The Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt, Ireland

The Village of EnniskerryAs you drive through the tiny, perfect Irish village of Enniskerry on your way to the Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt, you notice adorable restaurants like Poppie’s, Nancy Murphy’s Pub, and Emilia’s, and start making plans to try all of them. When you drive through the tree-lined, green-lined road and arrive, you feel like you’re entering a movie set of Ireland, which makes sense since Braveheart, Excalibur, and P.S. I Love You filmed nearby.

Nestled next to the Powerscourt Estate in County Wicklow, a 1,000-acre park and manor from the 13th century, the Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt combines old-world Irish hospitality with many modern touches, like electronic touch pads for the lights, TVs in the bathrooms, and FREE WI-FI!  We felt great kicking off our shoes in the lobby at night, devouring books and magazines and introducing my 17-year-old sister to her first Irish coffee.  The lobby did feel a bit like a luxurious old school cruise ship, with dark wood paneling and huge windows overlooking the green countryside. 

Even the smallest room, sized at 540 square feet, feels spacious with blue and white striped walls, huge closets and a high-tech bathroom.  My parents, sister and I shared a room with two double beds and had plenty of space. The grounds are stunning, complete with views of Sugar Loaf Mountain and a giant chess set.  Resort gyms normally disappoint me, but this one is in my absolute Top Five of hotel gyms!  It had a huge selection of machines, treadmills, and ellipticals, with complimentary water bottles.  There was too much for us to see and do in the area, but should you want to book a treatment, the 30,000 square-foot ESPA on property is gorgeous.  And had my boyfriend been there, I know he would have golfed, but I could not care less about golf.

Room at Powerscourt

The Gordon Ramsay restaurant on the property was closed when I was there, and I’ve heard mixed reviews ranging from incredible to terrible.  I did scan the menu and liked the local touches, with names like “Clare Island” salmon, “Dingle Bay” crab, and “West of Scotland” scallops. Farm-to-table, natch. Because it was closed, we enjoyed driving five minutes into Enniskerry and meeting new Irish friends at the pub, which felt more appropriate to the setting than a multi-course meal.

Other food options on the property include classic afternoon tea and pub fare at The Sugar Loaf Lounge or cold Irish beers and fish cakes at McGill's.  But skip breakfast at the Ritz and don't miss Poppie's in Enniskerry, famous for their delicious scones, oatmeal and eggs.  Poppie’s was featured in the movie Leap Year as the coffee shop Amy Adams goes into while they wait for their bus.  It’s the perfect Irish breakfast spot.

Lobby at PowerscourtThe Ritz name, and the word ritzy itself, harkens back to Swiss-born Cesar Ritz and his properties in London, Paris, and the first Ritz-Carlton in America, Boston.  The Ritz Powerscourt doesn’t feel ritzy, which I liked.  It feels like the perfect Irish manor retreat.  You leave wanting to return, as you feel with the country of Ireland itself.  You'll be glad you added 1-2 nights here before or after your Dublin visit.

PRO TIP: Don’t valet.  The self-parking lot is right near the door and much easier than waiting for your car.  Also, room rates here were surprisingly low during the off-season. We paid less than 200 euros for our room.

DON'T MISS: Besides Poppie's, do the self-guided 40-minute tour of the Gardens of Powerscourt, seen below.  I loved the little pet cemetery, with headstones honoring “Faithful Little Friends.”