The Stella returns
Cinema lovers of all ages will be happy to hear the Stella in Rathmines is coming back and soon, probably this summer. The Dublin-based Pressup Entertainment Group have purchased the 94 year old cinema and are well on the way to returning it to its former glory. The cinema will revert to its original style of one large venue distinguished by its newly restored decorative ceiling.
The plan is to screen blockbuster films and art house movies. The interior will be highly comfortable with bespoke furniture and stylish interiors, evoking a burlesque-luxe ambiance. Uniquely, the building will also house a cocktail bar with its own entrance.
The next year will be a busy time for directors Paddy McKillen, junior, and Matt Ryan of the Pressup Group with two hotels and two new restaurant/bars, already in the pipeline and perhaps more to come. The one theme running across all the new businesses is that they will have rooftop bars and restaurants following the latest trend in New York.
The newest bar and restaurant, Dollard & Co, will open this summer beside the Clarence Hotel. The crowds are expected to flock to the new city venue with its outdoor views over the Liffey. Another attraction will be an upmarket food outlet on the ground floor as well as a number of other attractions due to be unveiled later this year. .
On the corner of Aungier Street and Digges Lane Upper, the former Aungier House bar has just been added to the Pressub portfolio and will open as a bar later in the year after being closed for the best part of 20 years. The red brick building, sold on behalf of the City Council for around €800,000, will require susbantial refurbishment.
The two hotels in the pipeline will encourage use by local communities by offering lobby cafes and free “full fat” (super fast) wifi to everyone and sockets to keep t hem up to speed. The 41-bed hotel in Ranelagh will have a small in-house cinema as well as meeting rooms. The village centre will also feature a and will be a rock up and roll venue. Unusually, it will have no parking but easy access to Luas and bus services.
The other hotel at the junction of the North Wall and Castleforbes Road will be a conversion of an old redbrick warehouse which will find new life as a independent 60-bed boutique hotel. Deep in the docklands the hotel will be located close to the Central Bank and is expected to become the local food and watering venue for the many corporate entities in this area. It too will have a rooftop bar with great views up and down the river.
The Pressup Entertainment Group was founded in 2010 and the first bar was the exclusive Vintage Cocktail Club on Crown Alley. Also in the group are the Workmans Bar, Bison Bar, The Liquor Room, Captain America’s, the Clarence Hotel, the Dean Hotel, Angelina’s , and Wowburger to name just some.
More than one million women worldwide are hosts on AirBnB in 190 countries. What might seem like a way to make extra money to spoil yourself in one country can, in other countries be the difference between sending your children to school, putting food on the table or keeping a roof over your head.
In India for example money made by women hosting guests can represent 31 per cent of the household income, whereas in Germany it only represents three per cent. Women in Japan are the best earners of AirBnB income at $10,000 per year, 15 percent of annual household income.
There are almost 7,000 women hosts in Ireland, which is more than 60 per cent overall. Typical income for women hosts is €3,489, and for some supplements part time earnings. From that income Irish women spend around 23 per cent on regular household expenses like bills and groceries.
Women face high barriers to entry in particular occupations, especially as major technological forces reshape the global labour market. Hosting is not a blanket solution to global problems of economic inequality, but it can provide an important, independent stream of income for women hosts.
The 2017 World Economic Forum noted that “the rise of automation and artificial intelligence is projected to be far more destructive globally to jobs currently favoured by women than to jobs favoured by men.” The International Labour Office (ILO) studies show that when factors are equal education, occupations, hours worked, women are still paid less than men for similar work.
In Europe and the United States the pay gap is about 20 percent less in other countries the gap is higher. In the US, new data from Pew Research Center show that “while the percentage of women in the workforce has risen dramatically in recent decades, the growth is expected to stagnate and reverse over the next 40 years.” A sobering thought.
The Global Fund for Women was set up in 1988 and provides grants to women’s groups around the world to help fund women-led organisations who are fighting for justice in their own communities. Women leaders and activists of the Global Fund are being supported in travel requirements by AirBnB to attend training, meetings and speaking engagements.
On a day devoted to women let us look at how a small idea of sharing a home has been instrumental in giving one million women financial empowerment. The World Bank says that increasing the share of household income controlled by women boosts spending in ways that benefit children, strengthens economic growth and intergenerational mobility.
This report from Airbnb “Women hosts and Airbnb: Building a Global Community” is available here https://www.airbnbcitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/WomensReport_print_3-2-17_v1-2.pdf
Why hotels provide the best sleep
What is it about a hotel bed that makes us feel relaxed and sure that we are going to get a great sleep? Is it the crisp white linens, the fluffy duvets, bouncy pillows or just knowing that someone else is making the bed? Hotels go out of their way to make our stay as comfortable as possible.
