Counter Culture / August 3, 2022

Two Dublin price reviews tell a tale of two very different city breaks

Image: Unsplash
Counter Culture / August 3, 2022

Two Dublin price reviews tell a tale of two very different city breaks

Words: Ellen Kenny

One website did two different reviews of prices in Dublin for different types of city breaks, and it shows two very different ways to “enjoy” Dublin.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. You could enjoy a Michelin-star meal for only 100 euros, while the average AirBnb cost 300 a night. is an award-winning website known for its savvy price comparisons around the world. This summer, they released two different holiday guides: “Luxury on a budget”, and “The ultimate cheap city break.”

One found the best city breaks for five-star hotels, spas, and Michelin dining, while the other finds the best cities for your average city escape.

The different investigations from one website show that Dublin city is more easily imagined as two different cities. One for luxury, and one for the real world.

The luxury city breaks

Can you believe Dublin made it on to a list of most affordable cities? Well, it’s not that much of a victory. Dublin is in the top ten cheapest cities for “luxury on a budget”.

According to the review, a five-star hotel in Dublin is “only” 590 euros a night, compared to the global average of 875 euros. I mean, with the amount of hotels in Dublin city, are we surprised that the price is a bit diluted?

Dublin also boasts some of the cheapest luxury spas, according to The average spa in Dublin is 315 euros, almost half the global average of 576 euros.

This looks like a win for anyone rich enough to travel in luxury, but not rich enough to be too luxurious. But is anyone else winning here?

A real city break

Of course, most people aren’t looking for Michelin dining or luxurious spas on their city breaks. Most people want to have an enjoyable time as possible while spending as little money as possible. And Dublin is definitely not built for most people.

Another survey by, “the ultimate city break“, found that for a standard city break, Dublin is the most expensive city in the world.

It will come as a surprise to no one that Dublin has the most expensive Airbnbs out there, averaging 300 euros per night compared to the average 134 euros.

We also boast the most expensive bus fares, while our “cheapest meal” is approximately 14 euros. It’s no wonder that travel guides warn tourists off ever visiting us.

So what kind of city are we?

No other city in the reviews appear as both the cheapest expensive holidays and the most expensive cheap holidays. How did Dublin end up in this position where we are such two very different cities?

Statistics from the CSO show that hotel prices have increased by up to 17 per cent over the last three years. That’s double the rate of inflation during that time. Hotels are experiencing huge hikes in the price of food (up 30 per cent) and energy (up to 80 per cent) thanks to the cost-of-living crisis.

And even though more and more hotels are being built and extended in Dublin, the costs remain high. Whenever there’s a concert or match in the capital, hoteliers cash in and increase the price of a night in their rooms. So, despite the attractions Dublin has to offer, it cannot provide the standard city escape that so many people want.

Meanwhile, while it’s great for Dublin to be considered affordable every once in a while, it’s likely not for the best reasons.

If someone is even considering going on a “luxury” holiday, that’s because they have enough money to spend on one. And, through rising costs straining the culture and quality of our city, someone with that money isn’t likely to choose Dublin. So luxury Dublin spots must lower their prices to match the lack of demand to attend.

So we’re in a situation where “cheap” holidays and “luxury” holidays in Dublin are meeting in the middle. And these two types of city breaks are going to merge into one break that is too expensive for one group and not good enough quality for the other. And this only leaves a city of empty hotels and locals on the margins.

Elsewhere on District: Free Now are introducing e-bikes