Over nine years, Abi has set the standard for an entirely different way approaching the spa experience. She has made it more accessible and since 2008 has dedicated her career to tailoring spa days and breaks to individual consumer requirements, highlighting their unique breadth of offerings.
With a trusted team of experts at her side, her work isn’t simply about giving spas a listing on the Spabreaks.com website, but working with them to design spa packages that appeal, based on decades of combined experience and ear to the ground analytics, and for Abi, Ireland is the spa gem that’s only just beginning to show what it has to offer.
“It’s a treasure trove of wellness, hospitality and incredibly high standards…”
Having visited and been blown away by the standard and range of experiences available, in 2014, Abi set out to create a specialised department within the Spabreaks.com team to promote the Irish spa market. “I want people to know about it,” she says, “it’s a treasure trove of wellness, hospitality and incredibly high standards, and we have had wonderful feedback from everyone who has been.”
Since then her intuition about the appeal of Ireland’s spa market has been proven with sales of spa breaks growing by over 100% year on year. Adopting a policy of sustainable growth, we now have over 50 spas across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland on our site, and have sent over 5,000 clients on spa days and breaks in Ireland and have the support of key industry influencers such as Tourism Ireland and Failte Ireland. We also sponsored the Irish Hotel Awards in March 2017.
So what is it that makes it so special?
If variety is the spice of life, it’s definitely the beating heart of the spa industry. Just as no two people are the same, neither are their requirements when going on a spa break, and from city spas like No.1 Pery Square, to country escapes including the Farnham Estate, Ireland’s array of options both in terms of venue types and packages is vast. Family friendly spa breaks and romantic spa breaks, hen parties and stag dos, health retreats and solo travellers have all found the right setting for their travel requirements with so much satisfaction that they also return.
The quality of therapist knowledge at many of Ireland’s spas is really outstanding, and of course, this is very much at the core of the spa experience. Whether offering spa treatments to anyone recovering from cancer, or expert health and fitness knowledge, therapists and wider wellbeing staff at Ireland’s spa venues showcase a wealth of knowledge that guests can really benefit from. For example, Jack at Galgorm Resort has a deep knowledge of wellbeing that informs their unique Celtic Sauna Ritual, while Grain Furey, who won 2016’s Irish Tatler Award for Best Therapist has a fantastic, multidisciplinary approach to holistic wellbeing that has a profound impact on her clients.
If you have not yet been to Ireland then you are in for the most wonderful surprise when you see the locations that their spas reside in. If you have been, or if you live there, you will know what a magical place it is. There are those spa destinations and hotels that have history dating back hundreds of years, there are the surrounding attractions that herald the Emerald Isle’s inextricable links with myth and legend, the restaurants that serve home grown produce in their carefully crafted gardens, mountains views, lakes and dramatic coasts that can’t help but impact your sense of wellbeing while you’re here. Kilronan Castle overlooking Lough Meelagh, Brandon House a stone’s throw away from River Barrow or Powerscourt Hotel in an estate that boasts Ireland’s tallest waterfall.
Alongside a wealth of historic locations, Ireland has really embraced the expertise of modern knowledge and has a number of purpose built venues that really take the experience to another level. The Europe for example, with its views of Lough Lein and the McGillycuddy Reeks Mountain, was specially designed by ESPA, leaving no stone unturned when it comes to a well considered spa journey.