Zen in the city den

By Niamh Mac Sweeney
08 October 2013
The Gibson Hotel

Close to the city but far from the madding crowd, Niamh Mac Sweeney finds balance and harmony at the Gibson Hotel.

As I admire the Gibson Hotel’s dramatic curved atrium from afar, I’m struck by both its impressive architecture and its daring location.

Perched in Dublin’s Point Village district, the area provides a catalyst for future urban and social regeneration.

The Gibson is far from the madding crowd but still only a stone’s throw from the re-developed O2 theatre and the financial district; The Convention Centre Dublin a mere stroll away. And with the Luas tram stop literally on its doorstep, located only 10 minutes from the airport, the M1 and M50 are easily accessible via the Port Tunnel, and only a 10 minute walk along the Liffey takes you to the city centre. The Gibson’s location is as impressive as the building’s fresh architecture.

I was looking for a hotel in the city; one with a sense of relaxing, escapism, and the Gibson didn’t disappoint. Designed by Scott Tallon Walker, the Gibson Hotel is as iconic against the docklands skyline as it is a calming retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Walker has cleverly designed the hotel so that visitors enter via impressive panoramic lifts and escalators. On entering the hotel reception, the pedestrian plaza stretches out making for a grand and memorable entrance and the resident’s bar sits within the atrium space at third floor level, taking full advantage of the views south across the square and west towards the city.

The Gibson’s interior is fresh, energetic and offers plentiful signs of seamless and effortless style.
Given that the bar and restaurant are arranged around a garden, this side of the building lends itself to a closer intimate feeling, in contrast to the urban views out onto the square.

Green is the colour of growth and renewal and is renowned for restoring depleted energy. The colour green features predominantly in the Gibson, especially in the bedrooms and it is this sense of escaping to a sanctuary away from the stresses of modern living, that I know will restore me back to a sense of well being.

Tranquil ambience

The guest bedrooms offer two different experiences: either opening onto a series of three landscaped courtyard gardens or facing the pedestrian street to the west with views over the square and the city.

Spend a night in the tranquil surroundings of The Gibson Hotel

Spend a night in the tranquil surroundings of The Gibson Hotel

The spacious and airy room we are staying in looks out onto the garden courtyard. With large bamboo and tall grasses blowing in the wind, I’m momentarily transported to a tranquil Japanese wonderland.

With bespoke strip lighting under the beds and luxurious organic Beekind beauty products, the rooms have an uncluttered, calming ambience.

Simple unique touches include a basket of perfectly green Granny Smith apples and quirky touches like the green Post-it note left on the bathroom mirror encapsulating a Oscar Wilde quote – ‘I can resist everything but temptation’ – are nice additions.

Sticking with the Asian theme, I decide to go for the Mai tai cocktail before dinner. Mai tai means ‘out of the world, the best’ and it’s certainly the nicest blend of barcardi, cointreau, lime juice and orgeat syrup I’ve tried. My companion opts for a Champagne and raspberry cocktail and both go down easy as we decide if we will eat in the Asian inspired hemi bar or the coda grill.

Having looked at both mouth watering menus, we opt for the grill and start with the deep fried whitebait and the bruschetta.

Sticking with the fish for the main event, on our waiter Daniel’s recommendation, I go for the seabass and it is superbly flakey and buttery. Sweet treats to finish consist of one beautifully presented peach pot and a cherry brulee with amaretto shortbread.

Business and pleasure

Although there isn’t a spa or pool at the Gibson, it more than makes up for it by having a private relaxation area on the sixth floor. This calm retreat is perfect for an escape and a gentle detox in the sauna or steam room. If you fancy trying something different, why not sink into one of the Japanese copper baths on the terrace area and experience the urban views overlooking the Wicklow Mountains? Depending on your ailments or the relaxing experience you would most like to indulge in, the relaxation area also provides essential oils and menu ideas for creating your own remedies.

conference-suite at the Gibson

One of the Gibson Hotel’s many conference suites

If, unlike me, you are staying in the Gibson for business or if you’re planning an event there, the hotel’s dedicated conference area covers two floors and has nine meeting rooms accommodating up to 300 delegates. Free WiFi, the latest AV technology and a team of experienced staff, is what you would expect from any hotel business and conference centre. But the panorama views set it apart from rival conference centres and, no doubt, make business more pleasurable and creative.

After a good night’s sleep surrounded by calming influences, and a hearty breakfast, its back out into the hustle of Dublin city. Feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, the Gibson’s unique, urban chic has wowed me but has also created an inner equilibrium that I will try desperately hold on to until my return.