Sunday 21 December 2014

So Near, So Spa

Ireland boasts a wealth of retreats for the perfect staycation but, as Tanya Sweeney discovers, many hotels are now offering fitness packages to go with the traditional pampering

Ireland has a wealth of spas - why not take the plunge?
Kelly Proper in the infrared cabin at Monart Destination Spa
Kelly Proper at Monart Destination Spa
BrookLodge in Co Wicklow.
Cliff House Hotel in Co Waterford
The relaxation area at Cloisters Spa at Muckross Park Hotel, Killarney
The Cloisters Spa at Muckross Park Hotel, Killarney
Fota Island Resort's spa pool
Delphi Lodge in Co Galway

Spas are the ultimate staycation: a chance to kick back, get massaged into oblivion and recharge without the hassles of airport security. Mindful of our need to refresh and regroup, a growing number of Irish spas are offering a novel service: the chance to kickstart a new fitness regime.

Once upon a time, spa weekends and exercise made for unfamiliar and uncomfortable bedfellows, but not anymore. Here are some of the spa resorts offering the best of both worlds to fitness buffs.

Brooklodge, Macredding Village, Aughrim, Co Wicklow Tel: 040236444 Brooklodge.com

Never mind the sumptuous and guilt-free food at the Strawberry Tree Restaurant (Ireland's only certified wild and organic restaurant), visitors can also avail of the resort's Macreddin Fitness Circuit. Ask at hotel reception for a map for a 30-minute circuit that can include squats, lunges and runs.

Nearby, the Cushbawn Mountain is waiting to be tackled (walking to the top takes around three hours). BrookLodge also offers free bikes, helmets and maps to those who want to cycle the Wicklow trails.

The spa is also offering a spring special of weeknight bed & breakfast with a one-hour treatment for €100pps per night. Weekend and single room supplements apply.

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BrookLodge in Co Wicklow.

Cloisters Spa at the Muckross Park Hotel, Killarney, Co Kerry Tel 064 662 3400 Muckrosspark.com

Located in Killarney's National Park, Cloisters Spa (below) has your standard issue feel-good facilities: Salt grotto, steam-rooms, ice fountains; the works. There is also a state-of-the-art gym and yoga lessons offered on request to health-conscious visitors, too.

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The relaxation area at Cloisters Spa at Muckross Park Hotel, Killarney

The fitness suite boasts cross trainers, treadmills, rower, free weights, medicine balls. . . everything you need, in a word, to kickstart a new you. Nightly rates start from €59.50pps.

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Already an esteemed spa resort with a Michelin-starred restaurant, this popular Waterford resort will be the location for a two-day workshop with a difference.

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Cliff House Hotel in Co Waterford 

Irish Independent

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