Feeling cross and creaky?
A day in a good spa can feel like a week’s holiday if you spend it wisely.
Whether you book yourself a complete schedule of exfoliation, massage, de-puffing and detoxing with a therapist or while away the blissful hours lying prostrate on a poolside spa bed, one thing is for sure; you will never regret giving yourself the gift of a complete switch-off.
Bring a book, grab a magazine, queue up all the podcasts you never have time to binge on; this is time for you.
Make no mistake; if you are struggling to think of a romantic gesture to show your other half you adore them this Valentine’s Day, a spa visit (if you can’t stretch to a weekend, a day can be just as effective) is the gift that keeps on giving.
Here are three brilliant hotel spas to add to your bucket list:
1. Farnham Estate Spa & Golf Resort, Cavan
The details: From €139 per room in February
The drive: 3.5hrs from Cork
In terms of spa breaks, Farnham House is an absolute bargain. The overnight rate of €139 per room includes full, no-holds-barred access to the Water Mint Thermal Suite, a warm and restful haven where you can spend hours flitting from the essential oil steam bath to the amethyst salt inhalation room.
If sybaritic luxuries are the order of the day, start your stay with afternoon tea served beside a roaring fire in the sumptuous Drawing Room, a perfectly preserved piece of history in the original part of the house.
When you’re sufficiently fuelled by oven-fresh scones and fancy finger sandwiches, swap the clothes for a fluffy robe and slippers and hit the spa for some serious R&R.
Any poor soul who’s on their feet all week will fall in love with the Kneipp Walk, a series of ankle-deep warm and cold water pools for thermal stimulation, which encourages blood circulation and eases aches and pains.
Afterward, dip your tingling toes into the reflexology foot basin and work up a sweat in the Finnish sauna before an ice bath.
With a room rate this reasonable it makes sense to treat yourself to ESPA’s ‘Hero’ treatment (€130 for 80 minutes of unadulterated bliss). Melt into a warm bed while your therapist eases away every last bit of tension with a hot stone back massage and a scrub, then flip over for a personalised facial and a scalp massage that will leave you feeling like you, only younger, happier, brighter and more bushy-tailed than you were 10 years ago.
After an herbal tea and a nap in the relaxation area, take a dip in the indoor/outdoor pool where you can bubble away at the water massage jets while taking in huge gulps of fresh country air and storybook views of the surrounding lush green fields.
By now you will have worked up an appetite; all this relaxing is hungry work, you know.
The hotel’s new Cedar Rooms Restaurant is a low-lit, stylish spot set inside a tastefully refurbished stone building that was once the home of the 400-year-old estate’s workers.
Head chef Daniel Willimont has created a luscious menu involving plenty of local produce (the Sheelin Butchers Hereford Beef Wellington is not to be missed) and the atmosphere is just right for chatting your way through an excellent bottle of red while you dine.
A nightcap can be enjoyed in the new cocktail lounge or in the bar downstairs – either way, make sure you sample Farnham Estate 365, the house gin – flavoured with apples and needles from the magnificent cedar of Lebanon tree that stands proudly in the front lawn.
Treatments start from €60. For further details and to book treatments, consultations, and packages in the Spa call 049 437 7700. Relax that little bit further with overnight and breakfast midweek from €139 per room, book here.
2. The Europe Hotel & Spa, Killarney
The deal: €350 for a Thursday night Valentine’s break for two
The drive: 1.5hrs from Cork
Looking for a room with a view? Located on the stunning shores of Loch Lein and framed by the McGillycuddy Reeks, the five-star Europe Hotel & Resort reopens for the 2020 season this month… just in time for Valentine’s Day.
The 4,500 sqm, two-level spa has been designed to be in perfect balance with its environment, with each relaxation space created to take advantage of the landscape and provide a genuinely holistic and restorative experience.
Guests of The Europe Hotel & Resort enjoy complimentary access to the active level, including indoor/outdoor pools, heat experiences, ice fountain, relaxation areas and (if you can’t go a day or two without a workout) the techno gym.
For something extra special (we’re talking marriage proposal, anniversary or grand gesture), reserve the Private VIP Suite for two and enjoy two hours of luxury and relaxation with private changing facilities, couples shower, couples laconium, large infinity bath, and private internal/external relaxation area as well as a private treatment room for two, overlooking the magnificent grounds and lake.
If you’d rather get your exercise in the great outdoors, there is complimentary horse riding for guests on the Haflinger ponies and indoor tennis courts, should you fancy a game.
Hit The Brasserie Restaurant for steaks from the open grill or book a table at the Panorama Restaurant for a more formal experience. Afterwards, settle into a leather armchair by the roaring fire in the bar for a nightcap.
The special Thursday Night offer (€350) includes one night’s stay in a Golfside or Lakeview Room with balcony, dinner for two in the Brasserie Restaurant as well as a hot and cold buffet breakfast the following morning in the Panorama Restaurant. Treatments start at €60, visit the website for more special offers.
3. The Galmont Hotel & Spa
The deal: €247 for two including B&B and a 25-minute spa treatment.
The drive: 2.5hrs from Cork
Hoping to team your spa break with some shopping and exploring? Galway City is the European Capital of Culture at the moment, so the Galmont Hotel & Spa is the perfect spot to hole up for a weekend of good food and fun.
Spa package guests have full access to the spa, where you can kick back in the essential oil therapy steam rooms and soak away the stress of the week in the invigorating tropical rain cool mist experience showers.
There’s an 85°C Rock Sauna for swift detoxification and invigoration and a unique Sabia Med or “beach” experience, which will take you through a meditative ‘dawn to dusk’ light cycle while you relax.
They’ve just introduced the vegan-friendly Elemis Superfood range in the treatment rooms too.
A nutritional boost rich in superfoods and essential minerals, the Elemis Superfood Pro-Radiance facial (€90) is designed to pack stressed, dull skin with energising, detoxifying actives, leaving it plump and radiant. Our tip? Book one for the morning after you hit the nightlife trail in Galway – you’ll go home glowing.
Cooper’s Bar and Lounge downstairs is a casual spot for salads and sandwiches, afternoon tea, or weekend brunch. For something fancier, book a table at the AA Rosette-awarded Marinas Restaurant, where executive head chef Adrian Bane serves the best local seafood.
Book the latest spa deal at The Galmont Hotel, €247 for two including B&B and a 25-minute spa treatment, here.