Galway’s New G Spot

G stands for glamour at this new Irish hotel

By: Kathy Chin Leong

So where was Elton John? Unveiled last November, the g hotel seemed to be designed for the likes of the pop singer given its slick architecture, shocking colors and interesting pairing of European antiques and surreal artwork.

Based in Galway, Ireland, the g hotel is five-star eye candy. The restaurant, spa and 101 guestrooms, carry a sense of eclectic, dramatic flair.

The out-of-this-world interior, created by hat designer Philip Treacy, breaks with what traditional lodging should look like. Think Andy Warhol and Vogue, combined with Marlene Dietrich, plus a pinch of Dr. Seuss.

When you first walk through the revolving glass doors of the lobby, the black-and-white marble floor, dark walls, inset lights and chrome accents scream 21st century. The g reception staff don a signature uniform: a black jacket with a mandarin collar and matching pants.

Nearby, a larger-than-life white sculpture resembling a flat piece of curved clay stands on edge. On one wall, a built-in, narrow fish tank with exotic seahorses entertains guests as they wait to check in.

On the same level, three parlors, a bar and a restaurant serving up Italian and international cuisine beckon.

In addition, the g offers several sitting areas where guests can chat on velvet chairs and take in Treacy’s unpredictable color palettes.

Guests’ jaws tend to drop when entering the Grand Salon, where more than 300 silver globes hang from the ceiling like mammoth ornaments. Nearby is the equally impressive Ladies’ Lounge with hot pink walls, black-and-white spiral carpet, pink furniture and glass-topped tables. Another lounge pairs blue walls with scarlet chairs.

Even the walk to the guestrooms is an experience. Black hallways are eerily silent and dim, illuminated by lights at ankle-length reminiscent of a dark movie theater.

Guestroom Grandeur
While the lobby and public areas are charged with excitement, the carefully orchestrated guestrooms draw from Galway’s reputation as a coastal city in western Ireland. The mod bedrooms are restful, dressed in platinum wallpaper, or as the promoters stress, “oyster” to match the sea.

Custom pillows are shaped like nautiluses; silver door handles are gently curved. White bedside lamps look like clam shells, and coral sculptures and furniture also echo the ocean theme.

Technophiles will likely love the g’s gadgetry. A wall-mounted plasma TV features hidden colored lights for mood lighting. DVD and CD players provide additional entertainment, and travelers have their choice of European or American outlets, as well as free wireless Internet access. For privacy at a flip of a switch, a button near the door controls a red light telling the outside world, “Do not disturb.”

The bathroom in the junior suite comes with stone flooring, two above-counter white bowl wash basins, two separate shower heads and an egg-shaped bathtub. A pair of white, plush bathrobes with the monogram “g” hang from the door, and the signature “g” is also on slippers, coasters and bath products.

Spa Service
Over at the E’Spa, another set of designers and architects took over the interiors to pull together a Japanese, Zen-like experience.

The two-level facility with eight treatment rooms is also open to the public as a day spa. The upstairs relaxation area overlooks a bamboo meditation garden guests can enjoy through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Downstairs, the artfully designed “vitality” pool in a darkened setting features green neon lighting. And a flock of 250 giant paper origami cranes float from the ceiling.
Using high-end, natural E’Spa products, this sanctuary features an extensive lineup of treatments from hot-stone massage to detoxifying algae wraps.

The well-trained staff won’t hurry guests out of the spa after their treatment. Instead, clients are encouraged to relax and take in the scenery.

It seems that with or without Sir Elton John, the g hotel puts on a great show.

HOTEL CHECKLIST

The five-star g hotel has 101 guestrooms, including three corner suites, 26 junior suites and superior and deluxe accommodations.

Hits: Edgy, contemporary styling, spacious rooms and high-tech amenities. The g hotel is a five-minute cab ride from Galway’s shopping, clubs and restaurants.

Misses: While the g features exquisite attention to detail, guestrooms do not have ironing boards, irons, coffee makers or luggage stands.

Be Aware: Restaurant service can be slow, and without a buffet breakfast option, folks on the go can get held up.

Plugging In: Guestrooms are equipped with wireless Internet access. The hotel also has international electrical connectivity, so guests can use their U.S. plugs without changing a thing.
Clientele: Mainly leisure and business travelers tired of the “same old, same old” hotel routine.

Rates: Start at about $200 a night.

Commission: 10 percent

The g hotel
Wellpark, Galway,
Co. Galway, Ireland
353-0-91-865-200
www.theghotel.ie

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