For many visitors to Dublin, Ariel House is the embodiment of all the virtues of a classic Victorian townhouse, in all its splendid glory.
If you needed further prood that owner Jennie McKeown, manager Deirdre McDonald and all the crew at Ariel House operate on an elevated plane, you only need to take a quick peek at the superb recipe booklet that they published at the end of 2013. It’s not just that the recipes are some of their sure-fire classics – the famous granola; the breakfast pancakes served with Pat O’Neill’s bacon; the coffee and walnut tray bake that is a staple of their classic afternoon teas – it’s also the fact that the photography (by blogger Paula's Kitchen Table) and production of the booklet are first class: colourful, vivid, mouth-watering, inviting.
And that’s the thing about Ariel: staying here is a vivid, enlivening experience, because everyone and everything is as good as it can possibly be. It’s super-comfortable; it’s glam; the food is incredibly fine; the staff are welcoming and sincere. To these virtues they add a professionalism and a level of consistency that is abetted by an ever-present sense of enquiry: how can we get better? how can we improve? Many of us reckon they can’t get better, but we expect to find next time that they’ll have done just that.