Heritage and hedonism exist in equal measure in the Irish capital Dublin. Majestic cathedrals and medieval castles are as important as their traditional pub culture. However, that’s not all that Dublin is known for. Ireland’s ground-breaking gender recognition laws have made Dublin one of Europe’s most gay-friendly destinations. There has been a profusion of gay hotels in Dublin, and LGBTQ travelers are heading to the city now more than ever.
Most of the LGBT life in the city revolves around the areas of Temple Bar, Capel Street, and Georges Street. These areas are also a hotspot for Dublin’s famous craic culture (“fun and enjoyable conversations”). Before heading out on your own, have some Irish-style fun on this fantastic pub crawl for experiencing craic at its best.
Dublin, one of the most beautiful places in the country, has had LGBT-friendly venues long before homosexuality was legalized. Ireland’s first possibly gay-friendly venue, Bartley Dunne’s, welcomed people with an ‘alternative’ lifestyle, as it was called back in the 60s. Dublin is also where the first Irish exclusively-gay bar as well as a place that hosted underground lesbian discos in the 1980s existed. Today, there are film festivals like the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival and GAZE Film Festival which have long celebrated LGBT storytelling. Béar Féile celebrates bears with much fanfare and traditional Irish music. And who can forget the city’s biggest event, the 10-day Dublin LGBTQ Pride Festival?
Clearly, Dublin is emerging as a fascinating alternate destination to its fellow gay-friendly peers like London, Amsterdam, and Berlin. A small capital with a large-hearted repute and cosmopolitan outlook makes Dublin a pleasure to explore. Here’s our list of the top 11 gay-friendly hotels in Dublin to make your city in the city not only comfortable but interesting as well.
Inn on the Liffey
If you’re on a budget and want a no-fuss accommodation in Dublin, stay at Inn on the Liffey. Located in the heart of Dublin’s Temple Bar gay neighborhood of Dublin, Inn on the Lifey is also the city’s only (straight-friendly) gay B&B. It lies in a well-preserved Georgian building overlooking the River Liffey, so some rooms enjoy gorgeous views of the river. Gay travelers prefer Inn on the Liffey for its low room rates and choices between rooms and self-catering apartments. So if you’re traveling with friends, the apartment with a living and dining area and a full kitchen are perfect.
While this is a basic guesthouse, it doesn’t stop them from serving a freshly-cooked hearty breakfast. The substantial spread includes vegetarian options as well as the traditional full Irish breakfast. The staff is extremely helpful and armed with tons of useful suggestions and tips. What’s more, the inn even has a small sauna onsite which is preferred by locals as well.
If you’ve come here purely for the gay nightlife, then a mere five-minute walk gets you to the heart of Temple Bar and its fabulous posse of gay bars and clubs. We recommend you begin your jaunt with the longstanding Dublin institution The George.
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Abbot Lodge Guesthouse
Abbott Lodge Guesthouse in the thick of the B&B territory of Lower Gardiner Street boasts about being one of the cheapest gay hotels in Dublin. The charming guesthouse is made up of two Georgian B&Bs with a brown brick exterior and resembles a quaint Irish country cottage. While they’re not so stylish, the rooms at Abbott Lodge more than make up with earth-toned hues, ensuite bathrooms, televisions, and even tea/coffee facilities. What’s more, the staff is bright and cheery, especially the wonderful Irish ladies who lovingly set out a delicious breakfast.
Abbott does wonderfully well on the location too. The B&B is a block from the Liffey river and a 20-minute walk from the gay neighborhood of Dublin Temple Bar. One of Europe’s best gay bars, Pantibar, lies within walking distance. There’s no curfew at Abbott Lodge, so they definitely know the needs of their clientele extremely well.
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The Spencer Hotel Dublin
The Spencer Hotel Dublin is downright perfect for the LGBTQ set that just has to work out on their vacation. The health and fitness club is perhaps the hotel’s biggest selling point. There’s a whole lot of stuff it offers, including weight training, cardio equipment, and even exercise classes. Combine this with the fact that it also houses the only indoor hotel pool in Dublin, and you have a hotel that’s too good to be true. What’s more, there’s a steam room and sauna too, making it a workout and relaxation haven for fitness freaks.
Not exclusively one of the gay hotels in Dublin, the gay-friendly accommodation is perched on the northern banks of the Liffey in the up-and-coming Docklands area. Rooms that face front feature sweeping views of the Liffey, Dublin’s skyline, as well as the mountains that lie beyond the city. Interiors are contemporary monochrome, peppered with designer decor that lends an utterly modern look. Rooms are naturally bright and cozy, complete with coffeemakers, flat-screen TVs and balconies for enjoying a cold one. The hotel enjoys excellent transport links. The closest Luas (tram) stop is two minutes away, with short and direct connections to Temple Bar and the city center.
