"This is our penthouse," Bryan Davern declares, waving his hands around the largest room in the The Mayson, Dublin's newest hotel. Davern is head of hotels for the Press Up Entertainment Group. We're looking at its most expensive offering, the Liffey Penthouse Suite, where the knock-out feature is its long private terrace with reclining chairs, retractable roof and large wooden hot tub, all with views out over the river.
“Is a penthouse not usually on the top floor?” I ask. We are on the second floor of seven. The terrace is lovely; bigger than many urban gardens. But the Liffey Penthouse Suite is not, as the definition usually suggests, located on the top floor of the building.
“Ah,” Davern says.
"Ah," Russell Hadley, general manager of The Mayson says.
It turns out that American guests associate the word “penthouse” with the best room in a hotel, which is what this one is. American guests are apparently unconcerned as to whether it’s on the top floor or not, as long as it’s the biggest one, and the best, and presumably also the most expensive.
The Mayson is the latest Press Up-owned and managed hotel to open in Dublin, after The Dean on Harcourt Street and The Devlin in Ranelagh. (Press Up also runs The Clarence in Temple Bar, as well as almost 50 other bars, restaurants and cinemas.) Located on North Wall Quay, a short walk from The Point Luas stop, right in the middle of several other extensive building projects, there are probably more hard hats per square metre in this part of Dublin than any other.
It’s unsurprising that the penthouse suite in The Mayson isn’t, in fact, on its top floor. Here, as in The Dean and The Devlin, there is a restaurant, bar and terrace on the seventh floor; Ryleigh’s. The Press Up hotel hospitality idea is both simple and sensible: maximise the best views at each location to benefit the most people.
If you have been in any of the many Press Up-owned restaurants and bars in Dublin, you will recognise their signature design tropes in The Mayson. Parquet hardwood floors. Horseshoe bars. White marble-topped tables. Ridged glass and brass booth dividers. Booths with leather seats. Art-deco lettering lightbox signs. Brass light-fittings. They are all very pleasing, but Press Up interiors are not as unique in their look as their marketing would like you to believe. They tend to have a similar corporate aesthetic.
There are actually two buildings, numbers 81 and 82 North Wall Quay, which collectively form the latest Press Up hotel. One is a former townhouse and pub, and the other is a former warehouse, now connected. You enter into the lobby, which has a coffee dock on its right, reception area on the left, and circular seating with (real) olive tree in the centre.
Over the reception area is a non-sequitur pink neon sign by Domino Whisker, “Something Beautiful”. The pink undertones in the ground-floor Mayson Bar carry through the space. There are blush pink velvet tub armchairs, and mossy green ones, and long comfortable couches. The grey light fittings are industrial looking, the brick is exposed and there is a lot of glass and steel. This is where they’ll be serving “comfort food” lunches: expect dishes such as fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, chowder, and bacon and cabbage. This area seats up to 100.
In between The Mayson Bar and Ryleigh’s on the seventh floor, are 87 bedrooms, of varying sizes. They are not quite finished fitting all the rooms out yet, but some of the floors will be open to guests from December 17th.
The smallest bedroom is a €140 “small double” of 13 square metres. You don’t, it appears, pay more for the view. You pay for room size. The small double I saw had fabulous riverside views, via floor to ceiling windows. It’s in these bedrooms where the design shines through, and where the quality of the fit-out is evident.
Headboards are pleated, padded leather. Absent are obsolete cushions, trouser presses, wardrobes. Instead, there is a small Smeg fridge, fully stocked; a Dyson hairdyer; a large smart TV with Netflix; a Marshall Radio; and a cocktail shaker - the new kettle of a certain type of city hotel room.
Bedlinen is white, you hang your clothes on pegs, and the bathroom door slides shut to save on space. The shower room has dark blue tiles, and ochre-painted concrete wash-basins. It’s all smart, fresh, and thoughtful. This is for people who like their hotel room minimalist, but with the luxury of lots of gadgets.
Other rooms have the same look, with more space. Larger rooms of 21 square meters are €180. Then you’re looking at “Warehouse Suites” from €490, which have copper baths in the bedroom, sash windows, exposed brick, and a separate sitting room with a sofa bed that can sleep an additional two people. The Liffey Penthouse with its hot tub is from €1,000. I didn’t see any of what will be seven luxury suites in the Townhouse Building next door, as they are still under construction, but they’ll be from €390 each.
Each of the bedroom floors has a striking corridor of geometric black and white carpet, a ceiling of bronzed mirror, and rosewood walls. I found myself worrying about how long that pristine white carpet would stay white, but it’s certainly a dramatic and luxurious look for now.
Davern and Hadley are hoping to get a mix of leisure and corporate guests. The proximity to the 3 Arena will be to the hotel’s advantage, and they are also hopeful that the banking and corporate community of workers along the docks will come to use the bars and restaurants on regular basis.
Breaking news for politicians off-duty: unlike The Dean Hotel, there are no swings anywhere in Ryleigh's rooftop restaurant, bar and terrace. The terrace here is the starriest piece of the equation, with glorious views up and down river, and even out over a slice of Dublin Bay. It seats 30 outside, and will undoubtedly be the most requested seats in the house, year-round, thanks to the giant heaters.
There’s an open kitchen here, which will specialise in steak. Menu items will include: 8 oz centre-cut fillet for €36; spatchcock chicken and rustic bean stew, €30; and beetroot gnocchi for €22.
There’s more. The Timberyard event room downstairs overlooks a living wall, and can be rented for parties, corporate events and small weddings. A gym will open in the New Year. The as-yet-unfinished Bottle Boy Pub on the ground floor of the Townhouse Building, will look like a proper old-fashioned Irish bar, except new, with snugs and a fireplace - and a resident barber, the Green Dolphin Barber. Come for the pints, as they say, and stay for the cut-throat shave.
The Mayson is open to overnight guests from December 17th, and The Mayson Bar and Ryleigh's will also open then. themayson.ie