With the dark evenings drawing in, winter is the time of year when it feels particularly good to spoil yourself with a quick getaway to a luxurious spa. Many of the country houses and hotels in Ireland’s Blue Book have world-class spa and treatment facilities, in beautiful and peaceful surroundings.
Castle Leslie is a peaceful, rural escape set in 1,000 acres of woodland countryside in County Monaghan. Their Victorian Treatment Rooms have highly-trained therapists to pamper you with a range of traditional organic therapies in unspoilt natural surroundings amongst wild plants and mineral springs.
Moving south, to the Irish midlands, the Wineport Lodge sits in an idyllic woodland setting on the shores of Lough Ree in County Westmeath. In their Treatment Suite, you can enjoy wonderfully soothing treatments and the most indulgent beauty care. Then relax and soak in their outdoor cedar-clad hot tubs, a thoroughly tranquil place to enjoy the amazing views across the lake.
Staying in the midlands, Castle Durrow in County Laois dates back to 1716 but has been lovingly restored in recent years to become one of Ireland’s most popular castle venues. They offer beauty and spa treatments from the French Matis range, with services that include massage, facials, manicure, pedicure, spray tan, body wraps, and makeup.
The beautiful and rugged southwest of Ireland is a must-see region for visitors, as well as a popular getaway destination for people throughout the country. The Park Hotel Kenmare overlooks Kenmare Bay in County Kerry, surely amongst the country’s most scenic countryside settings. Their Spa SÁMAS is nestled peacefully on a little wooded knoll overlooking the bay and offers treatments from the healing and therapeutic traditions of the East and West. There is also a host of daily activities including jogging, flora/fauna and heritage walks, hiking, yoga, meditation, golf and fishing.
In a private walled garden within Cork city, Hayfield Manor Hotel has the feel of a country house but is minutes from any desired urban amenities. The Beautique Spa has seven individually designed treatment rooms, each with a chandelier and antique furnishings tastefully selected to enhance your experience. Other facilities include an indoor heated swimming pool, steam room, outdoor jacuzzi and gym.
Dunbrody House, in Arthurstown, County Wexford is an 1830s Georgian manor house on the scenic Hook peninsula. The Spa at Dunbrody is in an original stone building with a contemporary interior, and specialises in food-based therapies, in keeping with the overall focus on gastronomy here – in addition to the award-winning restaurant, there is cookery school offering one and two-day courses.
For those looking for more of a big city getaway than a country house experience, The Merrion Hotel is an oasis of luxury in the heart of Georgian Dublin. The Merrion Spa and Health Club features a full gym, an 18-metre infinity swimming pool, steam room and luxurious treatment areas.
Whichever of Ireland’s Blue Book properties you choose to visit for a winter spa break, you’re sure to feel pampered and rejuvenated in body and soul.
Food / Travel / Wine Writer
Member Irish Food Writers’ Guild