste. In a similar patronly vein, the walls of the Mayson are hung with works by young Irish artists.
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What can we expect from the rooms?
They vary from really very small (the width of a double bed plus bathroom) to more standard doubles, with neat bells and whistles such as turntables, Marshall radios, Smeg fridges, Irish snacks, La Coste wine and even hangover-busting Rennie and Berocca. The much larger suites have a funky separate living room with a shiny cocktail tray and long velvet couch. The warehouse feel – from dark wooden panels and exposed brick – is brightened with pops of graphic art and softened with spiral-shaped lamps made from giant curls of wood shavings. Bathrooms are bachelor-pad masculine with deep blue-green tiles and matt-orange stone sinks. In a clever contrast to the urban 21st-century feel of the new steel-girdered floors, seven townhouse suites above the original pub have lovely big sash windows and softer, more classic decor.
How about the food and drink?
With low lighting, the warm glow of brass fixtures and red-upholstered booths, Ryleigh’s bar and grill on the rooftop is the place for sizzling suppers and Bloody Mary-fuelled brunches. There’s the added bonus of an outdoor terrace with plenty of planting and views over the river – a real find in Dublin. Plus the food portions are huge: steamed mussels in white wine; wood-grilled sea bream; steaks from 12oz to 30oz. This is hearty, no-fuss cooking rather than innovative plates worth a special trip. Although brunches of buttermilk pancakes and vegetable-packed egg-white frittata draw a weekend crowd. On the ground-floor the cocktail-slinging Mayson bar has DJs on Thursdays and Fridays, while the Bottle Boy pub is kept toasty from the original 19th-century open fire and live traditional music gets the after-work crowd singing along. For those wanting a Peaky Blinders buzz cut there’s a retro barbershop attached to the pub.
Anything to say about the service?
Good-humoured, in tune with the hotel’s creative drive, very friendly and switched on.
Who goes here?
The hotel is right beside the O2 arena so it gets gig-going overnighters as well as hotspotting corporate visitors who want to stay near Dublin’s tech hubs.
What’s the neighbourhood scene?
The walls of the Bottle Boy pub are like an unofficial social anthology of the area, with black-and-white photographs curated with the help of the local East Wall historical society documenting its jump from the era of dock workers to digital nomads. While the neighbourhood once had a gritty reputation cranes and scaffolding now reflect its flux state of redevelopment.
Anything you’d change?
We like the absence of plastic bottles and mini bathroom products but the individual plastic milk servings for tea lose major eco points. And the lack of wardrobe space is tricky.
Is it worth it?
Although it’s a little out of the city centre in walkable Dublin terms, it is worth it for the cool aesthetic and the mix of modern hangouts with dyed-in-the-wool Irish pub.
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