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One of Ireland’s most luxurious hotels, the Merchant is a real treat. The Victorian building was once a bank, and the conversion is stunning, from the grand dining room (lacquered and gilded Corinthian columns, marble floors, ceiling friezes) to an elegant cocktail lounge (chandeliers and a gently curved, dark wood bar). Guest rooms are thoroughly modern, but ask for one with Art Deco–style decor as opposed to traditional—they’re larger and better designed. The excellent spa comes complete with hydrotherapy pool and treatment rooms, and a rooftop gym has an eight-person hot tub with lovely city views. The Great Room Restaurant serves topnotch modern Irish cuisine. Afternoon tea is a bit of an event here, and popular, so book ahead if you want to indulge. Service is impeccable, and the staff could hardly be friendlier or more helpful.