This luxury spa and golf resort nestles serenely amongst 1,300 acres of sprawling, rugged countryside. Envisage lovely lakes, wild woodland and a gorgeously green golf course. I couldn't help but feel an immediate sense of calm and delight.
What's on offer?
Farnham Estate contains an impressively spacious spa with plenty of places for relaxation. The emphasis here is on health and well-being, and I found it truly hard not to relax. The indoor-outdoor infinity pool was one of the stars of the show with its floor-to-ceiling windows and mesmerising views. The extensive Water Mint Thermal Suite ensures that you can easily while away a whole day. The unusual Kniepp Walk was a fun addition, as you step through varying water temperatures in each foot bath.
What were the treatments like?
I had the ÓGRA anti-ageing peat facial (65 minutes, €95). The peat from Irish organic brand ÓGRA is harvested from Irish peat bogs, and is promoted for its “rejuvenating properties”. The facial involved a truly decadent amount of face, neck and head massage. My therapist applied a peat mask and left it in place for around 15 minutes, which gave her time to give me an arm and hand massage on either side, and a foot massage, too. The peat mask produced a slight tingling sensation on my skin, which my therapist told me was a perfectly natural response. My skin felt fresh and revitalised afterwards, and I definitely managed to relax my cares away.
Evening dining was in The Potting Shed, an intimate room for up to 10 guests. We relished the up-close-and-personal view of the hotel's chefs in action. The chefs proved their prowess with a stunning seven-course tasting menu. The fluffy goat's-cheese pannacotta, slow-braised Cavan beef cheek, braised pork belly and wild elderberry sorbet were all worthy of the glowing praise they received.
As much of the food as possible is sourced on the estate or locally, and is another string to Farnham Estate's beautiful bow. An afternoon foraging trip, with the passionate General Manager of the hotel, was really interesting as he pointed out the different produce harvested on the land.
A light lunch was taken in the spa's own Pear Tree restaurant, where huge windows presented a kaleidoscopic feast of autumnal trees. In fact, the views from nigh-on every window at Farnham Estate were breathtaking, not least the expanse of natural beauty I could see from my suite.
A floaty, fresh-faced spy left this charming destination a very happy bean (that’s Irish for “woman” by the way).
Radisson Blu Galway Hotel and Spa
The 4-star Radisson Blu Galway Hotel and Spa, built in 2001, stands proudly aside the waterfront of Lough Atalia, overlooking Galway Bay. The hotel is conveniently located near the city centre the vibrant shops, restaurants and bars. Radisson Blu Galway was the first hotel to have a spa in Galway, setting the standard for those to come.
What's on offer?
The Spirit One Spa has a thermal suite, including a really steamy aroma grotto, a just-as-steamy hammam, a laconium and a rock sauna. The heated loungers were particularly soothing. The Sabai Med Room is an experience room with a sandy floor, a dawn-to-dusk light cycle, and the sound of crashing waves. Lie on the warm sand and dream about being on holiday by the sea.
The amply equipped gym is located at the entrance of the wet-spa area. The wet-spa area is complete with a Greco-Roman pool, children’s pool, Jacuzzi and outdoor hot tub. The pool and hot tub get very busy, so choose your swim time carefully if you want a quiet dip.
What were the treatments like?
I had the spa's Signature Hot Poultice Massage (65 minutes, €95). I really enjoyed my treatment, which began with massage with a hot poultice, followed by a full-body massage with Elemis Frangipani Monoi Body Oil. The therapist's touch was perceptive to my needs, and the warmth and the pressure was welcome to my achy shoulders. Needless to say, I was reluctant to leave the treatment couch.
Another spa highlight was the Salt Cave Therapy Spa, just across from the main entrance to the hotel. Salt caves have been developed as a solution to respiratory difficulties and skin discomforts. The large room was filled with a row of loungers interspersed with stalagmites and stalactites. Thick, natural blocks of sea salt, from Poland and the Dead Sea, were back-lit and lined the walls. Once you are settled and lying under a blanket, clean salty air is then pumped into the room for you to inhale. It’s a surprisingly relaxing experience!
Radisson Blu Galway has numerous dining options on offer. The swanky Veranda Lounge is the place to hold a party, and the adjoining patio area looked perfect for a summer barbecue. Raw is the new, high-quality Japanese restaurant set on the 4th floor, and is not to be missed if you live nearby or are staying at the hotel. The colourful sushi tasted ever so fresh and the service was calm and polite. Restaurant Marinas is the main dining room – the room is lined with windows, and it was lovely to have a seat by the waterfront. My freshly cooked fish was washed down with a cool glass (or two) of Gavi.
Want to go?
We had a smooth flight to Dublin courtesy of Aer Lingus.