A little indulgence at The Kingsley Hotel's spa will brush away the cobwebs of a working week, says Geraldine Gittens.
Leaving the rush of Dublin and its M50 on the weekend is always a pleasure... especially when you’ve got an indulgent spa weekend ahead of you.
The Kingsley Hotel, a four-star nestled on the banks of Cork's River Lee, on the edge of the city's university quarter, was our antidote to the working week.
Set beneath the beautifully haunting buildings of Cork City Waterworks, and the old Atkins Hall, looming overhead from the hill opposite, this bright and airy modern hotel is a member of the Kang Family's Fota Collection. Entering the lobby, you’ll immediately want to sit by the panoramic windows and watch the sporting action on the Lee’s waters.
Or you could do as I did, and make a beeline for the pampering...
The Spa at the Kingsley extends over two floors, and 12 treatment rooms.
The muted wall tones, gentle lighting and cleansing essential oils wafting through the air greet you on entering, and be warned - they have mood-altering powers.
With an emphasis on organic, fairtrade and natural ingredients, I chose a facial using the organic Kerstin Florian range, which included a mini Indian head massage, and lasted for a sumptuous, hypnotizing 60 minutes.
My gorgeous therapist Dominique gently explained how she would adapt this facial especially for my skin. And everything from gentle exfoliants to hydrating masks, cooling eye pad and sumptuously heated cloths were included in this hour of luxury.
Afterwards, I was left to explore the wonders of Kingsley’s thermal suite with a healthy juice and a museli snack in hand. Heated loungers, ergonomically designed, are dotted around this fresh, tiled area, where the sound of running water almost transports your mind outdoors.
The Hammam, or Turkish bath, where steam heated to 65 degrees is infused with eucalyptus, gives a powerful detox, as does the Finnish sauna, which is set at temperatures of 90 to 100 degrees. A cool mist shower awaits the brave, or a tropical rainforest shower the more faint of heart.
And outside, beyond the hotel’s 18-metre pool, a little piece of heaven awaits: an outdoor hydropool overlooking the Lee. It's quite the detox!
The Springboard restaurant, so named because it stands on the site of the old Lee Baths, Cork's public swimming baths until they closed in 1986, has some beautiful seafood starters like prawn tempura and seafood chowder.
Traditional fish and chips is one of the mains - combining a crispy hake fillet with minted peas and lemon aioli for €16.95.
Other options for your Little Black Book include afternoon tea in the K Lounge, or casual grub in Fishers Bar, named after the hotel's logo, the kingfisher.
The hotel’s website is a little difficult to navigate if you want to dig a little deeper into what it has to offer, and its menus aren't exactly intuitive (on desktop, you need to scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click 'guests', to open up the options).
The Kingsley's 'Night of luxury' package is available from €192.50pp.
It includes a full day of pampering at the spa including a refreshing Foot Soak, a Hot stone Back, Neck & Shoulder Massage and a Kerstin Florian Customised Deep Cleansing Facial, followed by lunch in The Springboard restaurant.
Contact 021 480 0500 or thekingsley.ie.