Spa Spy: Kerstin florian correcting facial
Spa Salveo at the Knockranny House Hotel in County Mayo is a place of quiet surprises. Perched disarmingly high above Westport town, if you ask a local about the hotel they will tell you about Seamus Commons' excellent La Fougere Restaurant, yet if you ask about the subject of relaxation there's a good chance you'll be pointed in the direction of a mountain!
Quiet though it is, Salveo Spa is hideaway enough to be both gentle and genteel. While the brochure promises something like grand roman columns and sparkling lights, being inside is far more subtle and much more nuanced than that. Carrera marble floor tiles, diffused lights and plenty of flowers are immediately relaxing, but the sense of calm isn't too overbearing.
Having booked rather nervously for the Kerstin Florian Correcting Facial, I did wonder if the facial might be a bit too extreme for the pace of the place. As it happened, Salveo's signature peel turned out to be just as relaxing and as gentle as the rest of the spa. Based around salicylic and phytic acid treatment, once the acid is applied and the peel lifts away, a series of deeply relaxing treatments could begin.
Neutralising conditioners for the face, a skin serum for moisture and an aromatherapy-based massage which calms the skin and restores the senses. By the time my therapist had applied a gel mask to hydrate my freshly minted skin, the rich scent of myrrh oil was finding its way into the calm of the treatment room and within a very short period of time both my skin and my spirits were starting to feel in pretty good shape.
With the peel over, it seems that curling up by the pool at Salveo is pretty much the run of things. The pace is slow, the spa is quieter than a monk's study and the dial for the heating seems to be stuck permanently between warm and heavenly. As the spa itself is built around the vaulted ceilings of a crystal blue pool, there's not too far to go between trips to the sauna, the steam room or the salt inhalation room. With every page of every magazine turned, the juice bar drunk dry and the afternoon becoming evening, it dawned on me I had hardly seen another soul and my visit was over.
Red face or no red face, I was never actually going to pass on a trip to the excellent La Fougere Restaurant, but I did wonder how my skin was faring now that the acid peel had begun to work through to my skin. Fearing that terrible redness that is so often the downside of even the best of facials, I was delighted to find my skin calmer, softer, brighter and without the usual abrasion, which is far more than I can say after my efforts on Croagh Patrick the following day.
Factfile: Spa Salveo at Knockranny House Hotel
Where: Westport, County Mayo.
Treatments: A good selection of Kerstin Florian Facials, Exotic Monoi Wrap body wraps and a range of organic deep tissue massage.
For afters: Dinner at Knockranny's excellent La Fougere Restaurant Luxury factor: 4/5 Current Offers: Some excellent midweek deals. 3 nights B&B with two dinners for €239 pp. Spa starters from €50.
To book: Call +353 98 28600 or see http://www.khh.ie