Enjoy the ultimate country spa weekend at Powerscourt Hotel in Wicklow
As part of my role as a travel journalist, I am fortunate enough to explore some beautiful holiday destinations. They are often nestled in remote areas around the world and many of the best require a lengthy flight. However, this was not the case for a recent assignment.
With a door-to-door journey of three hours, the stunning Powercourt Hotel in the Wicklow Mountains is a breathtaking venue and a gem that is hidden almost right under the noses of those of us who are based in London.
I have visited Ireland many times before and I also studied in the Republic for a number of years. Despite my familiarity with the country – and the area of Wicklow – I had never visited the Powerscourt Estate.
It proved the ideal destination for my latest travel feature, which not only celebrates rural Ireland as an idyllic getaway but also reveals one of the best spas in Europe.
As soon as I touched down in Dublin airport I walked straight to the Hertz Car Rental desk. Bypassing Dublin and the usual city break for a weekend in the Wicklow Mountains means that a hire car is essential.
Hertz have a great selection of vehicles and their luxury fleet includes the new Audi Allroad, which is perfect for navigating the winding roads and rugged tracks that surround the Powercourt Estate. The car is very easy to drive and gives passengers a smooth journey.
The drive from the airport to the hotel is quick (it only takes 20 minutes) and easy because you can travel via the M50, which is a ring road surrounding Dublin. It was a shame that I arrived at the estate after darkness had fallen; nevertheless, the grandeur was still evident. I was welcomed by a sweeping avenue of trees that feature occasional spotlights to help guide visitors to the main entrance.
A golf course spans part of the grounds, which also include a stately home and the famous Powerscourt waterfall. However, not a single one of these impressive features overshadows the hotel, which has recently become part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection and presents guests with exquisite luxury. Stunning interior design welcomes visitors, including diamond encrusted lights in the delicate design of hot-air balloons, along with roaring fires. Fine dining and a traditional Irish pub that is hidden towards the basement of the hotel – and is busy with Guinness fans almost every night of the week – are among the entertainment facilities.
However, a real highlight of this resort is the spectacular spa. I would rate it as one of the best spas in Europe. Features include a large dark infinity pool that seems like a night sky during the evening as stars light up the base from beneath.
A spacious Jacuzzi, traditional sauna, steam room and luxury treatment rooms complete the ESPA experience. Those who simply want to relax by the pool can unwind on the soft loungers and enjoy the incredibly tranquil atmosphere.
While the spa is certainly something to write home about, if you arrive in darkness, you will be saving the best aspect of the hotel until last. If you stay in one of the opulent suites towards the very top of the building, the early morning view is nothing less than magnificent. As you step out onto the stone balcony, you can watch the sun rise over Sugarloaf Mountain as it lights up the stunning rural landscape below and the Palladian crescent façade of the hotel.
As soon as you look out onto the Garden of Ireland you will want to explore it further. Although the resort offers everything you could wish for when escaping for a spa break, venturing out on a walk or drive through the Wicklow Mountains is a must.
You should make the most of your hire car and take a day trip down to Glendalough. Here, glacier lakes are surrounded by all-weather trails that will take you through forests and to the peak of the mountains. If the weather is not in your favour, a drive through Sally Gap will be enough to inspire your flow of thought; however, this is no match for a day of walking the Wicklow Way and exploring the harsh but beautiful surroundings on foot.
With the fine comfort of Powerscourt Hotel awaiting your return, I would recommend a long day of walking and hiking, even in less than perfect conditions. The spa will prove even more of a treat after a blast of fresh air.
This destination is certainly on a par with the terrific scenes I enjoyed in Lake Tahoe earlier this year and also the opulence of Villa San Michele in the Tuscan hills. With the flight and transfer journey from Dublin airport taking just over an hour and a half, this is a very accessible resort and one that is highly recommended for those seeking the ultimate luxury spa break in the country.
Book a visit to Powerscourt Hotel in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, Ireland by telephoning +353-1-2748888. Order your hire car from Hertz online. Flights depart regularly from London Heathrow to Dublin with BA and Aerlingus.