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Perfectly located in the city center, Isaacs is a mightily value-for-money gay accommodation in Dublin. The 19th-century brown brick building with pops of color in the form of bright red doors and windows make it very hard not to fall in love with it. While the vintage exterior oozes oodles of charm and character, the funky-design interiors lend it a warm and welcoming ambiance. Travelers and backpackers on a budget will love the vibrant dorms, while those looking for privacy can opt for the rooms.
Budget gay travelers particularly love Isaacs for the tons of freebies it lays out. Apart from the continental breakfast, there’s also a sauna, so you literally never have to get out of the hostel to relax. Bibliophiles will love the reading room, while those looking to mingle can head to the game room which also has a pool table. The hostel even offers pub crawls and walking tours. So, if you’re confused about what to see and do in Dublin, Isaacs’s got you covered.
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Tucked away on a quiet boulevard in the city center, the gay-friendly Westbury‘s location is ideal for travelers looking to explore the city. The structure’s humble beginnings as a convent are a far cry from its current grandeur. Rooms at the Westbury are quite thoughtfully designed, what with desk-level sockets and a full-size Nespresso machine. Don’t let the absence of a spa deter you, for the hotel has a tie-up with Energie Fitness close-by. It has a gym, sauna and steam rooms, jacuzzi, and even a swimming pool.
The Westbury is one of the more discerning gay hotels in Dublin. Health-conscious travelers will love the nutritious breakfast setup which features color-coded items to showcase their nutritional properties. Two of the hotel’s highlights is a lovely high tea and the Gallery, which is extremely popular with locals. They’re also great places for striking up conversations with Dubliners. The exquisite Marble Bar warrantees a visit in the evenings and is a lovely place to sip cocktails.
Westbury is perfect for exploring Dublin on foot. Trinity College, the imposing Dublin Castle, and the verdant St. Stephens Green are within walking distance. Even the vibrant Temple Bar neighborhood is just 10 minutes away.
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Gays with a particular liking for literature will love the Merchant House, housed in an early Georgian-era townhouse. Located right in the middle of all action in Temple Bar, it’s one of the most offbeat gay hotels in Dublin to stay at. Merchant House features four suites named after four famous Irish writers – Bram Stoker, WB Yeats, James Joyce, and Oscar Wilde. The resplendent Bram Stoker room boasts of gilded statuettes and purple fabrics. The other three rooms have a homey character, with original fireplaces surrounded by exposed brick. Guests are particularly tempted by the extra frills like chocolates, champagne, and free breakfast that Merchant House has to offer.
Those looking for a risque rendezvous in Dublin will particularly love Merchant House offers, more so especially since the hotel sits right above a fetish shop. Gay travelers won’t have to look too far for excitement outside either, as the most famous gay bars in Dublin are two streets away. Look for The Hub, an easygoing, decadent space with a darkroom.
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If you’re gay with a discerning taste, stay at the one-in-a-million, gay-friendly Number 31 guesthouse a short walk from St. Stephen’s Green. The Georgian house, which also includes contemporary mews houses, is an oasis of tranquility in the center of Dublin complete with a gorgeous garden. Rooms are of two types, period ones in the main house and modernist in the mews. Those who prefer a little more space can choose the period rooms, particularly for their ceiling height. However, all of them are equipped with fabulous hospitality trays with good views of the garden or the city.
Staying at Number 31 is probably better in the winters since the rooms have no air-conditioning due to the building’s historic nature. However, guests particularly rave about the cooked-to-order breakfast spread, which features everything from kippers to a full Irish breakfast.
Despite lying a little away from the city center, Number 31 has fantastic transport links to major areas of Dublin via the Harcourt Luas station two blocks away. The Temple Bar gay neighborhood of Dublin, for instance, is a 10-minute ride.
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For the boutique design-chain Generator empire of hostels comes the Dubliner. Not one of the exclusively gay hotels in Dublin, it’s a stylish, funky, and extremely gay-friendly hostel in the city center. Dublin’s Generator is nothing like traditional hostels with curfews or spartan fixtures. Rather, it features an industrial-chic decor with murals and intriguing light fittings. While there isn’t a kitchen, the hostel has a cinema room, a hot tub, and lovely staff armed with a plethora of information on what to do. Plus, there’s a games room, lockers, and even a pretty outdoor seating space for lounging around and meeting new people.
The Generator offers a wide range of living choices from single rooms to dorms, all with tons of natural light. There’s no AC, which makes the hostel a better choice to stay during winters rather than summers. While the breakfast isn’t complimentary, it’s hearty and healthy. Plus, there’s cafe-bar with funky graffiti-art that serves food the entire day.
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The gay-friendly hostel Jacobs Inn is as central as they come – it’s right around the corner from the train and bus station both. It’s also just three blocks north from Liffey River to the right of the pulsating Temple Bar neighborhood. Hence, those looking for a gay scene will find it just 10 minutes from the hostel at some of Dublin’s best gay bars like Pennylane.
