The June bank holiday weekend in Dublin is always crammed full of fun diversions, from the Forbidden Fruit music festival to Tattersalls’ Horse Trials and Country Fair, to the Bloom (Irish Chelsea Flower Show) Gardens and the Tall Ships Riverfest. This city is bursting at the seams with treats to suit all tastes and levels of laziness. It was this weekend that I invited my Mom up to Dublin to visit and seeing as not all of these activities are to her taste I wondered how best to entertain her on her brief sojourn to our nation’s capital. Trying to choose can be a bit exhausting so if you’re not running in the women’s mini marathon or indulging in an alcohol-fuelled marathon of your own, listen up. If, rather than buy a horse you’d prefer to stroll past them, quietly grazing, as you enjoy the views in the Garden of Ireland then come with me. I have just the mother-daughter treat for you.
When your Momma is the best in the world (and I know everyone says that, but mine really is!) you don’t need to think twice when you see a deal for a luxe weekend in a 5 star hotel. She’s worth it.
Powerscourt Hotel Resort and Spa, I’m looking at you. A frequent topper on the list of must visit hotels in Ireland I decided to stop saying, ‘some day’ and just book it. An overnight stay at a hotel with one of the best views over the Wicklow countryside, complete with spa (which from previous visits I can certainly vouch for!) and delightfully perfumed country gardens is surely a win in Mom’s book. It’s a bingo!
- Return train ticket to Dublin from Cork (prebooked) – €52
- Lunch in Avoca Handweavers in KIlmacanogue – €25
- Welcome drinks upon arrival at the hotel – €20
- The look on my mom’s face when we open the door to our suite – priceless!
You are clocking up serious ‘Best Daughter’ brownie points, let me tell you!
I opted for the classic suite which is just enough notions to make you feel like you could easily get used to this sort of hotel experience on a regular basis. It was almost as big as my apartment!
So after check in we headed for the nearby Powerscourt Estate and Gardens for a leisurely stroll (complete with Japanese gardens and nearby garden centre, sure it’s almost like being at Bloom!). I’ve been to these gardens plenty of times before but there is something about that view from the terrace over the Italian Gardens out on the Sugarloaf that gets me every time. Wicklow is stunning.
Entry to the gardens from March to October is €10pp and November to Feb is €7pp Check out my post on a visit to the waterfalls if you want to add a little extra to your trip.
On a sunny day a promenade around the fragrant rose gardens, past the ponds and over the wooden Japanese style bridges to the Pepperpot Tower is a most delightful diversion. Feel free to put on your very best Downton Abbey accent for this. Plus there are scones and tea and possibly ginger beer for refreshments afterward. Can this day get any more Mom friendly?! She loves garden walks and would rightly be at home as the Lady of the restored manor house so this place was perfect.
Back to the hotel for spa time. I must admit I chose this hotel partly because I wanted to share a lux getaway with my mom but also because I love that spa! I often contemplate just how obnoxious it would be to have a sauna installed in my imaginary house. (I knew a girl in college whose parents had one in their home and….. it was full of sports equipment. Where a relaxing, sweaty butt should be, were heaps of tennis racquets and hockey sticks. If a repurposed sauna could talk would it bemoan how its life had turned out? Saddened that it no longer shared the dry, arid heat its Scandinavian form was made for? Anywho….. I digress.) My point is that I want a sauna and I love saunas and this one is a fav. Book well ahead of time for treatments to avoid missing out. They book up quickly!
An uninterrupted nap was the alternative choice for mom, with no one to worry about except herself. Post-spa and nap and in our robes and slippers (that being the in suite uniform!) we enjoyed chats and tea and catch ups and precious mother-daughter time that is relished unreservedly since we live 2.5hours apart.
We opted to eat at the Sugar Loaf Lounge and took our time perusing the menu (all of which are available on the hotel’s website to check out before you even arrive). I think the foie gras and lamb tagine sold it for her. A quick call to reception, for whom nothing was too much trouble, secured us a 7:15pm table at the window overlooking the fountain.
