Comfort Zones

Sometimes the best getaways are those that remind you ever so slightly of home —in a totally exotic way, of course. Five direct flights guarantee romance and relaxation.

If You Love… South Boston

comfort zones

Pint Wise: Dublin’s busy streets are packed with low-key cafés and cozy pubs; Photograph by Martin Child/Getty Images

Go To Dublin For… Friendly locals and a crash course in (upscale) beer appreciation

By Sascha de Gersdorff

Anchored by a river, Dublin’s layout is a dead ringer for Boston’s. And as any good Irish-Bostonian can tell you, the resemblances don’t end there. Dublin’s brick townhouses evoke Beacon Hill’s Louisburg Square, and the city’s gated parks are European mirrors of the Public Garden. But perhaps the biggest parallels are in the culture-Dubliners are warm, loquacious, and always up for a pint. (And just a wee bit romantic-St. Valentine is supposedly buried here.)

comfort zones

The Ice Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel attracts a bright young crowd.

Twenty minutes from the city center, the 197-room Four Seasons Dublin has all the standard high-end amenities, the edgy Ice Bar, a heavenly daily breakfast (hint: skip the soupy scrambled eggs and go straight for the Irish soda bread), and the best spa in town (353-1-665-4000, The new synchronized massage treatment involves a lengthy couples’ massage in a fourth-floor suite. Closer to the action is the Merrion (353-1-603-0600, Intimate and absolutely proper, the 142-room hotel feels like a royal B&B, with a string of cozy tea salons and a private garden.

comfort zones

The Merrion’s tiled pool makes laps seem easy.

The latter hotel is home to two of the city’s best eateries, the Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud and the less formal Cellar. Of course, not every meal calls for a gastronomic odyssey, which is why no one should miss a stop at fish ‘n’ chips great Leo Burdocks, rumored to be the first fast-food place in Europe (353-1-454-0306,

Choosing a watering hole in Dublin is like sorting through a dress rack at Topshop-everything looks inviting. One of the city’s oldest “boozers,” the International Bar (353-1-677-9250 , hosts comedy nights and a raucous crowd of regulars; less wild but no less charismatic is Doheny and Nesbitt (353-1-676-2945). The hip crowd hangs out at the modern South William, while old-school movers and shakers hit the Horseshoe Bar at the Shelbourne Hotel (353-1-672-5946,; 353-1-663-4500,

And one of the best places to sample a true Irish pint is the Gravity Bar atop the Guinness Storehouse (353-1-408-4800, Its cheery bartenders and 360-degree views of Dublin are unparalleled. If only Southie had a spot like that.