October 23, 2007
Wicklow’s New Wonder
Ritz-Carlton reinvents a 12th-century estate — with a little help from Gordon Ramsay.
To make their Ireland debut this month, Ritz Carlton took the image of the Emerald Isle seriously. They built their new seven-story, Georgian-style hotel in one of Erin’s greenest settings: a grand 12th-century estate in a county that’s often dubbed “the garden of Ireland.” Just 45 minutes south of Dublin, in County Wicklow, and bucolically situated near Ireland’s highest waterfall, the Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt claims Ireland’s largest guestrooms, including two suites with outdoor hot tubs. But it’s the presidential suite that takes it up a notch with a rooftop hot tub relishing views of Sugarloaf Mountain — not to mention an en-suite sauna and steam bath. The hotel’s ESPA-brand spa is no less glamorous, of course, with a 65-foot indoor pool lit by Swarovski crystals.
Don’t expect boiled potatoes — or modest prices — on the dinner menu, either. Gordon Ramsay is running the show here and making his own national debut. The notoriously insolent chef has a track record of turning hotel restaurants into Michelin darlings — in fact, his New York restaurant at The London just raised his star count to 11. This latest recognition bodes well for Powerscourt: Ramsay’s Manhattan outpost is the first in the city to earn two stars in its debut year.