>  Accommodation   >  Relax O’Clock at Powerscourt Hotel – A Review!
Powerscourt Hotel

Thanks to both our complete lack of international trip planning in the latter stages of 2023, and receiving a very generous gift voucher at Christmas, we spent the February Irish bank holiday weekend languishing at Powerscourt Hotel, in Co. Wicklow, and the surrounding gardens.

I’ve been to Powerscourt previously, for a one-night stay back in 2020, but this time we scheduled in nothing but sheer luxury and pure downtime. I booked through a travel advisor friend to avail of the Marriott Luminous rate, which came with a lower rate than publicly available on Powerscourt’s own website, and a raft of complimentary additional luxuries, like free champagne afternoon tea, room upgrade (keep reading for that one, pretty sure the room was larger than any apartment I’ve ever rented), complimentary tickets to the gardens, and quite a bit more.

Check-in was swift despite the throngs all trying to do the same thing on this first public holiday of the year in Ireland, and we were informed that our room wasn’t ready yet but that we’d be called as soon as it was. Not really a problem as we headed straight for afternoon tea – which, honestly, was more like afternoon heaps of food. Sandwiches galore, then macaroons, scones and little cakes. All washed down by a glass of champagne.

Powerscourt Hotel - Afternoon Tea

Thankfully, our room was ready right after we wrapped up – and we proceeded, as I say, to probably the largest hotel room I’ve ever seen; in Europe, at least. Starting off down the hallway, there was a full-size dressing room with enough storage space to move in for several months.

Powerscourt Hotel - Dressing Room

On the other side, the absolutely palatial bathroom with double sinks, separate shower and toilet ‘rooms’, and a very plush bathtub.

Powerscourt Hotel - Bathroom

Espa toiletries are the brand on offer here, and the bathroom (and the room generally) was absolutely spotless.

Powerscourt Hotel - Bathroom

Further down the hallway, we had the mini-bar and snack selection; pretty much everything you could need in a dire emergency, including, to my amusement, a whiskey selection pack.

Powerscourt Hotel - Minibar

Ending our hallway jaunt was a large living room with two chairs, a large sofa, and expansive views out over the surrounding gardens. To be honest, my intention was to chill and enjoy the room as much as possible, but even with our 3-day 2-night stay, we sat in the living room just long enough to enjoy a room service pizza (which was excellent), and were otherwise either out exploring, or to be found down at the pool and sauna.

Powerscourt Hotel - Living Room

The bedroom meanwhile echoed the living room in size and was large, plush and very comfy. After a pretty hectic last few months, 9-hour plus sleeps were on the menu both evenings.

Powerscourt Hotel - Bedroom

Between the gigantic living quarters we had by way of our room, and the plush, fireside chairs in the reception area, we actually found ourselves often wandering back and forth between both to lounge, and relax.

Powerscourt Hotel

The pool facilities, which I didn’t photo, were also very therapeutic – I can’t even begin to describe the worrying length of time which I spent in the sauna and steam rooms, until such time as ‘I feel reborn’ became my new default phrase.

Well, it can’t all be roses – the pool did, at times, get a little overwhelmed with kids, and the number of loungers simply aren’t sufficient on a busy bank holiday weekend (especially with the amount of guests leaving towels arranged, and then heading off to come back hours later – the cheek!). We were strategic, and avoided the worst of both issues by simply going straight after breakfast or during conventional dinner times. And then, it was absolute bliss!

I recall breakfast being something to really look forward to, when I last visited in early 2020 – thankfully, nothing here has really changed. They do a very good quality Irish breakfast – by way of buffet. Very fresh, hearty, hot food – along with a wide selection of cold meats, salmon, preserves, breads and yoghurts. Honestly, you can’t do anything other than leave absolutely full for the day.

Powerscourt Hotel - Breakfast

Thankfully, though it was busy, Sika Restaurant, where breakfast is held, is also more than well capable of handling the crowds – even close to the end of the breakfast service, nobody seemed to be left waiting for a table at any time, and staff were very strategic in opening up additional areas the crowds swelled.

We used the complimentary tickets to go visit Powerscourt Gardens, next door, using the complimentary hotel bicycles to get there – but even their own ‘back garden’ is very beautifully done, and a nice space to wander around and burn off perhaps 2% of the hotel breakfast you’ve just consumed.

Powerscourt Gardens

My only two areas of improvement – if I’m honest would be broadly broken into staff training and proactivity; and the restaurant booking situation.

Starting with the least difficult to discuss; all reservations for the restaurants are handled solely through OpenTable. On our visit, even a few days beforehand, there were next to no dinner slots available – for in-house guests, especially at a relatively remote hotel like this, that seemed very unfortunate not to keep some capacity margin free. On our second night we managed to get an early table, but on checking in we were very strongly informed the table needed to be returned within an hour and a half. Again, understandable, but not really wonderful when you’re trying to have a relaxing time.

In terms of staff, it was very mixed. Across the board, nobody seemed to be aware or cognisant of the intricacies of the Marriott Luminous rate; we had to ask concierge for the tickets for the Gardens (who then went to check – why not just give them out at check-in?), same again for the afternoon tea (which, very regrettably, still ended up on our bill at check-out – I hate seeing surprise charges that I have to debate checking out of anywhere, even when gracefully handled as it was), nor was the unavailability of early check-in mentioned when we arrived – which would’ve been fine anyway, but a nod to it would have been appreciated.

Then separately, an attempt to call reception one night went unanswered for at least 4 calls, while calling ‘Restaurant’ on the phone to ask where to get pub grub in-house resulted in a ‘not too sure, try calling reception’ answer – both pretty shoddy for a property of its stature. I’m made to understand staff training is ongoing at the moment (our travel advisor very pro-actively followed up on my feedback immediately), and staff – in person – were wonderfully helpful, once issues like the rate inclusions were pointed out via confirmation e-mail – but these experiences could definitely wear the average guest down.

Overall though, we had a wonderfully relaxing weekend, returning back fully re-charged and only wishing we’d extended our stay to more like 2 weeks as opposed to 2 nights!

Reformed backpacker & former ultra-cheap traveller, Andy now atones for his past by overspending on premium travel experiences and failing at making the most of the miles & points game. Former expat now returned to Ireland, he is a product manager by day, and travel aficionado by evening and weekend.

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