“Once this door opens, use your imagination. Go back to the 1970s …”
Rank Tracy is a concierge at Clayton Hotel Burlington Road, but like everyone else, he still calls him Baro.
He takes me to the hotel’s legendary former rooftop Carbury location. When the lift opens on the 7th floor, you’ll be in a confusing corridor.
“You turned left here,” he says, knocking on a part of the wall. “Behind here was the famous entrance to the rooftop restaurant … big ham, roast, fish side. It costs £ 7 and is booked steadily almost all year round on Saturday night. I did. “
This is just one of the stories hidden like a teaspoon around this historic hotel. Burlington opened 50 years ago when PV Doyle built the largest hotel in central Dublin. Over the years, celebrities such as the Spice Girls, Johnny Cash, Audrey Hepburn, and Leonardo DiCaprio have rushed through the lobby, bars, and ballrooms. Sports, film and music stars are adorning their awards and events. Senior Operations Manager Przemek Sawa remembers the day he met Pele. Frank Tracy says Joe Doran always called before before stopping after the show.
But anyone who knows The Burlo knows that it’s not just the stars.
The hotel’s huge event space, which can accommodate 1,400 people, is called the “Irish Function Room”. For generations, he has participated in the fat, dos, GAA dinners, conferences, cabarets and charity balls. “Everyone in Ireland has some connection to the hotel,” says manager Huey Overn (his parents spent their wedding night here). “The story comes from woodworking.”
Testing the theory, I Tweets seeking memories Of the D4 icon. They pin back from old Annabel nightclubs to finding All Blacks in the lobby, and for warm and private moments. “My current husband and I lived in a small basement bed upstream of Leeson Street,” said one answer. “We planned a wedding [The] Bull rober in a brown paper bag. Married in 1997. I still have a bag with him. “
During the Celtic Tiger, developer Bernard McNamara purchased Baro for the reported € 288 million. After that, he became a trustee. Recently, the hotel has become DoubleTree by Hilton and is now Clayton operated by Darata, Ireland’s largest hotel group. There was a change in rooftop carberries (along with the old shopping arcade and swimming pool) coming and going. So what about the old stubborn fate of 2022?
“Watch out for the building [during Covid-19] It was just creepy, “Frank tells me. But today it has come back to life. Pass a row of suitcases and a CIE tour bus outside. A strong crew is loading AV equipment onto a truck. The concierge and reception desk are hopping. In the lobby, a businessman calls next to a family with a buggy. Tourists emerge from the lift next to some young men in black ties.
“It’s like a switch flicked,” said sales manager Lisa Harrison about the reopening in March. Many bookings were rescheduled rather than canceled, so it went straight back to those mind-boggling mega-events.
“It’s like a jigsaw puzzle … it’s a very big jigsaw puzzle,” said General Manager Sandrad Il, explaining the operation behind 502 rooms and an event space of 2,100 square meters. “Most people in the hotel industry will find this daunting.”
But the other people she and I talk to seem to be energized by it. The change of ownership, a recent investment of € 13.5 million, Covid-19 and the city and hotel industry have changed completely since its opening in 1972, but with familiar faces people talk about “Burlington culture”. You can hear it. ..
Frank started as a page boy over 40 years ago. Head concierge Paul Fitzsimons has been here since 1996. “When I started, I had two aunts, a father, a brother, and two cousins working here,” he took me on a tour. “You will be fascinated by the structure of this hotel, the story. It will be part of you.”
As we walk, he shows us photos from the staff’s Facebook group. There is Charles Haughey in the black tie. Pole shirt pole. But a lot of time is spent talking about employees like former general managers Aidan Doyle, Frank Tracy, and Mary Kerrigan, who has worked at the bar since the 1970s (“We’re almost Mary”. I would call it the bar of the Przemek, “says Przemek).
For the beast of such a hotel, it feels personal. “We are all big mechanical gears,” says Paul. “But we work together.”
Of course, it’s not utopia. Everyone I meet tells me how hard the job is. You will never call it Burlo hips, or beautiful. Rooms and restaurants are common and the TV screen in the bar feels heavy. For example, by reviving a subtle photo gallery, I think we can do more to showcase its history.
As with all hotels, staff retention (Sandra talks about promotion from the inside, caring for people, providing career paths, but certainly had to pay more) and inflation challenges. It is working. B & B rates for July range from € 194 in the middle of the week to € 414 on weekends for a standard double. And are other Irish hotels overpriced during peak season?
Sandra points out industry factors such as rising costs, recovery of tourism and events, and the fact that about 17% of Dublin’s room inventory is contracted by the state, and better value by booking further. It states that it can be found. Nevertheless, she was instructed to “be very careful not to abuse the current situation.”
She also points out that the discussion about peak prices is not new. “Dublin’s prices have always been too high for the Irish people.”
For all the changes, this huge Irish hotel feels like a brand people are taking personally, like Bewley’s and Aer Lingus. Still, it’s an unpretentious place where everyone mixes. Today, it’s called Clayton Hotel Burlington Road because it “fits the Darata brand,” the company says. But it’s no surprise that I ask what most people call it.
“It’s Burlo,” laughs Przemek.