Kerry is one of my favourite parts of the world. Apart from its sporting heroes and outstanding natural beauty, it also produced our very own Editor, the lovely Andrea Kissane.
I've been in need of some head space in recent months, and so I decided to book myself a solo weekend away in The Europe Hotel, Killarney. It has long been a favourite in our family, and one of my sisters was even married there. While it wasn't new to me, I wanted to write this piece to share how amazing it is with our Beauties.
The drive down from Dublin isn't too bad at all; a little under three and a half hours, and on the motorway for most of it. But if you'd prefer, you can arrive by Irish Rail into Killarney town or via air into Kerry airport in Farrenfore. The Europe Hotel is just on the outskirts of the town and right on the road for the Ring of Kerry.
Killarney is full of pubs, restaurants, boutiques and sightseeing, such as the jarvey rides through the national park. However, on this occasion, all I was after was some down time to focus on my physical and mental well-being, and so apart from a scenic drive, I didn't venture outside the bounds of the hotel.
Upon arrival, you are greeted by that unmistakable Kerry charm and hospitality at reception. The soaring ceiling above and soft muted colour palette of the lobby, which opens onto a panoramic window looking out onto the lake and mountains beyond, make me instantly relax as I inhale the peace and tranquillity.
After a speedy check-in, complete with a refreshing hot towel to wake myself up after the drive, I am shown to my room. My luck was in that day as I had been upgraded to a stunning suite complete with entrance hall, ensuite bedroom, bathroom, huge sitting/dining room and large balcony. Most of the rooms in the hotel overlook the lake, and it really is a must in my mind if you make the journey. Even just sitting and looking out over the water, you can feel your heart lifting. I'm not sure why I feel so at home here. I've no Kerry connections as far as I'm aware but it genuinely feeds my soul every visit I make.
Most of the rooms in the hotel overlook the lake, and it really is a must in my mind if you make the journey; even just sitting and looking out over the water, you can feel your heart lifting. I'm not sure why I feel so at home here. I've no Kerry connections as far as I'm aware, but it genuinely feeds my soul every visit I make.
The hotel has a few dining options, from the more formal Panorama Restaurant to the casual Brasserie and the healthy Spa Cafe. There is also a very cosy, club-like bar and you can dine in the Lounge area. All of them are excellent, so you are spoilt for choice.
Apart from eating, drinking and thinking, my only other activity for the weekend was to visit their award winning ESPA.
I had been to the main Active Level before, which houses the main pool and the indoor/outdoor vitality pool with infinity edge overlooking the lake. It also has the unisex Thermal Suite including the usual steam, sauna and salt water pool. All hotel guests are welcome on this level, including children. However, what I was unaware of, was that the Spa level offers the same again, but this time, it's single sex and no children are allowed. For this particular trip that was ideal for me; I felt truly cosseted and cocooned in the female only area. In fact, there was only one other lady using the vitality pool at the same time and so it felt very exclusive.
The heated marble relaxation chairs were heaven for my stiff back, and looking out at the snow-capped mountains, beyond the daffodil-strewn gardens was a true amalgamation of spa and nature.
I had opted for the ESPA Advance Pro-Radiance Facial. My therapist was extremely friendly and professional, as you would expect, as she took me through the steps and decided what oils would be best for me. The facial lasted 90 minutes and included a deep cleanse with the Clarisonic brush, a brightening mask to remove dead skin cells, an age-defying and sublimely relaxing massage, finishing with a lifting and smoothing mask.
I was positively glowing afterwards and would rate it as one of the best facials I had ever had.
I was sorry to have to leave and return to reality, but without a shadow of a doubt, I will be back very soon, whether it's for more wellness time, another family celebration, or even a romantic escape. The Europe continues to impress and surprise me every time.
Jessica was a paying guest at the hotel but was a guest of the spa for the purposes of the review. You can find more information here.