My first impression of the Ritz-Carlton is of those gaudy Arabian furniture showrooms on the Edgware Road in London. I used to stroll down there on a Saturday afternoon and marvel at the solid gold eagles, porcelain tigers and red velvet chaise longues. Tasteful. The Ritz-Carlton is fabulously bling, testament to it’s boom years origin, but lately it seems less brash and more class.
Adapting to the straightened times of even it’s clientelle this fine hotel, set in the estate at Powerscourt House, has toned down from an uber celeb haunt to a mellow chill out zone. Mother and me had a nice spin trough the Wicklow mountains and, as we were passing, decided to go mad and have lunch a deux posh style. Well it was the day after Mammy’s Day after all…
The Sugar Loaf Lounge, in the lobby, offers a less formal lunch than Gordon Ramsay downstairs, which is now open for breakfast and dinner. There’s a choice of two delicious afternoon teas but since we’d stuffed our chops the day before, we tore ourselves away from the pastry trolly and opted for the all day dining menu. Having spotted some fine looking fish and chips next door we ordered two.
Yummy batons of delicately soft cod wrapped in light batter came with juicy chips, mushy peas and homemade tartar sauce. We also got stuck into a basket of fresh fluffy bread. When in Rome… We added some fizz too – San Pellegrino, not champers! Every bite was divine. The Ritz-Carlton does seriously good nosh and amazing service to match. The views aren’t bad either.
Dessert was a long walk around the grounds followed by a mooch in Avoca at Powerscourt House. I could honestly spend all day browsing beautiful, but useless, things. Bliss. We picked up a slice of chocolate gateau for Dad since he’d missed all the fun and Mother wouldn’t get home to make the dinner. Well, ladies who lunch must take pleasure in life. Let him eat cake!
www.ritzcarlton.com / Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow
With a few spare hours sandwiched in between appointments today, I decided to have a look around the shops. The Spring/Summer 12 collections are very yummy indeed. Florals and floaty things are it – lucky I already rock that look, so no need to buy. Score! Anyway this girl always enjoys a bit of window shopping.
First stop was American Apparel, which I’ve walked past a million times, but never been into. I must admit the lack of girly chintz had me making a sharp u turn in the direction of Avoca. Now you’re talking. Though I do miss the vintage section – their buyer is such a magpie. Had the prices been pocket friendly I think it would have worked out.
Topshop. You know you’re too old for this place when it feels like your teenage bedroom. Though I was curious to see a gang of Loretto girls in ankle grazing uniform – they looked like nuns! When I was a kid we rolled our skirts up at the waist to show off our pins. Time to cross town to a proper lady shop.
Clerys is officially my fave shop – it’s the Tea Rooms – but lose the outdoor piped muzac. Noise pollution. Once inside though I was immersed in lovely stuff – handbags, scarves and gloves, yes please! Clerys trumps Arnotts and BT in the department store stakes – it’s made for browsing, the shop girls are charming and style wins over fashion.
Back in the real world I made my way over the Ha’penny Bridge, through Temple Bar and over to Keogh’s Cafe. With half an hour left on the clock it was the perfect pit stop before my next meeting. Keogh’s is tucked away on Trinity Street, a small place with a big heart. The muffins here are famous, their aroma enticing passersby from brimming baskets atop the counter.
Banana and walnut, pear and vanilla, carrot and orange, I could go on… I went for plum and almond and a nice pot of tea. For a bigger bite, Keogh’s do delicious wraps and quiches as well as soup and hearty seafood chowder. But for just 4.45 euro Keogh’s has got to be the best value tea and cake in town, forgetting cardboard coffee shop deals. And a very nice chap to bring my tray to the table too – good service is priceless.
Keogh’s Cafe, 1-2 Trinity Street, Dublin 2