Hotel review

Hotel review: is the Wren Urban Nest really ‘Ireland’s most sustainable hotel’?

The troglodyte is a small bird. It’s also smart. In winter, dozens can come together to warm up. It weighs a little more than a euro coin, but is sturdy. In the battle to be the king of birds, legend has it that the troglodyte hid under the wing of an eagle, overtaking it at the last minute to soar to the highest.

You can see where Wren Urban Nest, a new 137-room hotel on the site of the former Andrew’s Lane Theater, goes with its branding. The “Cozy” and “Snug” rooms are presented as “nests” of 12 m² and 10 m² in the heart of the city. The wicker shades are also reminiscent of nests, and the small center takes a big step towards sustainability, claiming to be ‘Ireland’s most sustainable hotel’.

How you would measure that, I don’t know. But it goes way beyond paper straws and encourages us to reuse napkins. The hotel uses 100 pc of renewable electricity, captures most of its heat, offers an organic wine list and offers many local products. While the Eagles aim for net zero carbon by 2050, The Wren has already achieved it, without buying offsets. A guilt-free getaway, are you tempted?

Arrival and location

The location is plum, a short walk from Temple Bar and College Green. You can walk to Olympia in four minutes or back out of Stag’s Head in less than two. It’s also a bit dirty – be prepared for wheelie bins, multi-story parking, and very thin trails on the approach.


The hotel bar and restaurant. Photo: Ruth Maria Murphy

The hotel bar and restaurant. Photo: Ruth Maria Murphy

Designed by BDP Architects, the nine-story building is definitely eye-catching – its entrance is carved into the corner masonry and, unusually, guests descend to the basement to check in. The reception is sardine inside the door; a small desk in a space barely big enough to rotate a suitcase. But the bar is lively and the service is friendly – I get walked around the corner of the elevators. Be warned that departure is early at 11am (don’t sleep!), But you can save some time by paying on the touch screens. 7/10

Service and style

ALT is the heart of the hotel, a bar and restaurant area where you can eat, meet, craft on a laptop or enjoy cocktails like a “Nest Negroni”, made with Dingle Gin. It’s a bit tight, but the Scandinavian-style design is cozy, with oak, pampas grass, and earthy tones (from pottery plates to sisal rugs). A seating area includes books on a low table and sheepskins draped over chairs. There is no pool, spa or other relaxation areas – the idea is a smart, efficient and ultra-central base.

Debates about development and its impact on community and culture are raging in Dublin, and the staff I speak to are keenly aware that new hotels are in the sights. The Tivoli Theater is gone, The Cobblestone threatened, and The Wren has replaced Andrew’s Lane Theater. But careful work has gone into sourcing Irish, tells me Tracey Moran of Moran Hospitality Operators – from Architects to Food, Drink and Handmade Soap Company (in glass dispensers).


One of the cocktails from Wren Urban Nest

One of the cocktails from Wren Urban Nest

One of the cocktails from Wren Urban Nest

A little guide to Weekend Contributor Nicola Brady lists tips like the Blind Pig underground bar and Sweny’s Chemist, and events like acoustic concerts, street art and chef masterclasses will take place in the future. “Keeping in mind” our tradition and our history is important, says Moran, adding, “I am also a realist. We must create jobs, maintain the economy, build for the future. It’s how you do it that matters. The proof will be in the pudding, but so far it doesn’t seem like a gimmick to me. 8/10

The rooms

Bringing 137 rooms together in such a small footprint means sacrificing size, and the design of the rooms echoes other cool but compact spaces like The Dean’s Modpods. “We think big hotel rooms are overrated,” says its website – whether you agree or not, there is a lot to choose from in Dublin.


One of the 'Cozy' rooms of the Wren

One of the ‘Cozy’ rooms of the Wren

One of the ‘Cozy’ rooms of the Wren

I admit it took me a few minutes to solve my “Cozy” puzzle. A desk fell from the wall; the stool was under the bathroom sink. The panels controlled the lights, A / C, and blackout curtains, and under-bed storage was good for shoes and bags. Queen-sized beds take up the entire width of the room, which means one person will be surrounded, but Respa mattresses are comfortable, you can watch 43-inch flat-screen TVs, and soundproofing and showers are of high quality. high quality.

If space is a problem, book a ‘Cozy’. Two square meters doesn’t seem like much, but the little “Snugs” have less space to hang clothes and sinks in the room. Both come with free filtered water in recycled Cuilin cartons and Roasted Brown’s Contour Coffee sachets. 7/10

Food drink

South African chef Ronato Palmer has created a short but tasty menu with a liberal use of Irish ingredients and a melting note in dishes like a Malaysian fish curry (€ 23.95) or a crusted rack of lamb. of herbs (€ 24.95), which plays a spicy vegetable tagine on raita of cucumber and fresh mint and perfectly pink meat.

Prominent place is given to ‘ugly and wobbly’ vegetables, and the kitchen uses no gas (a fossil fuel) and reduces waste by using the TooGoodToGo app, which sells excess meals at low prices, among other things. measures. I had good advice for the Albariño and Languedoc wines, and the triple chocolate brownie (8.95 €), I was told, it’s the devil. 8/10

Insider tip

Request an elevated room on the east side for the best rooftop views. The ‘Cozy’ rooms on the seventh floor also have four-meter ceilings above the beds.

Local 101

Pitcher is across the road for an easy dinner option. Buy local at the Irish Design Shop on Drury Street.

The bottom line

The Wren takes off at a tricky time for Dublin hotels. Affordable living conditions and a thriving community and culture are essential for the future of the city, and the balance must be found with developers. But it’s important to remember that not all developments are aimed at hotels, and not all hotels are the same. Cities are a process – if everyone took sustainability seriously, we would all be in a better place.


Rooms from € 99 or € 118.95 in B&B. Parking at Trinity Street costs € 20 per night. Pól was a guest of the hotel.

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