Mid term breaks are a wonderful excuse to spend some quality time with the kids but they are also the perfect excuse to take a little time out for yourself and escape the madness of a hectic life, even for one night.
With that in mind I booked a little escape, less than 30 minutes outside the city to one of the most scenic locations in Ireland. Wicklow, often referred to as “The Garden of Ireland” due to its stunning natural fauna and jaw dropping backdrops is one of Irelands most loved counties for tourists.
Powerscourt Estate and Gardens is home Ireland’s highest waterfall and was recently voted in the top three gardens in the world by National Geographic magazine. It is also a very close neighbour of our destination for the night – the luxurious five star Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa.
If you only have 24 hours to indulge a quick destination like this is ideal so you can maximise every minute of your stay. We arrived on a surprisingly busy Tuesday and took advantage of the online check in to speed things up.
Powerscourt Hotel has always had a big “wow factor”, it’s a substantial property with over 200 rooms and 90 suites, all are spacious, well equipped and offer enviable views of the Wicklow Mountains.
We stayed in one of the Powerscourt suites which are absolutely huge, at over 1400 sq feet – an outdoor terrace, walk in wardrobes, private dining space, double vanity space (ideal for a girl’s night away) and even a recessed TV in the bathroom are just some of the comforts you can expect.
After swiftly admiring our room we enjoyed a quick snack and an all important glass of vino in the Sugar Loaf Lounge, which has 180 degree breath taking views of mountains.
A stay here can either be one of two things – total relaxation; think afternoon tea, a ESPA facial or relaxing massage or you can avail of a little more action with a round of golf, fishing or a cycle around the vast estate.
The goal of our trip was very simple – to do a little as possible and to enjoy some good food in this picturesque location. I’ve had the pleasure of staying in Powerscourt twice but had never eaten in its award winning Sika restaurant.
For a hotel restaurant it has earned quite an esteemed reputation and has been home to several high profile head chefs over the years. Nowadays Marek Sulg is head chef and this Estonian native has managed to keep the standards high continuing to win awards such as Best Hotel Restaurant in Wicklow.
The restaurant is adults only and that is something I applaud, as a parent myself if I want a grown up evening out I would rather not have little ones running around, children are more than welcome at Powerscourt Hotel but the Sugar Loaf Lounge is where you will find them.
Sika operates a “Prie Fixe” menu with some excellent, varied choices, 3 courses works out at €55 per person. With a choice of six starters we whittled it down to begin with a wonderful dish of Lambay Crab, Pickled Herring Tartar, Beetroot and White Balsamic, Saffron Potato, Horseradish Chantilly.
Next up was a slightly more indulgent course of Pork Belly With Cider & Lemon Grass , Caramelized Apple & Cinnamon, Salt Baked Celeriac, Red Currant Jus.
Mains offer some interesting options, although the Venison with pumpkin puree was my first pick, this proved to be a popular choice on the night, so popular in fact I missed the boat for the last loin. Instead Pan Fried Duck, Maple Syrup & Chilli, Carrot & Ginger, Pak Choi Leaves, Beluga Lentils and Cherry Jus took its place. A confident plate with superb flavours that left no regrets over the venison.
Across the table another cracker of a dish arrived – Halibut, Romanesco Broccoli, Kohlrabi, Pea & Basil Puree with a Creamy Prawn Bisque. This was hands down our favourite combination on the night.
Dessert consisted of an exceptionally decadent chocolate sphere so decadent in fact the we were far to distracted fighting over each spoonful to even take a photo – a first ! Our second dessert however we did manage to capture; Tropical Fruits, Black Sesame Crumble, Mango & Lime Sorbet, Yuzu Chantilly Cream, Coconut Meringue. An unusual combination which is why we were intrigued to order it. Whilst no where near the indulgent flavours of the sphere it was a beautifully light palate cleansing finish to our evening.
After a dreamy sleep in our featherbeds we tucked into a hearty breakfast in the comforts of our room and made the most of our last few hours in our sumptuous surroundings before retuning to our far less glamorous reality.
Powerscourt Hotel encompasses all that an escape should be – pure relaxation, real luxury and exceptional, warm hospitality in a magical setting.
Overnight stay for two with dinner starts from €365.
Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa
T: +353 1 274 8888
Jules Mahon is the Co-Founder and Editor of TheTaste. A WSET qualified wine expert, Jules loves exploring hidden gems and unearthing the best culinary experiences Ireland has to offer in addition to eating her way around the globe.
Championing the Irish Food scene and all of its stars, both at home and abroad is huge passion for her and her team of talented food writers.