WHEN it comes to staycations, I always seem to veer west. This time, however, I decided to venture south to the Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa.
Situated 4.5km from the town of Clonakilty in West Cork, the drive to Inchydoney from Dublin is relatively painless. But the fun really starts when you get to the meandering road which hugs the sea, leading to the hotel. The scenery is spectacular, and makes for a fitting precursor to the hotel itself.
Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa was voted Ireland's Leading Resort last year at the Irish Hospitality Awards and it's not hard to see why.
A warm welcome awaited us in the hotel itself and our room was large, bright and extremely comfortable, with fantastic views of the fabulous beach and the Atlantic.
The facilities are top class. There is a therapy pool into which sea water is pumped daily from the ocean and heated to 32C. There are various jets and waterfalls in the pool that target different parts of your body, relieving tension and allowing the pores of the skin to expand and the body to absorb the goodness of the seawater.
There is a fantastic array of treatments available, and you feel relaxed and at ease from the second you walk through the spa door.
The spa, which uses Elemis and Les Luneides Paris products, is a haven. Men and women are equally catered for, so the menfolk needn't be scared.
I went for the Island Spa Tropical Ritual, which was bliss. It starts off with a vanilla and coconut body polish, which removes dead skin cells and helps boost cellular renewal.
This is followed with a coconut ocean float envelopment, which hydrates and nourishes your skin, and a massage that uses a blend of jasmine and vanilla completed the experience.
I was left with silky soft skin and feeling so relaxed that I simply didn't want to get off the therapist's bed.
But if you don't have any interest in the treatments on offer, the other amenities in Inchydoney are also fantastic.
We dined in the Gulfstream Restaurant, where head chef Adam Medcalf has definitely made his mark. The dining room overlooks the Atlantic and the food was of a fantastic standard.
Breakfast was a treat, with everything from homemade pancakes to the famous Clonakilty black pudding on offer.
There is a large, comfortable residents' lounge with sumptuous sofas that invite you to sink into them after your tough day of being pampered. We sipped after- dinner drinks and played chess late into the night.
Inchydoney Spa welcomes singles, couples and families and they make it feel like it's just perfect for you. And chances are, it is.
A variety of tempting packages are currently on offer, including a two-night spa experience package that is made up of one night's dinner and two seawater treatments and unrestricted access to the heated sea water therapy pool for €325pp.
Clonakilty, West Cork, Ireland. Call 023 8833143, www.inchydoneyisland.com