The Merrion Hotel, Dublin, has revealed a fresh new look for its Penthouse Suite, masterminded by Aidan Cavey, one of Ireland’s leading interior designers. Cavey was responsible for the original interiors for the Penthouse when The Merrion opened in 1997. Commissioned to create new designs for 2014, Cavey has combined local Irish suppliers with the finest international fabric and wallpapers designers to create a deeply private home away from home for guests, in keeping with the air of understated Irish elegance which characterises the hotel. The Penthouse Suite is one of the largest hotel suites in Ireland, covering approximately 204 m² across two floors, with a separate 93 m² rooftop terrace complete with a private cedar wood hot tub. Cavey commented on the new interiors, ‘The Penthouse has long been an oasis of calm for Dublin, a haven in the city, and wonderfully private. The new interiors keep that idea front of mind, with a feeling of space and comfort throughout. I wanted the Penthouse to sit at one with the rest of the guest rooms at The Merrion, staying true to its Irish roots – but with an edge, creating a specific identity for the suite, through touches of unusual colour in beautiful fabrics and intriguing wallpapers, from start to finish.’
The Entrance Hall
The story begins in the entrance hall where dramatic Cole & Son wallpaper – from a collection of designs by Piero Fornasetti – works in tandem with a recessed McMurray hand-woven carpet. The carpet is an exquisite copy of a painting by eminent Irish Cubist artist Maine Jellett, whose work hangs downstairs in the hotel as part of The Merrion’s astonishing art collection. Every detail is considered, from the cushions on the painted hall sofa upholstered in carefully chosen fabrics from the Manuel Canovas Samira collection, to the refinished wooden floors blending with the setting.
The tone in the master bedroom is set by Cole & Son wallpaper in a Georgian Trellis design – a nod to the history of the oldest part of the hotel, The Main House, which is comprised of four meticulously restored Grade I Listed Georgian townhouses. This gives way to a relaxed design, using further Colefax and Pierre Frey fabrics, with occasional splashes of colour in cushions and furniture. This continues into the guest bedroom, which has bed-throws hand made from a modern interpretation of a blue toile-de-jouy design, also from Pierre Frey.
The Reception Rooms
A geometric stair carpet – specially bound in Dublin – continues the unique design and invites guests to the reception rooms upstairs. The walls of the stairwell and landing are finished in ‘Hammock’ paint, from young Irish brand Little Greene, which is also used in the main reception rooms in ‘Joanna’.
In the main living area, sofas are upholstered in Merrington Aqua fabric from Sanderson – calm and comfortable, complimented by colourful scatter cushions in Manuel Canovas and Colefax fabrics. Large windows overlooking The Merrion’s courtyard gardens have crisp curtains in Solange Taupe by Canovas, hung on slim black poles, hand-made in Dublin. For contrast, Andrew Martin armchairs have a warmer red fabric from Voyage, while for the dining chairs, Cavey chose two colourways of the same Manuel Canovas fabric, front and back, creating an interesting visual effect for the dining area.
Next door, the small adjoining study takes on an aeronautical theme. One wall is papered in a whimsical archive design from Pierre Frey’s Braquenie collection, depicting early hot air balloons in flight, inspired by the ‘balloon-mania’ which swept the decorative arts after the first balloon flights in the 1780s. This is balanced on the other walls by two large vintage Aer Lingus airline posters which date from the 1960s, acquired by Cavey especially for The Merrion at antiques fairs in Dublin.
Outside, on the balcony, the hot tub area has been totally refreshed with muted grey and green painted wood, matched by contrasting striped green outdoor fabrics from Pierre Frey on cushions.
The new design for the Penthouse Suite draws together refurbishment of guest bedrooms throughout The Merrion, in both the Main House and The Garden Wing, signalling the start of the next chapter of The Merrion’s story.