As Autumn draws in, I cannot think of anything more relaxing than leaving the office early on a Friday evening to escape to the Park Hotel Kenmare. Catching the 5 o’clock train from Heuston station, I leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind as the train passes through fields and farmlands, reaching its final destination as the night draws in. A friend who regularly joins me, hits the nail on the head when she describes the hotel as having ‘gracious hospitality’. The staff are warm and welcoming and with log fires and an oldy-worldy interior, the hotel feels as refined as an elegant old lady. After checking in and with my travel bags brought to the room, I bid an early good night and settle into my cosy bed listening to late night arias on Lyric FM. I awaken to a bright crisp morning as the mist slowly clears over the bay and the vibrant hues of the season become visible. The Samas Spa takes full advantage of its natural environment and overlooks woodlands that slope down to the waters edge. My mid morning appointment allow me a slow start to the day and after a leisurely breakfast in bed followed by some gentle stretching, I make my way down to the Spa in my fluffy bathrobe.
My treatment starts in the Thermal Suite where I take my time moving between the warming Lanconium salon, the purifying Steam room and the refreshing Tropical shower, all of which are soothing to the skin. The bulk of my time is then spent in the Vitality pool which extends into the forest with a combination of jet streams and water spouts. With exclusive use of the pool, I glide back and forth like a woodland nymph soaking in the bird song and the natural beauty under dappled light from the overhead canopies. This is bathing on a different level, and is truly an assault on the senses as much as a water treatment for tired sore muscles. My pampering continues with a Deluxe Facial using my favourite Sisley products. The treatment focuses not only on my face but also on my head and neck in equal measure and I find myself drifting off into a state of bliss. The final hour is spent recharging in the Tranquility Suite in a comfortable recliner overlooking the verdant woods outside. I am offered a cooling refreshment of ginger ale with a dash of lime as well as a small pot of lemon sorbet. Lying back under soft Irish woolen blankets and with a choice of relaxing music, I am left undisturbed to unwind and let go.
Ambling back to my room, I am joined by my friend for a long awaited catch up and with an pre dinner cocktails sent up to the room, we are able to get ready for the evening in our own time. The hotel has arranged a table for us at a local seafood restaurant and later as we make our way down the dark driveway in coats and scarves, there is a smell of turf fires in the air and the unmistakable feel of cooler nights drawing in.
[Park Hotel Kenmare, Shelbourne Street, Kenmare, Co Kerry]