I’ve been a Club Carlson Gold member for most of this year. Overall, I’ve found Club Carlson elite treatment completely inconsistent – particularly in terms of upgrades.
The most valuable perk, though, has been “Weekend Extender” rates offered to gold elites. At locations in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, elites can stay two nights for the price of one for stays starting on Thursdays or Fridays, or four the price of two for stays starting on Wednesdays or Thursdays. And unlike other 2-for-1 rates, the Weekend Extender rate does earn points, and is not a prepaid rate.
So when I was heading to Dublin for two nights starting on a Friday, it was a great opportunity to get two nights at a nice hotel for a great rate, especially as Dublin hotel prices were significantly higher than I’d expected in the off-season. 165 euro for two nights seemed alright with me though.
The Radisson, like many other hotels, offers the Nor1 upgrade request system. Customers – regardless of elite status — can put in requests for upgrades at set prices, based upon availability. Given Club Carlson’s inconsistency of upgrades, I decided to put in for the 18 euro upgrade for a junior suite – which would mean both a larger room, “access to the Executive Terrace”, and a breakfast buffet.
When I arrived to check in around 9:30am, I wasn’t expecting a room to be ready. The couple checking in in front of me was told to come back around 3pm. I’m not sure if it was because of my elite status or the fact I had put in for a Junior Suite, but the man at the desk told me to come back at 11am.
It was a beautiful day in Dublin, so I left my suitcase and set about exploring. St. Stephen’s Green was absolutely stunning, and pictures can’t do it justice. Grafton Street and other shopping areas were abuzz with Christmas shoppers. I had a traditional (aka not so tasty) Irish breakfast by the College Green, and then wandered around Trinity College, before heading back to the hotel.
The Radisson is in a quiet neighborhood, about 10 minutes from College Green and Dame Street. The room was nice, on the top floor of the very new, modern hotel. The room was large, but oddly furnished, with a loveseat at the foot of the bed, and a huge conference or dining room table, in addition to a desk. There was a small balcony with chairs, and a large bathroom with both a shower and a tub.
I never did discover what the Executive Terrace was, though, or what my access provided. The other amenities were a bit lacking. I never received my elite welcome amenity. There is no on-site gym, but there is access to a full, more-than-adequate gym a few blocks away. Unfortunately, the hours were pretty limited, and its much harder to motivate to go to the gym on vacation when. Given how large the hotel is, I’m a bit surprised they wouldn’t just convert one or two rooms into a small fitness center. Still, a very nice hotel and a great deal.
I asked at the front desk if my rate included breakfast, and was told any upgrades to Business Class rooms or higher would include breakfast- so I probably didn’t need to spend 18 euro on the Nor1 upgrade. And even though I only paid for one night of the base rate, I had to pay for two nights of the upgrade. The breakfast was nice – a hot and cold buffet- but wasn’t worth 36 euros!
Outside of the hotel, Dublin was a great city to wander around for two days. I ended up having to do some work, so didn’t get to hit as many sights as I’d liked. If I were there a few days longer, I definitely would have headed to Belfast and/or the countryside. But I walked all over the city—not taking any transportation other than my feet until it was time to head back to the airport. I highly recommend the Jameson Whiskey Distillery Tour!