From the moment you cross the threshold of Monart’s Georgian house, into its glass-covered walkway to where the spa lies beyond, your blood pressure plummets. All aromatherapy-scented air and guests padding around softly in slippers and fluffy white robes, it’s a heritage-meets-contemporary cathedral to rest and relaxation. Its 48 hectares of lush, private parkland – including novelty duck pond – only add to the sense of wellbeing.
Cocoon-like, sculptural corridors with soothing, clever lighting and wafts of aromatherapy scents lead to spacious rooms. Ours was a dual aspect, with a wrap-around balcony, and a huge, cloud-soft bed.
They’re the perfect prelude to spa facilities that are second to none. It’s an adults-only utopia of thermal suites, “experience” showers, gym equipment, relaxation and treatment rooms. The thermal suite is at its centre and boasts more steam rooms and saunas than you can shake a birch bundle. Thankfully there’s a recommended circuit on the wall advising which treatment to have, and when, and for how long – not that you’ll remember to watch the clock.
I kicked off my 90-minute programme with a gasp-inducing pebble pool, an ice-cold shallow walkway to help stimulate the circulation and massage the soles of the feet. Elsewhere, I loved the caldarium and sanarium – bone-warmingly welcome in autumn and winter, while the outdoor sauna doubles up as a cosy bird-spotting hut. Also impressive was the Infrared Pro-Cabin – a bespoke, 20-minute heat therapy for tense backs and shoulders, whose six sensors tailor treatment to the individual’s body type and temperature. My VOYA facial, too, was at once reviving.
I was concerned that my other half might get bored here – spa mini-breaks don’t usually figure high on a man’s to-do list. However, in the ultimate compliment, he said: “I went back to work on the Monday feeling so much less stressed than I normally do.” Result! Also, there’s something undeniably decadent about sipping a dirty martini at the bar while wearing a fluffy dressing gown before a treatment (don’t judge me). According to a barman in the Garden Lounge, more than 70 percent of Monart’s guests are repeat customers. I’m not surprised. Before you even leave the car park, you’ll be mooting dates when to return.
During the Shaolin Experience at the adult-only Monart Destination Spa guests can enjoy two nights accommodation with breakfast on each morning and dinner at the renowned restaurant on one evening plus an hour long Shaolin Warrior Massage and access to all of the Shaolin classes including Meditation, Qi-gong and Tai Chi. Complete unrestricted access to the 2,000 square foot luxury thermal suite and relaxation areas in also included; from €309pps mid-week and €379pps during weekends until December 12th, 2016. For further details see www.monart.ie