Hilton Garden Inn Dublin Custom House Hotel review: a great family hotel in Dublin city center

This is a review of the Hilton Garden Inn Dublin Custom House, where our family spend a weekend in May 2017. We have stayed several more times since then and we now recommend it as family friendly accommodation in Dublin because of its convenient location, welcoming atmosphere and kid friendly policy.

Last weekend was a special one for our household. We were celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary and, to make the day special, we accepted the invite of the Hilton Garden Inn Dublin Custom House to spend the weekend with them.

We had never done a staycation before but we had a lovely time.

Hilton is always a reliable address and the Hilton Garden Inn Dublin Custom House was a lovely home for our two days. We had restful nights, amazing breakfasts and the kids are still going on about the welcome present they got!

Location of Hilton Garden Inn Dublin Custom House

The Hilton Garden Inn Dublin Custom House is located in an area of Dublin called the IFSC, the city’s financial district.

It is a short walk from many of Dublin’s main sites and close to the landmark building that gives the hotel its name, the Custom House (see the photo above).

The Custom House is a neoclassical 18th century building designed by architect James Gandon  and now hosts of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

It is one of the most striking buildings in otherwise non monumental Dublin and graces the banks of the river Liffey between Dublin city centre proper and the IFSC.

When I first saw the location of the hotel, I was unsure.

The IFSC is very convenient if you are in Dublin for business but it didn’t strike me as particularly apt for families. However, it turned out to be a great base for exploring and is now, for me, one of the most convenient areas in Dublin for visitors.

The hotel is only a short walk away from O’Connell and Henry streets (the two main commercial streets on the North side of Dublin), a short walk to Trinity College and only few minutes away from Connolly train station and Bus Aras, where the national trains and buses depart.

It is also a very well served area as just around the corner form the hotel there are lovely restaurants, the really interesting Epic Ireland exhibition and just in front of the front door one of Dublin’s must see attractions, the famine ship Jeanie Johnston!

Jeanie Johnston tall ship anchored in Dublin
The Jeanie Johnston is the replica of an original tall ship that used the sail across teh Atlantic at the time of the Irish famine. Despite the difficulty of the journey and the many people it carries, the Jeanie Johnston never lost any lives! They say this was thanks to a great captain who never overloaded the ship and the presence of a doctor on board

If this wasn’t enough the hotel is also a short walk from one of our favourite modern landmarks in the city, the Samuel Beckett Bridge, built by architect Calatrava and resembling the Irish national symbol: a harp.

The Samuel Beckett bridge over the Liffey, in Dublin. Built by architect Calatrava, it resembles the Irish National Symbol: a harp
The Samuel Beckett bridge over the Liffey, in Dublin. Built by architect Calatrava, it resembles the Irish National Symbol: a harp

Arrival and welcome

We arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn tired and soaked by pouring rain. We had planned on getting there early on a Friday afternoon but other commitments got in the way and we arrived quite late and with two cranky kids.

The hotel, however, worked as an instant pick me up. The welcome was warm and efficient and in a matter of minutes we were up in our room, getting warm under a hot shower!

The large and airy reception of the Hilton Garden Inn Dublin Custom house
The large and airy reception of the Hilton Garden Inn Dublin Custom house, with little Ms E and her twirliwoo!

Room amenities at the Hilton Garden Inn Dublin

Our room was on the third floor, facing the side of the hotel. I was disappointed to see that we didn’t have a view over the Jeanie Johnston from our window, but overlooking a side street had its advantages: the room was incredibly quiet and we had an excellent, undisturbed sleep in almost compete silence.

The room itself was large and well lit. We had 2 generous sized double beds, in the two opposite corners of the room, one of them in an alcove.

This was a great layout as it allowed us to be close to the kids while maintaining personal space.

My test for a good room layout is: can I read with the light on without disturbing the kids? The room at the Hilton Garden Inn Dublin, passed in with flying colours!

The kids bed in the Hilton Garden Inn Dublin Custom house, with the children's welcome presents waiting for them
The kids bed in the Hilton Garden Inn Dublin Custom house, with the children’s welcome presents waiting for them

The room was also equipped with minibar, tea and coffee facilities, a large TV with kids channels and a good size bathroom with bathtub.

As an extra touch the hotel had prepared a Boss Baby welcome pack for the kids with activities, juice and snacks: they found one welcome kit each on their bed and demanded to bring it down straight away to the restaurant, to play while waiting for dinner!

