Help your nearest and dearest to recharge with the spa lover’s instalment of our festive gift guide series. Whether they’ve had a stressful 2014, deserve some pampering or are just at their happiest when reclining in a fluffy robe, spoil them with a homegrown, seasonal spa break.
1. Slane’s not all about castles and music, you know – the gorgeous Georgian estate of Tankardstown House has just been named Georgina Campbell’s Country House of the Year for 2015. Their ‘Toasty Toes’ midweek winter retreat, from €160 per person sharing, includes bed and breakfast, a pedicure in The Hideout treatment room and an indulgent seven course tasting menu. www.tankardstown.ie.
2. Indulge their inner aristocrat with an overnight visit to the five-star Castlemartyr Resort in Cork. The hotel itself – an 18th century manor house – shares the grounds with an 800 year old castle, built by the Knights Templar. Try to coax them away from the bright and spacious spa – at least long enough to stroll the grounds with the hotel’s resident Irish setters, or to cosy up beside the fire in the Knight’s Bar. Throughout December, one night’s accommodation, breakfast in the Bell Tower restaurant and a 3 course dinner in Franchini’s restaurant, along with spa access and a 30 minute ESPA treatment, is from €310 per room. www.castlemartyrresort.ie
3. Slick and stylish, The Twelve in Galway offers a modern boutique hotel experience with an excellent restaurant and a full range of treatments at the intimate La Petit Spa. Head down before Christmas to check out the Galway Christmas Markets, with two nights B&B, complimentary transport to the markets on one evening, dinner in Pins bar and bistro on the other and lots of added festive treats in between, like homemade cookies and hot chocolate; from €130 pp sharing. www.thetwelvehotel.ie
4. Waterford’s Faithlegg House Hotel has a classic, timeless feel, with open fires and antique furniture creating a relaxed and cosy atmosphere that extends to the Estuary Spa. Their seasonal offer includes a night’s bed and breakfast with dinner in the award-winning Roseville Rooms restaurant, plus one 60 minute treatment (including facial, massage and reflexology) and one round of golf per couple. €125 per person sharing; www.faithlegg.com
5. Feeling guilty for leaving the kids behind? They’re guaranteed a friendly welcome at Knockranny House Hotel & Spa in Westport, where a family package comes with entry to the 18th century Westport House Winter Wonderland experience. The wee ones can enjoy storytelling, carol singing and Santa’s workshop, while parents kick back with a warming mulled wine. Dinner in La Fougere restaurant and breakfast the next morning are included in the package, with prices starting at €99 per adult sharing. www.knockrannyhousehotel.ie
Emma Henderson @fluffyblog