Hotel Reviews: Dublin, Saskatoon, Stratford

From a pied-à-terre in Dublin and a hip hotel in Saskatoon to a refined Shakespearean spot in Stratford, here are three places to lay your head


Brooks Hotel, Dublin, Ireland

short walk from Grafton Street’s shops, Guinness’s famed Storehouse and the green space of St. Stephen’s Green, the Brooks Hotel (pictured above) makes a convenient pied-à-terre for visitors to Dublin.

The property’s 100 rooms are contemporary, with thoughtful comforts—a pillow menu ensures sweet dreams for all. Presidential Suite guests have their own timber-decked balcony, too, with prime views of the city bustle.

In a 26-seat screening room, the Cinema Club regularly offers popcorn and movies. At in-house restaurant Francesca’s, Irish slow-food pioneer Pat McLarnon creates seasonal dishes with locally sourced organic and foraged ingredients such as kelp, wild garlic and clover heads. Love a dram? Book a guided tasting to sample five from a selection of 130 at the Jasmine Bar and Café Lounge—a destination on the Irish Whiskey Trail. Rates from $190. —Valerie Howes

The Bruce Hotel, Stratford, Ont.

Stratford’s Bruce Hotel offers a full Shakespeare-immersion experience: the lobby features an enormous, hand-painted world map from 1564 (the Bard’s birth year); each wing is named for a Shakespearean play and each room for its characters; and the turndown fortune cookies bear quotes from the playwright’s finest works.

In the restaurant and lounge, guests can feast on dishes that showcase Stratford’s local, organic farm fare, or sign up for the Nouveau Ontario interactive cooking classes.

The property’s 25 rooms (four suites and 21 standard-deluxe rooms) each feature unique bathroom mosaicshotelier Jennifer Birmingham placed all 660,000 tiny tiles by hand. Other special touches include fresh flowers and full-sized Molton Brown hair and body products. Rates from $500. —Valerie Howes

The James Hotel, Saskatoon, Sask.

Newly refurbished from a 1960s-era apartment building, The James is a boutique hotel in downtown Saskatoon that really embraces its retro vibe. The lobby and lounge are discreetly funky, as are the rooms. Suites were once studio and one-bedroom apartments; today, they’re outfitted with sleek furnishings and finishes—pillowy, king-sized beds and tiny but luxurious bathrooms featuring carerra marble and extra-deep soaker bathtubs. Generous balconies offer spectacular views of the city and the South Saskatchewan River, and free WiFi, parking, and a chef-hosted breakfast (try the eggs Benny) are added high-end touches.

This contemporary gem is attached to the popular Sheraton Cavalier hotel on Spadina Crescent E. The great location, right on the river, offers easy access to downtown’s festival atmosphere, restaurants, shopping and art galleries. Rates from $250. —Pam Fieber