The mere mention of Powerscourt Hotel & Spa conjures up images of opulence and luxury on a grand scale.
The spectacular five-star hotel on the Powerscourt Estate in Co Wicklow is set in beautifully manicured gardens overlooking the magnificent Sugar Loaf Mountain.
Hotel manager Ian Wynne and the rest of the team pride themselves on giving guests staying at the 200-room hotel a level of customer service second to none.
Therefore it’s no surprise that it was awarded the title of Ireland’s Leading Luxury Spa Hotel in 2019 in the Global Luxury Hotel & Spa Awards.
Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa was also voted Resort Hotel of the Year at the Irish Hospitality Awards in March of this year.
But enough of the CV – we decided to take up an offer of a visit with dinner and spa treatment to find out first-hand what an overnight stay has to offer.
First off there’s the location.
It really is a superb setting with the sweeping mountains acting as a backdrop, Powerscourt House and Gardens a short stroll to the west and the charming village of Enniskerry a mere 10-minute walk downhill.
Not forgetting the breathtaking Powerscourt waterfall, which is just a few minutes’ drive away – and all this is literally on Dublin’s doorstep.
As you’d expect, the hotel itself is all high ceilings, chandeliers, wide sweeping staircases and sumptuous carpets – but despite the grandeur of style there’s not a hint of stuffiness and the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming.
Guests seem more than happy to languish by the open fire and staff are friendly and helpful, without being in any way obtrusive or, perish the thought, conspicuously over-attentive.
The hotel was lavishly developed at the tail end of the last economic boom by a consortium which included Johnny Ronan, originally opening as a Ritz Carlton.
Parts of the 2002 remake of The Count of Monte Cristo were filmed in the grounds and there’s a humorous nod to this in the hot-air balloon motif running through the property.
To describe the rooms as spacious is a gross understatement – deluxe rooms all boast a separate dressing room and suites are bigger than your average apartment.
Little touches make all the difference, such as the top-of-the-range coffee machines, touch controls for lighting and air-conditioning, and the integrated TV in the bathroom mirror.
However, it is undoubtedly the spa that is Powerscourt’s top asset.
The ESPA mecca of relaxation is vast; it stretches over two floors and opens onto the hotel gardens, with a gym, pool, hammam suite, spa cafe and state-of-the-art relaxation room.
I was in safe hands with Hannah who administered a 90-minute natural face-lift otherwise known as the age-defying ESPA ultra Lifestage facial.
The treatment minimises wrinkles, boosts hydration, and helps reduce the appearance of pigmentation, large pores and redness.
The lifting facial massage techniques were bracing at times, but the results were spectacular.
Dinner at Sika restaurant was another memorable experience. My rabbit croquette starter was outdone by my companion’s smoked duck.
We both opted for fillet of Irish Hereford prime beef with burnt onion puree, confit potatoes and pepper sauce for mains, and tried our damnedest to finish every morsel on the plate.
Our dessert was an event in itself with our server triumphantly pouring warm chocolate sauce over a chocolate sphere, which melted to reveal vanilla ice cream inside.
The salted caramel cheesecake – a deconstructed plate with chocolate soil, a dulcey sponge, salted popcorn and fresh mango – was a party for the palette.
After a blissful night’s sleep in our comfy queen-sized beds we returned to Sika for an abundant buffet breakfast, before a stroll down to the river walk reserved for hotel guests only.
• Enjoy one-night accommodation, dinner at SIKA restaurant plus 20% discount off any 50-min ESPA treatment, prices from €320.
For more contact 01 274 8888, or visit www.powerscourthotel.com