The opening years of the 21st century were prime time for Dublin. A flurry of new five star hotel arrivals welcomed rich locals and richer tourists. Converted out of a cluster of 11 buildings including a banking hall on a prominent city centre corner overlooking Trinity College, The Westin Hotel opened in 2001. Henry J Lyons were the architects for the conversion. The Atrium is a new space hollowed out of the built form, rising six storeys to a glazed roof. Internal bedroom windows look down onto a lounge area. Fun columns – never to be mistaken for Sir Edward Lovett Pierce’s work – support first floor bedroom balconies. There’s an even more fun Bossi style chimneypiece. There are lots of books for fireside reading (The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy, Hard Times by Charles Dickens, Modern Materialism and Emergent Revolution by William McDougall and so on).
“Too many repro paintings,” critiqued Damian O’Brien, Marketing Director of the Irish Tourist Board, referring to the interior. Fortunately, the non original art in The Atrium has been replaced by panels of hand painted Chinese wallpaper. If you want your very own Bossi chimneypiece (named after Pietro Bossi, an Italian craftsman who worked in Dublin for the last two decades of the 18th century and developed a very distinctive colourful style), M+D Lewis Antiques on King’s Road in London are selling a fine example for £545,000.