Relaxing at the Fitzilliam Hotel in Dublin

Fitzwilliam Hotel Lobby
Photo courtesy of the Fitzwilliam Hotel

I recently took an impromptu trip to Dublin, where I spent an exciting 72 hours trying to experience as much as I possibly could in the beautiful city. After two action-packed days, I was in much need of some luxury and relaxation, and the Fitzwilliam Hotel delivered just that. Here’s what I loved about The Fitzwilliam Hotel in Dublin:

Location:

Situated at the base of Grafton Street, just across from the city’s beautiful landscapes of St. Stephen’s Green, the Fitzwilliam’s location provides the perfect balance between its proximity to both the bustling city centre and peaceful outskirts of town.

Lined with shops, street-side performers, and popular pubs, Grafton Street is the gateway to all of the main tourist attractions that Dublin has to offer. Using St. Stephen’s Green as a base, I was able to stroll down Grafton Street and be minutes away from key places like Trinity College and Temple Bar. When I needed a break from the action, I wandered over to St. Stephen’s Green, which is the perfect dose of greenery that every city needs. I felt a sudden calmness descend upon me as I walked through the park gates – the car horns and loud voices faded, leaving me with the sweet sounds of birds chirping and trees blowing in the wind.

Using these two landmarks, I was able to navigate my way around the city with ease.

 

Fitzwilliam Hotel Dublin
Photo courtesy of the Fitzwilliam Hotel

The Rooms:

Characterized by it’s unique vibrant colour scheme, the guest rooms come to life and seem to brighten up what can be otherwiseFitzwilliam Hotel Dublin

dreary day in the city. My room was equipped with all the bells and whistles: a plush bathrobe hanging in my spacious Victorian-style bathroom, a beautiful garden view terrace where I enjoyed a nice glass of wine after dinner, followed by a delightful sleep on my four-post bed…it was like sleeping on a cloud! In the morning, I was able to satisfy my tea addiction and make myself a cup of tea using my full tea set, which I enjoyed on the terrace while reading my freshly delivered newspaper. After I was nice and alert, I strolled down to the Citron Restaurant to indulge (as if I hadn’t indulged enough already) in a traditional Irish breakfast.

 

 

 

The Service:

The service I received was the cherry on top of what was already a fantastic stay. The Fitzwilliam isn’t your average luxury hotel, as they go above and beyond to build their brand with their superb customer service. Each and every staff member greeted me with a smile, and where possible addressed me by name. It goes without saying that the staff have all mastered the customer service basics, but what I was most impressed with were the little details. I checked in quite early in the morning and my room wasn’t ready. Rather than loitering around the lobby for a couple of hours, I decided to stow my luggage and squeeze in some more sightseeing. I returned to the hotel several hours later, exhausted after a full day of zipping around the city. As I stood in the lobby rummaging for my baggage tags to claim my luggage, the Concierge escorted me to the elevator and explained that my luggage had already been taken up to my room. Small gestures like this can make any hotel stand out – it’s certainly something that I’m going to remember!

 

Although my three days in Dublin were slightly chaotic, I returned home feeling well-rested and relaxed thanks to the Fitzwilliam Hotel.

 

Special thanks to the Fitzwilliam Hotel for hosting me. Of course, the views and opinions presented in this post are my own. 

 

 

Life as a Broke Backpacker

Life as a Broke Backpacker

Broke Backpacker

In my early days as a solo traveller, there was a lot of buzz around the notion of being a “broke backpacker”- that is, travelling so extensively that you don’t have a dime to your name, but are nevertheless happy because you’re living like a vagabond on the beach in a land far, far away. For some, that would seem daunting and very unappealing, but for Wanderlusters like me, it’s alluring – or so I thought it was.

It wasn’t until 2012, after several years of solo travel, that I realized I still hadn’t experienced life of a broke backpacker – something that was almost like a rite of passage for young travellers. And so, like many others, I decided to aimlessly wander off to Southeast Asia and Australia.

I got off to a great start by gallivanting through Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia, where I spent a quite a bit of time living the good life: swinging from vines in the jungle, eating mysterious street food, meditating in temples, paddling through floating villages, and the list goes on… I was having the time of my life and my cash flow seemed endless. What I had yet to learn, however, was that Australia was one of the most expensive countries in the world to visit, and it just so happened to be my next stop and the longest leg of my travels.

Fortunately, I had already secured a Working Holiday Visa. But to my surprise, it was quite difficult to find suitable work, and the few jobs that I did land were only short-term assignments. The cost of renting an apartment on my own in Sydney was astronomical, and food was about 2-3 times the cost of what I was accustomed to in Asia. It goes without saying that I therefore raced through the “honeymoon phase” of life Down Under and was abruptly met with a very harsh reality: the funds remaining in my travel bank were only enough to get me to the end of the week!

 

Luck was on my side that week, because I was somehow able to secure my first long-term job and apartment, but I still had to undergo a major lifestyle change if I wanted to see another week in Australia:

  • My weekly grocery list could be at max $15 and would consist of: Ramen, frozen spinach or broccoli, 2 apples, bread and eggs. Fun Fact: I learned that you could actually purchase an entire loaf of bread for $1.00!
  • My social life would have to be put on hold because one pint at a bar would equal half my weekly grocery allowance
  • Instead of using public transport, I would walk (or run) everywhere. On the plus side, I was in the best shape of my life!
  • Shopping for clothes was completely out of the question, so a solid outfit rotation was essential.

 

Needless to say, it was quite a difficult adjustment, but it was a great learning experience.

Here are 4 Things I Learned from my Life as a Broke Backpacker:

 

  1. The value of a dollar, literally: It’s so important to understand how far your money will take you on your travels relative to the local cost of living. I clearly didn’t consider this major factor prior to arriving in Australia.
  2. Material goods really aren’t important: When you’re struggling to find somewhere to live or yearning for something better than Ramen noodles, outfits and gadgets suddenly have no meaning or importance.
  3. You can’t travel without money: That vagabond lifestyle that I once found alluring is so unrealistic (at least for me it is). Even though I somehow squeezed by on a low-budget vegetarian diet and a shoebox of an apartment, I found that there was so much that I was unable to see because I didn’t have enough money. Travel is about the experience: seeing the sights, tasting the food, and exploring – all of which will cost you, even if it is on a budget.
  4. If you’re going to be a broke backpacker, do it in the right place – it’s all about planning: I know I just said you can’t really travel without money, but if you find yourself running low on funds while you’re globetrotting, it’s better to be situated somewhere other than a thriving metropolis like Sydney, for example. Be smart about where you’re going and think about how far you can stretch your currency. In retrospect, I could’ve had I gone to Australia at the beginning of my trip when I had more money, I would have had a totally different experience. 

 

It was tough, but I am still so grateful for the experiences I had during my time in Australia.

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