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A PITCH-PERFECT RENOVATION.



Byline: Eric Noland Travel Editor

DUBLIN, Ireland - The Clarence Hotel The Clarence Hotel is a luxury hotel in Dublin, Ireland. Originally built in 1852, it was transformed into a contemporary design in 1996 by its owners, U2 band members, Bono and The Edge.  was still a beloved Dublin institution in the 1970s when an aspiring rock singer hung out there, but by then it was far past its glory.

He returned some time later, with big ideas and deep pockets.

The singer was Bono, who enjoyed boundless success with the band U2. In the mid-1990s, he and band mate The Edge put together a group of investors and acquired the hotel, then shuttered the doors for nearly two years and launched a thorough makeover.

Today, the Clarence is a treasure of restoration, giving visitors a luxury boutique hotel Boutique hotel is a term originating in North America to describe intimate, usually luxurious or quirky hotel environments. Boutique hotels differentiate themselves from larger chain/branded hotels and motels by providing personalized level accommodation and services / facilities.  experience in a convenient location - in the popular Temple Bar district, smack on the River Liffey Liffey redirects here. For the Australian town see Liffey, Tasmania.
The Liffey (An Life in Irish) is a river in the Republic of Ireland, which flows through the centre of Dublin. Its major tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.
.

The building dates to 1852, but in the 1930s it was refurbished in the Arts & Crafts style, a movement that was prevalent in Britain in the early 20th century. The revived Clarence wears the clean, simple elements of that design well, while also balancing modern upgrades with a few tributes to the hotel's past.

The wood used throughout the hotel is light-shaded American white oak, and ample windows allow natural light to wash into the public areas. This is particularly true in the Tea Room, the Clarence's excellent restaurant, which is housed in the original hotel's ballroom - with a soaring, 20-foot ceiling and a bank of two-story windows along a wall that faces southeast. It is a particularly airy room at breakfast.

At the front of the hotel, just off the small lobby, is an inviting parlor, called the Study, with original bronze-framed windows, oak paneling, a fireplace, couches and a great table where local newspapers are laid out.

Another popular gathering spot is the Octagon Bar, a pleasant pub topped by an eight-sided dome.

The guest rooms, meanwhile, are very comfortable, with linens - sheets, towels, robes - of extraordinary quality. The furnishings include wrought iron bedside lamps, Shaker-style furniture and an ocean of nickel plating on the fixtures. The floors are hardwood, with throw rugs.

The bed covering in our room was ... well, purple, which was initially perplexing per·plex  
tr.v. per·plexed, per·plex·ing, per·plex·es
1. To confuse or trouble with uncertainty or doubt. See Synonyms at puzzle.

2. To make confusedly intricate; complicate.
 amid all the Arts & Crafts subtlety. But further investigation revealed that the original clientele of the Clarence included a lot of clergymen, judges and government officials. In a whimsical tribute today, colors in various rooms are said to be inspired by ``ecclesiastical raiment'': amethyst amethyst (ăm`əthĭst) [Gr.,=non-drunkenness], variety of quartz, violet to purple in color, used as a gem. It is the most highly valued of the semiprecious quartzes.  (ours), crimson, gold and royal blue.

About the only drawback for this hotel is ambient noise - a trade-off for convenience, perhaps. The front door opens onto Wellington Quay, one of the busiest thoroughfares in Dublin, and it throws off the rattle and hum of countless trucks, buses and cabs. Our room was at the back of the hotel, on a little back alley called Essex Street East, but popular Bob's pub is located here, and the revelers generated a cacophony of merriment deep into the wee hours.

The Clarence's restaurant, the Tea Room, is one of the best in the city, whether it's serving up a traditional Irish breakfast (selections include porridge, black and white pudding, smoked salmon, kippers) or a gourmet dinner.

The dinner menu changes daily, according to the availability of seasonal ingredients. During an autumn visit, we delighted in roasted sea bass with a pumpkin puree pu·rée or pu·ree  
tr.v. pu·réed or pu·reed, pu·rée·ing or pu·ree·ing, pu·rées or pu·rees
To rub through a strainer or process (food) in a blender.

n.
 and chestnut gnocchi gnoc·chi  
pl.n.
Dumplings made of flour, semolina, or potatoes, boiled or baked and served with grated cheese or a sauce.



[Italian, pl.
, and slow-roasted duck breast with artichoke artichoke, name for two different plants of the family Asteraceae (aster family), both having edible parts. The French, or globe, artichoke (Cynara scolymus  gratin gra·tin  
n.
A top crust consisting of browned crumbs and butter, often with grated cheese.



[French, from obsolete grater, to scratch, scrape, from Old French; see grate1.]
, parsnips and a taquito-like spring roll. One starter course was a remarkable convergence of flavors: roast mullet mullet: see silversides.
mullet

Any of fewer than 100 species (family Mugilidae) of abundant, commercially valuable schooling fishes found in brackish or fresh waters throughout tropical and temperate regions.
, tomato, anchovy anchovy: see herring.
anchovy

Any of more than 100 species of schooling saltwater fishes (family Engraulidae) related to the herring. Anchovies are distinguished by a large mouth, almost always extending behind the eye, and by a pointed snout.
, sausage.

--The Clarence Hotel is at 6-8 Wellington Quay. Rooms from 330 euros. Wide variety of packages available, most involving dining at the hotel. www.theclarence.ie; (011-353) 1-407-0800.

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With hearty breakfasts and gourmet dinners, the Tea Room in the Clarence Hotel ranks as one of Dublin's finest restaurants.

Eric Noland/Travel Editor
COPYRIGHT 2005 Daily News
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Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Travel
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 24, 2005
Words:628
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