Monday 16 September 2019

Review: How to live like a lord and lady on Dublin's doorstep

Short breaks in Ireland

Relax at the Johnstown Estate Hotel & Spa
Relax at the Johnstown Estate Hotel & Spa
Drinks at the Johnstown Estate Hotel & Spa
Stay at the Johnstown Estate Hotel & Spa
Dessert at Johnstown Estate and Spa
Fiona Ness

Fiona Ness

Live like a lord and lady on Dublin's doorstep, says Fiona Ness.

10am: Hone your relaxation technique

The Johnstown Estate Hotel & Spa has undergone a major refurb in the past 18 months, but let your mind drift back to its 1750s heyday by luxuriating in an Elemis spa treatment. Afterwards, tackle the Finnish steam rooms, caldarium, and decompress in the relaxation room with a healthy treat.

Tip: Give your skin a nutritional boost with a super-food facial, before a 'deeper than deep' hot stone massage.

2pm: Relax in 18th-century splendour

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Stay at the Johnstown Estate Hotel & Spa

With 126 bedrooms and 40 self-catering lodges, Johnstown House caters for all. However, for those celebrating a special occasion, the jewel in its crown is the recently-opened Lady Margaret suite. Named after the original owner's wife, it has a private entrance, sitting room, bathroom and bedroom, decorated in opulent splendour with a 21st-century twist.

Tip: Hotel chef Val O'Kelly has a special talent for bespoke celebratory cakes. Have him concoct a unique cake creation to greet your guest when you enter the suite...

5pm: Enjoy the salt of the earth

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Drinks at the Johnstown Estate Hotel & Spa

Pass by Johnstown House's traditional coach house bar, and those having dinky afternoon tea in the hotel's light-filled atrium, to create your own cocktail hour at the dining room's bar. It's constructed from blocks of shimmering, pinky-orange Himalayan Rock Salt, from which the hotel restaurant, Fire & Salt, gets its name.

Tip: Sip a French Martini (Absolut Vodka, Chambord raspberry liqueur and pineapple juice) before returning to the Lady Margaret Suite to lounge around and dress for dinner.

8pm: Have a rare treat

Dessert at Johnstown Estate and Spa

Share a steak for two at the hotel's Fire & Salt restaurant, which specialises in locally-sourced, dry-aged beef cooked in a custom-built charcoal oven. The meat - we recommend it medium-rare - will be carved at your table and partnered with sharing sauces and sides. And because dessert is a work of art, you needn't feel guilty about ordering that, too.

Tip: Choose from Côte de Boeuf (cut from the fore-rib) and Chateaubriand (from the centre tenderloin) to share.

Do it

Johnstown Estate is in Enfield, Co Meath. A Midweek Escape Spa Package for two costs from €279. See for more.

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