When the Dean Hotel opened during the recession on Harcourt Street, Dublin’s clubbing zone, they knew that bedrooms had to be special to tempt people to stay. They bought the best Irish made mattresses, the King Koil 7th Heaven, for the bespoke bed-frames and teamed them with soft linens and fluffy pillows.
Power showers, Marshall sound systems and a selection of vinyl, Nespresso machines, fully stocked mini Smeg fridges and lots of Irish snacks completed the treats.
“People often comment about the beds,” said Brian Davern, General Manager of the Dean. “They ask where to buy them and also the lamps, toiletries, pillows, turntables, records, people love our rooms,” he said.
Westin Hotels felt so strongly about the importance of a good bed that they designed their own, the Heavenly Bed. Months of testing hundreds of mattresses, sheets, pillows, and at one stage getting staff to sleep in a ballroom on a variety of beds, the Heavenly Bed was developed. It is so successful that Westin have sold thousands to customers since.
The most expensive makeover of a hotel happened at Ashford Castle when Red Carnation Hotels’ President Beatrice Tollman spared no expense in transforming it. With her famed attention to detail, Mrs Tollman kept many of the original bespoke four-poster beds and Victorian hand-carved mahogany frames. The mattresses were custom made for Ashford by Respa of Oldcastle. The embroidered linens are exclusively made for Ashford by Exclusive Linens in the UK and are 300-thread count.
At Castlewood House, Dingle, awarded the best hotel for romance this year by Tripadvisor, it is Irish all the way for owners Helen and Brian Heaton. The 12 rooms have King Koil beds and this year they have replaced all the mattress toppers with even thicker and more luxurious ones from Lissadell, now Lissadell Liddell Ltd. Expect to pay from €100 – €300 for mattress toppers, depending on filling,
“We always order our Egyptian cotton sheets from Murrays in Charleville, and our towels and bathrobes from Lissadell,” said Helen. Murray’s Textiles of Charleville has been supplying the Irish hospitality industry with linens from around the world for over 100 years.
In Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa, Ruth McCarthy said “we are definitely aware of the importance and value of a good night’s sleep - We buy our beds from RESPA (who are based in Meath) and we hire the linen from Kings Laundry which is also an Irish company. We use 300 thread count linen, and duvets rather than blankets. We chose feather over microfibre.
Inchydoney supply Elemis Quiet Mind Pillow Mist and an Elemis Quiet Mind Temple Balm among the toiletries in bedrooms. Guests also benefit from the fresh sea air at Inchydoney.
Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa believes in the saying that “Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together”, so they try to ensure all guests receive the best night’s sleep possible during their stay.
Beds are custom made with Sealy mattresses that are 200cm x 200cm in size, bigger than usual. Bed toppers are custom made by the German Hanse Company as well as the 300-thread count linens.
A “Good night’s sleep” turndown service is available on request and this includes a lavender pillow mist along with creamy lip balm. The pillow menu offers a wide range of pillows from foam to feather to down Feather.
When Frank and Mary Slattery proprietors of Carrig Country House in Killorglin were travelling in Kerala, India some years ago, they found the perfect bed for their presidential suite.
Their host in Kerala, Bibi Baskin took them to an extraordinary furniture warehouse in Fort Kochi where they found a beautifully carved four-poster Maharaja’s bed. Several months later the bed turned up in Kerry. “It cost as much to ship the bed as we paid for it,” said Frank, “but well worth it”.
They were able to get a King Koil six foot mattress to fit it exactly and designed the canopy drapes in an Indian style. It must be the only hotel in Ireland with a Maharaja’s bed and “everyone who sleeps in it loves it,” said Frank.
The ultimate sleep experience has not yet come to Ireland but the nine square metre all white cabins in the Yotel Air Hotels are all about luxury sleep comfort. The newest to open is airside in Terminal 2E at Paris CDG airport.
The Signature Serta gel mattresses are specially made and convert from a sofa to a bed at the touch of a button. Just as well as the rooms have no chairs as the bed is your relaxation zone.
Linens are luxury cotton with big plump microfibre pillows and duvets; mood lighting creates the atmosphere to enjoy the smart TV. The rooms are very quiet and dark for a good sleep. Rates are from €75 for four hours and €115 for overnight, yotel.com.