Can I be that guy for a second, who goes to a five star hotel and orders the foie gras and then is a little miffed at how bland it tasted? Buttery and smooth yes but a leetle short on seasoning is all I’m going to say. I am not a restaurant critic, nor do I aspire to be but enough summers in France, up to my eyes in Bordeaux reds and terrine du canard, have taught me how good a foie gras tastes. Moving on! The hake and kale dish was lovely and Mom loved her lamb tagine.
My mom, not being a party animal by any stretch of the imagination was set to retire by 10pm and rather than grow a pair and venture down to the bar by myself I headed back to our suite with her. Sure wasn’t I there to spend time with her not solo drink in the hotel lobby!? I think there’s a Tom Waits song in there somewhere.
A fun touch in the rooms is the touch-screen room controls that allow you to access the lights, air con etc from various points around the suite. You’ve thought of everything, Powerscourt.
Early (ish) to bed, and off to dreamland, nestled under the softest cover as our heads sank into the feather pillows brought a lovely first day to a close. I would rather not ruin the dulcet ambiance I have hopefully created with my words by remarking on the occasional freight train snoring coming from my mother’s bed. No, because that would ruin the illusion. So I won’t mention it, again.
Breakfast is served in the Sika Restaurant and also in the Sugar Loaf Lounge with an incredible buffet spread of ALL of the foods. Freshly made cinnamon granola bowls, smoked salmon and cream cheese, fruits, cheeses, meats, nuts, seeds and dried fruits as well as the full Irish dining experience, the usual expected eggs benedict style fare, breads and pastries and jellies and jams. My favourite was the tray of actual honeycomb from which you could break off a piece for your own consumption. Peak notions, lads. But a sweet (get it!) touch.
I know I am not alone when I say that I tend to lose the run of myself when I go to hotels for buffet breakfast. I don’t even eat breakfast during the work week and at weekends it is not always a big deal, unless I’m doing brunch. Obvs! At hotel breakfasts I feel compelled to try ALL of the things. I don’t even like a full Irish normally, but dang it I do when it’s included in the getaway price. Kudos to the kitchen on a tasty spread. I’d love to nip back there right now actually. If breakfast is your thing then you will enjoy this one!
Another fun treat from the Powerscourt Hotel Resort and Spa experience is afternoon tea but perhaps more importantly…. the access code to the River walk. I had heard tell of this exclusive, members only River walk but never been. Well let me tell you now, folks, That has been rectified! The hotel has bike rental which you can avail of and armed with your gate code you can meander down the gently winding lane to the T junction that seems to serve as the carpark and take a left or right to enjoy the long stretch of tree-lined beauty.
The fragrant walk features a babbling stream to one side and rolling hills to the other and the occasional mistle thrush flitting about. Fancy feeling serene and at one with nature? Just take a stroll. A gorgeous place for a picnic (for which all of the gubbins are available in Avoca’s shop in the old house). Perfect!
To me, mother daughter getaways in your 30’s (me not her!) are more about connecting with each other and making sure she is enjoying herself, feeling relaxed and being spoiled.
She means the world to me and I only wish I could give her the world. While much of this could be done at a myriad of hotels across the country I chose a little luxury in my own back garden. And what a back garden to have. Wicklow, you never fail to impress.
If you too fancy spoiling someone special in your life I cannot urge you more strongly not to wait. Just go for it. Whatever your budget is, make the most of it and make memories for you both.
Bed and Breakfast in a Classic Suite over the June bank holiday was €275. 3-course dinner in the Sugarloaf Lounge including a bottle of wine was about €130. This post was in no way sponsored but if you do fancy a spot of luxury check out the website for deals and packages.
Alternatively keep an eye on Groupon, LivingSocial, Escapes.ie, The Travel Expert and DealRush for deals and ideas.
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