Ireland’s Only Destination Spa Hotel - Monart Spa
Updated: Aug 29, 2019
Many Irish hotels have spas but there is only one destination Spa hotel in Ireland, and it's Monart.
First Impressions to end all first impressions
First things first: Monart Spa is faaaaancy. I'm saying that in my parody American accent, so we're clear – it's that kind of faaaaaancy. You've to buzz to get in the front gates, which sets out its stall pretty early – this is an exclusive spa experience, and not your average hotel-with-hydrotherapy-pool-attached.
We're instructed to pull up at the front door, where a valet absolutely will not hear of us carrying our own suitcase, and even takes our car off to the car park for us. Fair play to Monart for that; there's something really nice about the avenue and the view of the main house, unobstructed by vehicles.
Check-in time at Monart Spa is from 3pm, and although we're told to arrive any time from 12pm – from which point we can have use of the spa while we wait for our room to be ready – we arrive a little after 4pm, and quickly head upstairs to change into our robes.
The spa is on the first floor, accessed via a corridor from our bedroom, so we don't need to go via reception – although it wouldn't matter; throughout our stay, there are robed guests everywhere, with the noteworthy exception of the restaurant at dinner time. Every other area, at all points of the day, is full of people in robes.
After the relaxation room, we spend an hour or so wandering between rooms in the spa – we try the steam room, the sauna, the infra-red therapy room, the caldarium and the hydrotherapy pool - it’s bliss.
Just when we thought we had reached maximum relaxation, we're escorted into a dark room, where we proceed to enjoy a gorgeous, muscle melting, couples massage. After the awe-inspiring massage came the luxurious facial that left my face feeling clean & fresh while leaving behind an enjoyable post spa glow.
The other aspects of the Monart experience
Taking in a short walk around the grounds, it’s clear they’re really beautiful and so well manicured. It's that kind of moneyed thing of incredible attention to detail while still giving the impression of very natural surroundings. You get the impression that there is no tree that hasn't been carefully planted, no water feature that hasn't been pointed in the right direction – and yet it all feels serene and unfussy.
We also enjoyed a really great meal at Monart Spa, in the restaurant which, for dinner – we're told – is "smart casual". Dinner jackets aren't required for men (which is just as well), but robes are out, and I'm surprised by just how dressed up people get for dinner in a hotel.
We start with an amuse bouche of seafood chowder, which is creamy and delicious and, due to its teeny size, incredibly moreish. Next up, I choose wood pigeon – delish – and my main course is salmon, served with sweet potato, veg and some kind of amazing sauce. It's very good. Dessert is a carmel type fondant that is kind of middle-of-the-road, but elevated by a very nice Prosecco sorbet and some delectable vanilla ice cream crumble.
At breakfast the following morning, we enjoyed a gorgeous meal that set us up for laying about the place for the rest of the day. We only spent two nights at Monart, but we came home as relaxed as if we'd been away for weeks.