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Ireland's Top 10 spas revealed: 'One day here is as good as a week's holiday'

Winner: Monart

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Monart, Co Wexford

Monart, Co Wexford

Ciara Lynch and Pamela Nolan (Monart Spa) at the Irish Independent Reader Travel Awards. 17/01/2020 Photograph: ©Fran Veale

Ciara Lynch and Pamela Nolan (Monart Spa) at the Irish Independent Reader Travel Awards. 17/01/2020 Photograph: ©Fran Veale

Photograph: ©Fran Veale

Ireland’s Favourite Spa: Sinead Ryan, Ciara Lynch (Monart) Pat Kenny, Pamela Nolan (Monart) and Pól Ó Conghaile at the Irish Independent Reader Travel Awards 2020. Photograph: Fran Veale

Ireland’s Favourite Spa: Sinead Ryan, Ciara Lynch (Monart) Pat Kenny, Pamela Nolan (Monart) and Pól Ó Conghaile at the Irish Independent Reader Travel Awards 2020. Photograph: Fran Veale

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Monart

Monart

Relaxing in the pool at Monart

Relaxing in the pool at Monart

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Monart, Co Wexford

"One day here is as good as a week's holiday."

So read one of the first reader comments in this category, setting the tone for what followed.

"I have never felt as relaxed as I did in Monart," another happy guest reported, celebrating the icon named Ireland's Favourite Spa in our Reader Travel Awards 2020.

"I left all my troubles at the door and walked into bliss for 24 hours, for uninterrupted sleep in the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in, followed by two treatments, deep relaxation and superb food in the restaurant."

Hidden away near Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, Monart dominated our spa award, scoring multiples of its closest competitors' votes.

FINALISTS: Ireland's Top 10 spas for 2020

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Ciara Lynch and Pamela Nolan (Monart Spa) at the Irish Independent Reader Travel Awards. 17/01/2020 Photograph: ©Fran Veale

Ciara Lynch and Pamela Nolan (Monart Spa) at the Irish Independent Reader Travel Awards. 17/01/2020 Photograph: ©Fran Veale

Photograph: ©Fran Veale

  1. Monart, Co Wexford
  2. Farnham Estate, Co Cavan
  3. Galgorm, Co Antrim
  4. The Europe, Co Kerry
  5. Powerscourt Hotel, Co Wicklow
  6. Seafield, Co Wexford
  7. Dunboyne Castle, Co Meath
  8. Druid's Glen, Co Wicklow
  9. Fota Island Resort, Co Cork
  10. Carton House, Co Kildare

Readers described "a cocoon" that is "cut off from the outside world", a haven of "absolute luxury" offering "adults-only bliss", "exquisite service" and "super-lovely" staff who are "mostly local to the area". You have enjoyed "unreal facials" and "fabulous treatments", we learned, and consistently mentioned high standards of care, service and products.

"From the moment you pull up to the door, relaxation starts," you told us, evoking a woodland oasis where people feel comfortable swanning around in robes, and a "gorgeous aroma of essential oils". The concept of "switching off" was central to your comments.

Like all great hospitality businesses, our judges noted, Monart continues to evolve - recently renovating its lounge and treatment areas, for example. In October, the Griffin Group (which also operates Hotel Kilkenny and Wexford's Ferrycarrig Hotel) added its first UK venture: a luxury day spa at Poundbury, Prince Charles' model village in Dorset, beating off some of the world's leading spa businesses to partner with the Duchy of Cornwall.

A stay doesn't come cheap, of course - though readers did point out good value in midweek deals, and a day spa experience including lunch, access to the thermal suite and an hour-long treatment can be had for €135.

"If you can't unwind in Monart, there's no hope for you!" you said. "They just have done it 100pc right."

Contact 053 923-8999; monart.ie

NB: The Irish Independent Reader Travel Awards 2020 are sponsored by Iarnród Eireann. Read the full list of winners here and share on social using the hashtag #indotravelawards.

Irish Independent