Set in lush parkland adjacent to Seafield Golf Club with its 18 hole Peter McAvoy designed course, this modern hotel enjoys a fine location with views of Irish Sea.
It is a stylish property with extensive facilities, including an impressive spa, and luxurious contemporary accommodation; some rooms have terraces and all are furnished to a high standard with very comfortable beds and many extras, and well-designed bathrooms with bath and monsoon shower.
Although there may be occasional small lapses in maintenance and housekeeping, these are easily forgiven as the overall experience of a stay here is very enjoyable and the staff - who are mostly local - are exceptionally good, friendly and efficient.
This is a very popular short break destination (it is only about an hour from south Dublin) and wedding venue, but it is also well equipped for business and conferences.
Conferences/Banqueting (500/320); secretarial services; free broadband wi/fi. Rooms 265 (2 suites, 1 junior suite, 6 family, 5 disabled, all no smoking). B&B from about €85pps. Children welcome (under 4s free in parents room, cots available, baby sitting arranged, play ground). Lift. Room service (limited hours). Spa, golf (18), walking.
An impressive double height room, the restaurant may seem a little sombre on a dark night but it's a different story on a bright summer evening (or at breakfast) when the setting can be fully enjoyed.
The extent and interest of Executive Head Chef Malek Hamidouche's menu will surprise guests who may have been expecting standard hotel fare, especially those on an all-in rate; it offers a lively and sophisticated choice of dishes on every course, with many ingredients name-checked, local suppliers listed and a number of dietary options highlighted ('healthy', coeliac-friendly, vegetarian and low carb).
How many hotels count dishes like Wild rabbit tasting (rack, fillet and braised leg), or Foie gras terrine and mousse with poached chicken and toasted brioche amongst a choice of seven starters on the dinner menu? Or, from a similar number of main courses, dishes such as Best end of Wicklow lamb with polenta and lamb shoulder chips, and Fillet of Atlantic hake with fennel textures, stuffed razor clams and pearl onion shells.
These are the kind of ambitious dishes which can so easily go wrong but, in the Guide's experience, everything is perfectly cooked, well thought out and gorgeous to eat. Stylish desserts - Chocolate temptation (chocolate fondant, brownie cookie, cocoa jelly and pistachio ice-cream) or a Sugar glazed lemon tart with a chilli chocolate disc and a raspberry sorbet, for example - are equally good.
The cooking is creative and has a youthful flair, but its foundations are in quality ingredients including celebrated local foods such as Pat O'Neill's pork, Wicklow Farmhouse Cheeses, and their own fresh and foraged produce.
Breakfast should also be excellent: fresh and dried fruit, nuts and seeds; lots of different breads; a good choice of named Irish cheeses, charcuterie and smoked fish are all among the good things offered along with a freshly cooked full Irish (at least for private guests - possibly not at weekends when large wedding groups are there). Small details are equally pleasing - how good to see butter served in a dish not in pre-packs, and that the the little pots of jam and honey are Irish.