This is just the time of year for an indulgently restorative getaway - and the uncertainty of spring weather means it’s wise to head to a venue that’s strong on pampering (of all kinds), as well as outdoor activities for the good days

The Marker


With its unusual geometric white exterior - and despite its location beside the attention-grabbing Grand Canal Theatre - this Manuel Aires Mateus designed hotel is a landmark Dublin building. Overlooking the Grand Canal Basin, it is the capital’s most striking modern hotel and has been a symbol of the new Dublin since it opened in 2013. The wide glass frontage overlooks the canal basin and boating area, and predictably impressive public spaces include a ground floor cocktail bar and brasserie among other dining and socialising areas - and, very unusually for a city hotel, the Spa includes a 23 metre infinity pool. Views from the upper floors are magnificent and used to full advantage; among other persuasive selling points (notably an interesting and carefully sourced dining experience) this luxurious hotel lays claim to Dublin’s most appealing Presidential Suite - and also one of the city's best rooftop bars. Just the spot for an indulgent break with a modern edge.

Adare Manor

Adare Co Limerick

Set in 900 acres beside the River Maigue, the splendid chandeliered drawing room and cloistered dining room of this magnificent and warmly welcoming neo-Gothic mansion look over formal box-hedged gardens towards the famous golf course. Owned by Irish-born businessman JP McManus since 2015, the hotel has been meticulously restored and a luxurious new 42-bedroom wing added, along with a 350-seater ballroom. Amenities include a cinema, a beautiful swimming pool and La Mer spa - a ‘sanctuary of rest and relaxation’ which offers guests ‘the restorative power of the sea’ and is the first of its type in Ireland or the UK. The newly redesigned championship golf course takes pride of place among outdoor activities but there are many more including falconry, fishing, game shooting and archery. The Oak Room - a romantic restaurant lit only by candlight - offers a memorable fine dining experience, and there are other less formal options too, including their renowned Afternoon Tea in The Gallery and, and all-day and evening dining at the nearby Carriage House. A real treat, whatever you choose to do.

Monart Destination Spa

Enniscorthy Co Wexford

Arriving at Monart's imposing gates outside Enniscorthy, you get a sense that something quite special lies inside this private estate, which boasts miles of marked walks and makes a lovely destination for an indulgent relax and renewal break. Despite its striking design, the hotel and spa marry seamlessly with the wonderful old trees and clever landscaping of the Mary Reynolds designed grounds, which wind around playfully within 100 acres of woodlands. Spacious, thoughtfully designed rooms have views of lake, woods or garden, many with balconies stretching out towards the trees. Being a destination spa, most guests don fluffy white bathrobes and matching slippers for the day, and the monastically slow pace that this generates adds to the overall sense of serenity. But you don’t have to be on a spa break to enjoy a visit here - access to the impressive thermal suite is complimentary for all guests and good food has always been a highlight, whether in The Garden Lounge (which offers all day fare, becoming an intimate dining space by night) or The Restaurant, renowned for its contemporary fine dining.

Galgorm Resort & Spa

Ballymena, Co Antrim

This former gentleman’s residence is now one of Northern Ireland’s most luxurious country house hotels, and the region’s premier wedding venue. Yet, while larger and more contemporary following major redevelopment, it has retained its pleasant tranquil atmosphere. Spacious rooms and excellent amenities (including equestrian) are matched by outstanding food and drink, notably in the Conservatory (Afternoon Tea; Cocktail & Gin Bar) and the River Room where accomplished cooking of seasonal food and local specialities is a memorable experience - as is the renowned ‘Galgorm breakfast’. But many travel here especially for the hotel’s Spa and Thermal Village - a first for Ireland, with its riverside hot tubs, indoor and outdoor heated pools, steam rooms and saunas and an extensive selection of spa treatments. Equally, if you have never visited this area before, you have a lovely surprise in store and the resort makes a great base for exploring the stunning North Antrim coast, buzzing Derry city (with its brilliant restaurants and the Walled City Brewery to enjoy) - and perhaps the beautiful Inishowen Penisnsula in neighbouring Donegal, as well.

Hayfield Manor


Set in gardens near University College Cork, the city's premier hotel is one of the Scally family’s Hayfield Manor Collection - sister to the long-established Kerry gems, Great Southern Killarney and the Killarney Royal. Although relatively new, Hayfield Manor has the feel of a large period house, and offers a remarkable level of privacy and seclusion just a mile from the city centre. Managed with warmth and discretion, it provides every comfort and on-site amenities include the unusual Beautique Spa, with indoor pool, and treatment rooms furnished with antiques. The hotel also offers two destination dining choices: stylish bistro cooking in Perotts Garden Bistro, which is a popular restaurant for discerning Corkonians, or, for fine dining, the elegant evening restaurant Orchids. Afternoon Tea is also served daily by reservation - ideal for a genteel Mother’s Day outing, perhaps - and an overnight stay with dinner and pampering package is always appealing.