If you would like your bed to feel like a five-star hotel bed, then buy the beautiful Francis Brennan-designed linens from Dunnes Stores. The proprietor of The Park Hotel Kenmare is an expert in quality bedding. “I could not believe how quickly the linens sold out. Two months supply was gone in ten days,” he said. The 300-thread Egyptian set of sheets for a king size bed will cost from €200.
Francis will have two new ranges for spring, a plain white with pin tucks and a grey-bordered range. King size pillows will also be joining the range, apparently they are hard to get and will be made by Northern Feather in Westport.
Panel -Which hotels have what beds and sleep comforts
W Hotels call their mattresses “Do Not Disturb” and also supply cashmere throws and downy pillows.
Marriott have Sleep Number Beds in many of their hotels. You can adjust the firmness of the mattress by using the dial on the side.
Ritz Carlton provides upscale plush beds with specialist coil technology and feather toppers. Enhance your sleep with 800-thread count sheets.
Four Seasons Hotels has three types of mattress topper to make your stay comfortable. They are Signature, Plush which is extra soft and Firm.
The Benjamin Hotel, New York takes sleep seriously and has a Sleep Team to help guests settle down. There is a sleep menu with special bedtime snacks, ten pillows to choose from and on-demand meditation podcasts.
In London Dukes Hotel has launched the “Beditation” Butler, a mindful room service. Get help to sleep with herbal teas, specialised podcasts and playlists, breathing exercises and a Floris candle for £45.
Family Camping Holidays
Bringing your car on holidays is the perfect way for families. You can pack all the necessary children’s equipment without worry about luggage and weight and you are also free to explore your destination. You can even bring the dog too. Campsites are the perfect holiday for families, the range of entertainment is great and there are kids clubs too. Many of them have water parks and extensive outdoor pool area. It is also a lovely holiday for your children to be out and about in the sunshine, on the beach, climbing trees and making new friends.
The annual sailings for Brittany Ferries begin on the 1st April with the weekly service from Cork to Roscoff. It is the fastest sailing times to France at 14 hours. Boarding in the afternoon and arriving in France in the morning after a nice night on board.
Best thing about Brittany Ferries is the choice of accommodation. They do the traditional family campsites, cottages and villa holidays and hotels, a wide choice for everyone. Some of the holidays also allow you take your dog. Very busy in June and July, some sailings booked out.
Easter is booked out with Brittany Ferries but we have a special offer for May Bank holidays, travelling on April 29 to May 5 Car and four passengers, ferry and campsite from €528 return for all.
June 10 for a week in Port de Plaisance campsite, €926 for two adults and two children. Just two hours from Roscoff. Or August 19 for a week at Camping Atlantique from €1647 for four. Both camps in Brittany and a two hour drive from Roscoff.
Have been taking Irish families to France, Spain and Italy for nearly 40 years the Keller family have been making memories for Irish families. When everyone headed off on holidays with their tents and camping equipment Kelair Campotel were helping them get there and find the right places to stay.
Now no need to bring all your stuff, and erect tents, instead fly or drive to your campsite of choice and everything will be ready and waiting for you. This Easter you could be camping in Playa Montroig or Camping Park Villanova for seven nights from only €357 per family, plus flights to Barcelona. These are two particularly popular beachside Costa Brava campsites. Book your summer holidays in June for 12 days with ferry and mobile home in France from €1,230 for five, campotel.com.
Based in Cork Eurocamp have the most extensive range of campsites around Europe and includes Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Luxembourg, Germany and Croatia. Take your time choosing which campsite is right for you. Most campsite have kids clubs for all different ages. The website is very helpful for giving you a good idea of what to expect. They have good discounts right through the season, beginning at Easter with a mobile in a terrific site Bella Italia in Lake Garda from €288 April 18 for two adults and up to four kids. Eurocamp.ie
These campsites are in great coastal locations in France, Italy and Croatia but also in the Italian lake area, Adriatic and Tuscany. There are campsites close to Paris, Rome and Venice, ideal for doing some city sight-seeing too. Alfresco Holidays do have tents on a number of sites and if you are looking to keep costs down is an ideal way to have a holiday in the sun. Stay at the 4* Adriano Resort, on the Adriatic coast, Italy from 10 June, for 7 nights in a 2 bedroom mobile which sleeps up to 6 persons, from €533.
Irish Ferries and Stena Line operate all year round to France from Rosslare. Irish Ferries have one sailing a week from Dublin to Cherbourg on the Epsilon. At Easter a return crossing with cabins will cost around €550 for a family of four.
Brittany Ferries operates the Pont Aven ship from Cork and begins from April 1 to November 4. A return trip in summer for four will cost from €800.
Joan loves to travel, write about, hear about it, see it, talk about it, anything about travel.