The Emerald Isle is renowned for its exquisitely situated spa-meets-hotel facilities. Some are in forests, others on clifftops, and many use the local natural resources for treatment rituals and detoxes. If you’ve indulged in one Guinness too many in Dublin, or are just after a relaxing countryside getaway, here’s our expert round-up of the best spas in Ireland.
Aghadoe Heights Hotel and Spa, Co Kerry
4.7/5 (341 Reviews)
Courtesy of Aghadoe Heights Hotel and Spa / Booking.com
On a hilltop overlooking Lough Leane, Agahadoe Heights Hotel and Spa is in a truly unique location. The onsite spa harnesses the tranquility of its surroundings, using natural slate and colours resembling wild Irish flowers and grasses. The thermal suite has four different heat cabins, plus rain showers and saunas. Treatments include facial massage, reflexology and baths.
The charming Ashford Castle in County Mayo was named Ireland’s Best Hotel Spa in 2020 for the fifth year in a row by the World Spa Awards. The spa delivers with its opulent five-star treatments, personalised and balanced for every guest. Visits to the invigorating hammam and steam room can be followed by some time in the terrace area, with views over the lake. The relaxation pool, in a bronze conservatory, is renowned for its Tree of Life mural, symbolising Irish Celtic mythology.
The dramatic 23m infinity pool is the centrepiece of this spa. Coupled with a eucalyptus-infused steam room, spacious jacuzzi and gym, it’s little wonder that the Marker was named as Dublin Spa of the Year for two years running by Irish Tatler magazine. The spa exudes urban sophistication, with the dark charcoal walls creating a peaceful respite from the busy city outside.
A castle spa in County Donegal, along the sensational Wild Atlantic Way touring route, Lough Eske Castle provides a welcoming spot for some R&R. The Cara Organic Beauty Spa comprises seven treatment rooms, a thermal suite and an infinity pool. Guests can enjoy tropical experience showers and sanarium alongside their spa rituals, which include facial and body treatments.
The famous Merrion Hotel, a beautifully restored Georgian townhouse in Dublin’s city centre, is a genuine oasis of calm – beloved by celebrities and those seeking a five-star experience. The onsite spa offers innovative gold-standard and wholly restorative treatments – skincare by Biologique Recherche and Espa, hair by Ciara Newman, Milltown Physiotherapy and bespoke programmes by personal trainers are all available to the discerning guest. The treatments are accentuated by access to the exclusive pool and relaxation areas.
Ballyfin, at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains just over an hour from Dublin, is often seen as the most lavish Regency mansion in Ireland. The onsite spa is equipped for an equally lavish experience – the vitality pool includes hydro jets, air pads in the pool floor and water massage. The 14m indoor pool overlooks the courtyard garden, while guests can enjoy pedicures, facials and body treatments using the elite Pevonia skincare range.
Described as the finest small luxury five-star hotel in Ireland, Cliff House Hotel’s spa, the Well by the Sea, certainly enhances its reputation. The 15m indoor infinity pool creates a sense of unending space, as if merging with the Irish Sea. Guests can use the natural outdoor rockpool if they seek a bracing swim, though many might prefer the outdoor relaxation terrace and jacuzzi. Spa treatments are provided in serene luxury and indulgence.
The famous hotel and golf resort, Adare Manor has a cherished heritage of Irish hospitality – and the spa reflects this. A secluded place of calm with a spirit of elegance, guests will see why the spa at Adare Manor was recently awarded Spa of the Year by Irish Tatler magazine. Expert therapists use luxurious products and offer revitalising treatments using La Mer skincare products. The pool area is flooded with natural light and views over the River Maigue nearby.
In the woodlands of County Wicklow, south of Dublin and amidst the historic Powerscourt Estate, this property is the perfect spot to escape the fast pace of city life and relax. Spa rituals incorporate ESPA products and include reflexology, facials and massages. The 20m pool is illuminated with Swarovski crystal lighting, and the leisure club includes a thermal suite, sauna and serenity room. Guests can also try yoga, pilates and aqua aerobics.
At Park Hotel Kenmare, the Samas Spa concept is that taking time to relax, think and unwind is a necessity in today’s frenzied world. The 25m pool allows swimmers to achieve a full workout, and the lap pool incorporates a glass-walled sauna. Guests can relax with a customised full body massage, or a range of body polishes and facials.
The eclectic style and laid back buzz of County Mayo’s Ice House Hotel permeates the entire guest experience. The Chill Spa is no exception – the outdoor bathing therapies, overlooking the banks of the River Moy, are a real way to unwind in the open air. Guests can relax in seaweed, mud or salts baths before stepping into the sensory sanctuary of the Thermal Suite or the spa terrace and its cedar hot tubs.
These recommendations were updated on December 29, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.