Jacobs Inn has a very good mix of stylish and modern private rooms as well as larger dorms. Private rooms, of course, come with frills such as in-room safes, televisions, and privacy. However, budget-conscious travelers will find no complaint with the dorms, which have everything from heated floors to ensuite bathrooms, privacy curtains, reading lights, and under-bed lockers. What’s more, the breakfast is complimentary, ensuring a good start to your day of exploration.
Jacobs weaves its wand to create amazing communal spaces to meet fellow travelers. These include a game room, a full kitchen for whipping up quick meals, a TV lounge, and a rooftop terrace with stunning views of Dublin.
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If you and your partner are looking for a romance-inspiring stay in Dublin, the gay-friendly Schoolhouse Hotel is an absolute dream. The hotel is something of an irony – its housed in a converted 19th-century Victorian parochial school off Dublin’s Grand Canal. This uniquely up-cycled hotel features many of the original features like wooden staircases, open fireplaces, and high-carved wooden ceilings. Each room is named for a famous Irish writer and features arts and craft touches that add real charm. These include quirky wallpapers, beautiful oak furniture, thick rugs, canopy beds, and lovely antiques. Since the hotel’s charm lies in its historic flavor, which extends to the rooms as well.
The absolute highlights of the hotel, however, are the chapel-turned-restaurant and the lovely bar area. The bar with alfresco seating is perfect for grabbing a pre-dinner cocktail or a nightcap. If you want to take the edge off after a long day, you can even book an in-room spa treatment. All-in-all, the gay-friendly Schoolhouse makes for the perfect romantic hideaway with your partner in Dublin.
The Schoolhouse Hotel is walkable to most of the historic attractions of Dublin, including Dublin Castle, the National Museum of Ireland, and Christ Church Cathedral. In fact, the best way to see them is via this 1.5-hour walking tour of Dublin’s best attractions. The pickup for this tour is just 10 minutes from Schoolhouse Hotel.
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If you do not plan to sleep at all during your Dublin vacation, Kelly‘s might be just the right place for you. The gay-friendly design hotel with its shabby chic decor and party vibe is a favorite with the hedonistic and young crowd. The ever-popular Bar With No Name is right downstairs, while the fabulous cluster of Temple Bar’s gay bars is just three blocks away. Plus, the hotel has its own residents’ bar. Surrounded by some of Dublin’s most buzzing restaurants and bars, the cool little Kelly’s is one of the best party-orientated gay hotels in Dublin for the night owls.
The hipster hotel is housed in a building from the late 19th century and is dotted with homely features like stained glass windows and huge potted plants. The boutique hotel has just 16 rooms which are minimalistic sleek and have cool features like anglepoise lamps and unique artwork. If your budget allows for it, try and get the plush and stylish penthouse. However, no matter which room you get, they’re all comfortable enough for you to crash after a night of partying out in Dublin.
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Just So You Know:
- Famed Irish poet, playwright and resident Dubliner Oscar Wilde is considered as the patron saint of Irish gays.
- Dublin’s first Pride Parade is also Ireland’s very first one. Its origins go way back to September 1982 when Declan Flynn, a gay man, was attacked in Fairview Park in Dublin. He later succumbed to his injuries. Following his death in March 1983, Dublin’s, and Ireland’s first Pride parade took place.
Get Some Culture in Dublin :
- Gaily Tour of Dublin: With a gay/lesbian tour guide, see the best of Dublin’s attractions on this fascinating 3-hour tour. Explore the city’s modern and historic highlights, breweries, its best bars, and more.
- Dublin Pride: Dublin Pride is the island of Ireland‘s largest LGBTQ+ pride festival. Today, the 10-day festival celebrates LGBT culture in Ireland with a cultural, social, and arts-based content as well, apart from parties and the main Parade. of course, they put Gay friendly hotels In Dublin in demand.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Dublin:
- The George: This longtime gay bar-club has been the cornerstone of Dublin’s LGBTQ life for more than two decades.
- Pantibar: Owned by drag royalty Panti Bliss, this bar is one of Europe’s best gay bars. It’s an extremely popular LGBTQ hotspot and always sees crowds.
- Street 66 Dublin – An eclectic gay bar with the ambiance of an Irish house party. It has delicious cocktails, drag shows, and queer events.
- DADDi – This gay bar is famous with otters, bears, daddies, and leather lovers and chasers. The cruising bit is male-only.
- The Hub – The hot and happening nightclub with a darkroom, a cute and sexy Irish boy crowd, and host to fabulous gay parties.
- Pennylane – Temple Bar’s newest gay cocktail bar and a super classy one at that.
Best Gay Saunas in Dublin:
- The Boilerhouse – This is Dublin’s best gay sauna and a favorite with locals and tourists both. It usually sees a throng of good-looking students. Facilities here include the sauna, rental cabins, showers, steam room, play area, and jacuzzi.