As with so many places, pictures don’t do it justice because so much of its magic is in the attention to detail – the little things that the team do in order to make guests feel special and appreciated.
A 74 bedroomed property with a very personal feel to it, Aghadoe Heights provides a very warm welcome and they really concentrate on who’s there. The result is that they know the likes and dislikes of each guest, whether the barman knows that you are the one who likes a little extra tabasco in your bloody mary or whether someone prefers feather pillows to foam.
An award winner at this year’s Irish Tatler Spa Awards, the spa is continually winning accolades. The Irish Tatler Awards are like the Oscars of the spa world and we have won something every year. The guests that love the spa are the ones who want to escape somewhere quiet, maybe with a book. It’s tranquil, there’s lots of nooks and crannies, lots of lovely little areas to sit in.
That said, it’s also 10,000 square feet in size, it’s just that it’s all broken up and designed with psychology in mind, so there are lots of curved edges rather than sharp walls – it’s about the little things that create the sense of peace. There’s water flowing through the centre of the spa and lots of wood throughout to tie the outside in with the environment outside – the oldest woods in Ireland, lots of slate which comes from the mountains, the water feature to represent the lakes. When it all comes together it works so well.
The thermal suite journey is recommended to use for an hour before treatment. You move from cabin to cabin and each has a plaque on the wall recommending the amount of time to spend in there. It helps to release lactic acid to help muscle relaxation before your spa treatment. There are also eight heated sun loungers which are the same design as those used by NASA for astronauts – the angle distributes your weight evenly so your body melts into them and no one part is carrying the weight.
Surrounded by natural Irish beauty, you’re already in a better mindset when you arrive. There’s a wide variety of treatments available and they are targeted in their purpose, so there are those targeting insomnia, golfers and Recovery Retreats for anyone with cancer.
The prenatal treatment is particularly special. It’s a hydro treatment that is almost on giant hot water bottles, kept at an even body temperature so you don’t overheat. You lie on your back so it’s like being on a waterbed. Therapists oil their hands up so heavily with oil that they slip between you and the pads, so they’re essentially massaging you backwards and it’s incredibly relaxing.