Just as life globally is in transition right now, with so much changing from day to day, hour to hour, so some luxury hotels are changing, or preparing to change, from one look to another. Dublin’s exciting The Marker is already in fledgling change mode, says the gal, getting ready to become not only the first Anantara in the whole of Europe but also to be the brand’s truly urban hotel (all right, what about Bangkok’s Siam Anantara? With its garden, that can justifiably be called an urban resort).
The Marker was developed by Brehon Capital Partners, an American-Irish and Swiss partnership, as an independent hotel with initial operational support, when it opened in 2013, from Interstate. It was Interstate which hired highly-experienced Irish GM, Charlie Sheil – above – who says he knew at some point Brehon Capital Partners would sell on but he had no idea it would happen so quickly. Anyway, in October 2019 the 187-room hotel was bought by German real estate investment giant Deka Immobilien Investment GmbH, and they brought in NH Hoteles as managers. Then NH became part of Bill Heinecke’s Minor Group – and Minor gave NH custody of its Anantara brand, for Europe.
So that is the immediate history. When I was in the Leading hotel last week, the only sign of transition was the Minor ‘signature’ at the bottom of credit card terminals. Nothing else.
Charlie Sheil has, however, already undergone Anantara orientation both in Bangkok and in Dubai, where he had a really good visit to Anantara Palm Jumeirah – is he, I wondered, thinking of getting Dublin’s version of Mara, the real live falcon who greets visitors to the Dubai resort?
What is certain, says Charlie Sheil, is that some Anantara signatures will be introduced. Dine By Design, which allows private dining in a variety of venues, will probably be adapted to city life. Sheil is talking about offering romantic dinners on the stage of the hotel’s adjacent 2,000-seat Gais Energy Theatre, out of show time of course. And it is likely that the eighth-floor rooftop will be covered over, allowiing the present summer-only bar to be extended to a year-round restaurant and bar.
I stayed in an end-suite, #635 – see a video below – and I loved looking down at the old docks area, absolutely revolutionised by big tech (Google now has nine buildings in the vicinity). The rooms really ‘worked’, though it took a few minutes to fathom out that the Nespresso machine was hidden behind a door that merely looked like part of an all-white wall.
The hotel has a 23-metre indoor pool and a good gym. The spa introduced me to a lovely range, Elemental Herbology, based on the five elements. The ground floor is entirely given to eatertainment. The bar, with ten beers and ciders on tap, is part of an enormous airy lounge, with an origami-type crinkled ceiling some ten metres up. The other end of the ground floor is the all-day restaurant. This has such exciting promotions as a current Beef And Bordeaux offering, €120 for two diners. This comes with a bottle of Ch Lagrange St-Emilion, no year given, and three courses that start with smoked prawn and haddock fishcakes, continue to a John Stone tomahawk and finish with a pair of Mont Blanc desserts, white chocolate with William pears (known as Bartlett pears in North America) and blackberry sorbet. A meal of that calibre sounds just right for a luxury hotel in a locale surrounded by highly successful, and still-aspiring techies. NOW SEE END SUITE 635