Inside Ballsbridge's €1.3m hotel penthouse suite with €20k-a-year service charge

A sudden hush descended across the lobby of London's Savoy Hotel as the stretcher carrying an emaciated Richard Harris was hauled through to the waiting ambulance outside. With impeccable timing, the Limerick-born hellraiser sat bolt upright and wailed: "It was the food! Don't touch the food!" The actor spent his last two years living at the Savoy at the cost of €8,000 per week. His justification: "If you're paying the mortgage on a home, you can't ask the bank manager to fetch you a pint." A big increase in the numbers of wealthy individuals living in hotels since the 1990s is explained in a US Census Bureau report which states: "By investing millions to buy a unit, or leasing one for thousands a day, occupants save money - because they do not have to hire their own doormen, receptionists, butlers, housekeepers, chefs, valets, personal trainers or concierge."

Other celebs who famously treated their hotel like a home included Salvador Dali who lived for stretches at the Meurice in Paris where he once ordered a flock of sheep from room service; Margaret Thatcher, who spent her final days at the London Ritz and Coco Chanel who resided at the Paris Ritz for 37 years - today her suite costs €10,000 per night.

Peter Sellers lived at at the Dorchester while Howard Hughes famously spent four years locked into penthouse of the Las Vegas Desert Inn.

In Dublin perma residents at the exclusive Four Seasons in Ballsbridge (recently rechristened "The InterContinental") included the late former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds.

Penthouse 11 has just been placed on the market for €1.3m and will appeal to those seeking a top tier spa and New York-style concierge services.

The two-bedroom suite is one of 24 on the wholly private fifth floor and the price includes a car parking space in the hotel's basement level car park.

The annual service charge of €20,000 includes heating, electricity, air conditioning, a bin service and building (though not contents) insurance. Owners can use the gym and spa facilities of the hotel and have access to room service, catering and cleaning, but will pay additional charges for these.

Entry is via the hotel lobby, with keycard access via the lifts to the fifth floor, where the corridors are dimly lit and softly carpeted. The penthouse level is not accessible by guests, which ensures privacy and security, and many of the units on the fifth floor are owned by the great and good of Dublin society.

Penthouse 11 is finished with American walnut panelling and architraves, and Italian marble flooring in the bathrooms. If you want to give room service the night off, there's a Siematic kitchen with Italian marble work, a Siemens double oven and microwave, Gaggenau hob and extractor fan, fridge freezer, dishwasher and washing machine.

Read more: Lovingly restored Skibbereen property with a rich history on the market for 950k

The furnishings have been carefully chosen and, while not included in the sale, may be available by separate negotiation. The deco-style dining table and the stainless steel and walnut room divider are two pieces that really should stay in situ.

At over 1700 sq ft, Penthouse 11 has the floor space of a detached five bedroom family home. There's a large living room and dining area and two large bedrooms. The two en-suite bathrooms are hotel-style, kitted out in marble and there is a separate lavatory and cloakroom for guests. There is buckets of well-designed storage space.

Read more: Georgian style home on the market for €975k in Cliftonville

The apartment is west-facing, with views out towards the Dublin Mountains while Leinster fans would be able to support their team without having to venture out of their home in inclement weather (remember the "if Carlsberg made apartments" ad?).

There are two small balconies, one off the dining area and one from a bedroom. The Ice Bar is not quite the glitter monkey magnet it once was (a good thing) and the praise heaped on the hotel's own restaurant might keep you home albeit ruining your chances of deploying the Harris excuse for a short notice check out.

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