Nov122014

Where the hell is Athlone, Ireland and why am I planning to go there?

Hotel loyalty programs have taken me to many locations that I would have been unlikely to visit if not for a hotel. I did not have a hotel reservation for Dublin, Ireland next week. There are many good deals for Dublin, but far fewer in the chain hotels where rates are $150 to $250 per night for most of the central Dublin hotels. After arriving home from Denver last night, today I realized I need to get accommodations in place for my trip to Dublin, Ireland.

Dublin Hotel Rates

  • Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Dublin is $390 per night during my dates.
  • Westin Dublin (Starwood) $218
  • Shelburne Dublin Renaissance (Marriott) $248.
  • The Morrison, a DoubleTree by Hilton $205.
  • Conrad Dublin (Hilton) $202.
  • Powerscourt Hotel, Autograph Collection (Marriott) $172
  • Hilton Dublin $205
  • The Merrion is an independent 5-star luxury hotel at $232.

Powerscourt looks like a good deal for a unique Ireland property in the countryside, south of Dublin. The highest waterfall in Ireland at 398 feet is at Powerscourt. MommyPoints wrote a piece last year about visiting the Powerscourt area.

One of the lower priced hotels for Dublin is Radisson Blu St. Helen’s at $160.39 per night. I booked this hotel last month when there was a Club Carlson 2-for-1 weekend rate at 60EUR ($75) per night. Currently, no 2-for-1 rate availability shows for any of the four Dublin area Radisson Blu hotels for the remainder of November and December.

Club Carlson 2-for-1 rates are only available to Club Carlson Gold and Concierge elite members. Being a Club Carlson Visa member grants complimentary Gold elite membership.

Where the hell is Athlone, Ireland and why am I planning to go there?

This morning I searched for other Club Carlson hotels in Radisson Blu and Park Inn brands. There are several other cities in Ireland with a Radisson Blu hotel.

Athlone Radisson Blu Athlone ($86)

Cavan Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Hotel ($114)

Cork Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Cork ($123)

Shannon Airport Park Inn Shannon Airport ($98)

Galway Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Galway (no rooms)

Letterkenny Radisson Blu Hotel Letterkenny (84 EUR, $105)

Limerick Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Limerick (84.50 EUR, $105)

Sligo Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Sligo ($88 per night)

Cork, Letterkenny and Limerick are places I have visited before. They are too far to travel on my two night brief visit before flying out to London for a week. Cavan is one of the Dublin area hotels. Sligo is too far to travel at a 3.5 hour bus ride, even though the hotel rate is low.

I took a look at Radisson Blu Athlone, Ireland. It is a 90 minute to two hour bus ride directly from Dublin Airport for $10 each way.

The published rate is $85.79 per night for Radisson Blu Hotel Athlone. Then, I checked Club Carlson 2-for-1 rates in Athlone.

Radisson Athlone

Radisson Blu Athlone $36.68 per night using Club Carlson 2-for-1 rates.

Athlone is the largest city in midlands Ireland at about 20,000 residents along the Shannon River and near the geographic center of the island comprising the political states of Ireland and Northern Ireland. A few bits of information about Athlone, Ireland (wikipedia) stuck with me after a quick read of Wikipedia.

Athlone Ireland

1. Historic Athlone Castle built in the 1100s was remodeled and reopened in 2012 as a multisensory visitor experience.

2. Athlone is the city considered to have the worst heroin problem in Ireland outside Dublin. One of the features I remember about Dublin from my last visit in 1998 were the high number of strung out people on the streets and busses.

3. Sean’s Bar is one of the attractions of Athlone. This pub in Athlone is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest bar in the world with records of its owners dating back 1,100 years.

TripAdvisor lists of Athlone Things To Do points to museums and Shannon River cruises as the favored tourist activities.

I will save enough on my hotel rate at the Radisson Blu Athlone to splurge for a Shannon River cruise and a few pints at Sean’s Bar with my Club Carlson hotel rate of $37 per night.

Late next week I will share photos and thoughts on the Athlone, Ireland scene. On a hotel chain note, there is the category 2 Sheraton Athlone in the city too.

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

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About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. Certainly you’re not planning to “commute” into Dublin from this hotel. An interesting proposition – letting hotel rates determine your destination/itinerary.

  2. Rick, last summer I did a 2 night stay on points at Radisson Blu Royal in central Dublin for 44,000 points (with last night free). That’s equivalent to $110/night, and they even threw breakfast in for this lowly Gold. Highly recommended!!

  3. @Ron – No commute. Athlone is my destination. I will be staying in Dublin the following week when I return to Ireland from London.

    @UAPhil – I could stay at Radisson Blu Royal for 44,000 points for two nights. I want to save Club Carlson points for my two week trip next summer when we fly to Copenhagen and travel around northern Europe.

    @dale m – I stayed in Irish B&Bs for two months in Ireland on my trips in 1997 and 1998. Those experiences, while in many ways nice and family life homey, are what turned me on to staying in hotels.

  4. Just got back from Dublin on Wed. Stayed at the Hilton Kilmainham, Dublin for 83 euro per night. Great stay, loved it. Going back in march.

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