Happy kids, lounging on the comfy armchairs of the Hilton Garden Inn hotel

The room and the whole of the hotel also offers free WI-FI for guests and is equipped with a nice fitness centre with cardio equipment and weights (for parents, of course!).

The hotel also has bright meeting rooms, so it’s a good address if you are visiting Dublin for business but want too bring the family along.

The hotel offers rooms with various layouts to suit most family needs.

We had the two queen bedded family room but we saw others with double and single beds or twin beds. Cots are available free of charge.

In 2017, Hilton hotels announced an exciting first for them: they teamed up with Fox Studios and Dreamworks animation to become an exclusive partner of the animated film ‘The Boss Baby’ and kids stay and eat for free (Terms & Conditions apply, check the hotel website for offers available  during your stay).

Hilton Garden Inn Dublin restaurant

Since it was already dinner time, we went to the hotel restaurant and quickly ordered our meal in Oly’s restaurant and cafe, on the ground floor.

They have a nice adult menu and a kids menu with children favourites.

Our kids ordered ‘silly sausages’ and chicken nuggets and pretty much licked the bowl, while we had excellent chicken wings and beer battered fish and chips.

The restaurant shares the space with the hotel bar and on a Friday night was quiet and pleasant, with only a small crowd.

The kids spent time playing with their Boss Baby activity set and got some extra colouring pens from the staff so they were well entertained.

Playing with the puzzles and activities found in the Boss Baby welcome pack offered by Hilton

The dinner was nice and generous in size and, fully satisfied, we went up to a long night sleep.

Should you need additional snacks or to eat our of hours, the hotel offers additional food options.

The Pavilion Pantry, in the reception area, offers a range of sweet and savoury snacks, sundries items, an assortment of soft, energy and alcoholic beverages and ready-to-cook meals and desserts.

A microwave and range of cutlery are also available for guests’ use.

The Pavilion Pantry in the reception area of the Hilton Garden Inn Dublin
The Pavilion Pantry in the reception area of the Hilton Garden Inn Dublin

The hotel also offers room service. You find the full room service menu in your room and it’s surprisingly extensive: this is a great addition, especially if you arrive late and don’t want to drag the kids away from the room!


My kids are never as quick at getting out of bed as when we are in hotels. They adore buffet breakfasts (so do I!) and rushed downstairs to the breakfast room as quickly as little legs could go.

They were not disappointed. Breakfast is served in the same restaurant where we had dinner and has a generous buffet with hot and cold dishes. The hot buffet has eggs, hash brows, bacon, sausages and all the staples of a a rich Irish breakfast.

Selection of bagels, rolls and bread at the breakfast buffet of the Hilton Garden Inn Dublin
Hot breakfast buffet selection at the Hilton Garden Inn Dublin
Hot breakfast buffet selection at the Hilton Garden Inn Dublin
Our kids are obsessed with making their own toasts in the hotel toasting machines! l always let them and I loved that the hotel had that special family friendly atmosphere that allows you to let your kids explore and find their independence

Beside it, you have a hot station where you can order eggs and omelettes and a waffle station, which is great fun.

The cold buffet includes cereals, fruit, yogurts, cheese and cold cuts plus a large selection of breads, jams and juice. Tea and coffee are available from the buffet area.

Attractions nearby

My initial doubts about the location dissipated as soon as we stepped out of the hotel on Saturday morning.

We were pretty unlucky with the weather this time and Dublin was as grey and wet as it can be. However, the several important Dublin attractions on our doorstep made up for it.

The hotel is just in front of the Jeanie Johnston, the tall ship turned museum I mentioned above.

It is also around the corner from Epic Ireland, the museum and genealogy centre about Irish emigration (if you believe you have Irish ancestors, this is where you can find out!) and a short tram ride away from O’Connell street and Henry street, with their many shops and restaurants.

Just across the river from there you have Trinity College and Grafton Street, Dublin’s South main landmarks and Dublin zoo is just a few Luas stops down the road (direct line).

Final considerations

We had a lovely time at the Hilton Garden Inn Dublin Custom House and spent two good days here, enjoying the attractions nearby, its restaurant and lounging in front of the TV watching children movies.

The hotel offers good sized, clean rooms and a warm welcome so I now recommend it as a good address for families visiting Dublin.

Disclaimer. We were guests of the Hilton Dublin Garden Inn Custom House for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed in this article are our own and reflect our experience of the hotel. Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through them, we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. We use this small commission to help cover the expenses necessary to run this blog.

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