Kelly's Resort Hotel & Spa

Rosslare Co Wexford

Perhaps it’s because its history in the same family spans three centuries, so there’s not a lot they don’t know about keeping guests happy, but whatever the secret of their relaxed professionalism, the Kelly family’s renowned beachside hotel sums up all that is best about the sunny south-east for its many regular visitors. And Kelly’s is right up there at the top when it comes to offering the best onsite leisure facilities, with its two indoor swimming pools, and a destination ‘SeaSpa’ well-being centre with 11 treatment rooms, seawater vitality pool, steam room, rock sauna and much else besides. They’re famous for so many things it’s a case of take your pick - special events like their off season hobby weekends; great food from Executive Chef Eugene Callaghan and an excellent team, which somehow manages to please both the adventurous eater and conservative diners; their legendary wine list (always changing and excellent value, with many wines directly imported, some from Bill's brother-in-law Vincent Avril in Chateauneuf-du-Pape); the extraordinary art collection; the family activities and the many activities’s a world apart.

The G Hotel

Galway Co Galway

“One of the finest hotels in the West of Ireland - and certainly the most original” is a fair summary of the hotel that’s most famous for its quirky interior by internationally renowned milliner Phillip Treacy. And it hasn’t dated - the original “mad hattiness” and stunning interior design still tend to quicken the pulse in the knowledge that one is somewhere unique. Pampering is something they do naturally here, whether it be through food - reflecting the local landscape and showcasing Irish produce with a touch of flair - the luxurious surroundings and attentive service provided by the able staff throughout the hotel, or the rooftop spa, ESPA at the g. Situated over two floors, it offers a fitness studio as well as a wide range of pampering spa treatments and “rituals designed to enhance well-being and relaxation” and a Relaxation Room overlooking the rooftop Zen garden. Spa packages are offered and, with Eyre Square just a brisk 15 minute walk away and outdoor activities including golf and horseriding nearby, there is no shortage of other things to do.

Park Hotel Kenmare

Kenmare Co Kerry

Travellers from all over the world have found a home from home at this renowned hotel in the Heritage Town of Kenmare since it first opened as a railway hotel in 1897 - and it is almost a second home to many thousands of RTE viewers, thanks to the success of owner Francis Brennan’s “At Your Service” ‘hotel rescue’ programmes. Aside from the stunning location on the Ring of Kerry (in the town, yet with river and mountain views), exceptional standards of service, comfort and cuisine have always been its main USPs - the ever-burning fire in the hall sets the tone for a stay in which guests are discreetly pampered by outstandingly friendly and professional staff. The hotel’s deluxe destination spa, Sámas (‘indulgence of the senses’), is designed to rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit and guests can choose from over forty individually tailored holistic treatments. There is also a beautiful stainless steel swimming pool, and lifestyle programmes combining spa treatments with other activities in the area - walking on the Kerry Way, golf, fishing, horse trekking - offer a unique way to enjoy the deeply peaceful atmosphere of this quietly luxurious hotel. Cycling holidays based in the hotel are becoming very popular too - an ideal way to balance energetic sight-seeing during the day with luxurious comfort and good food at night. Off-season holistic retreats offer very good value.

Mount Falcon Estate

Ballina, Co Mayo

Once a romantic family home - previous owner, Major Robert Aldridge, was a keen archaeologist and helped to discover the nearby Céidhe Fields -Mount Falcon is now a luxury hotel with beautiful period features, extensive grounds, private salmon fishing on the River Moy and fine dining in an atmospheric room that was once the old kitchen and pantry of this historic house. “A gentle and relaxing hub of rejuvenation and positive energy”, the hotel’s Elemis Spa aims to provide an experience of physical and emotional restoration - an appropriate goal in this place of quiet relaxation and pampering, where 100 acres of grounds have been redeveloped and landscaped to incorporate extensive kitchen gardens (guests welcome by appointment), lakeside and woodland walks. Other activities on site include fishing, falconry and archery, while local attractions include championship golf, at nearby Enniscrone Golf Club, and horse riding - and there are many good walking beaches nearby.

No. 1 Pery Square Hotel & Spa

Limerick, Co Limerick

Patricia Roberts’s luxurious boutique hotel is a stunning property occupying a large corner site on Limerick’s most gracious Georgian square - overlooking a leafy park and only a minute’s stroll away from the City Art Gallery and, more surprisingly perhaps, the Frank McCourt/Angela’s Ashes museum, which is just around the corner. It is an unusual and rewarding hotel to visit, with a strong emphasis on good food - especially in its destination restaurant, Sash - and also wine, with private dining and wine tastings offered in The Wine Room (a shop where courses are offered and private dining for small groups). But if pampering is on your mind, the place to be is the vaulted basement, where the holistic Spa @ No. 1 offerings include a thermal spa (try the coal bunker sauna), sound wave therapy, tailor made programmes and a Zen garden; totally natural Sodashi products are used, along with the Voya organic range produced by the Celtic Seaweed Baths in Sligo - it all adds up to what is accurately described as a unique “Irish Spa” experience.



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