We received word that the spa at The Heritage Killenard in Co. Laois had undergone significant investment over the past year and is now looking its very best. With fourteen dedicated treatment rooms including a Pedi Spa, Mud Chambers, Hamam and dedicated couples treatment room, it was begging us to take a peek.
My first surprise (as an ignorant Dub!) was how close it was to Dublin city centre. It was less than an hour's drive to get there and only 15 minutes away from the always popular Kildare Village Outlet (ideally placed for afternoon tea post shopping if I may say so).
As part of the relaunch of the spa, they've introduced new product lines and treatments, a dedicated Day Spa Brochure and they've opened The Beauty Suite, a separate purpose built beauty salon.
My first, and last, impression was how friendly and welcoming the staff are. From the warm smiles at reception right through to the very attentive spa assistant who at one point kindly popped into the sauna to pass me a neat bundle of ice to use as a compress on my muscles; something that I hadn't seen before.
The experience begins in the spacious changing rooms which feel very luxurious. There is a lot of attention to detail here, from the deep pile carpet to the panelled lockers and high spec shower area.
Then it was off to the main spa area where I easily whiled away an hour, wandering between the heat, cooling and hydro experiences, all spread out over 7,000 sq ft. My personal favourites were the Rustic Sauna Cabin and the Hydro Pool with its soothing massage jets and its soaring glass ceiling above with cascading greenery. The whole area was well laid out in a circular shape with a bespoke pedicure/foot massage at its heart. It also had some nice touches such as glossy magazines to hand, fruit and herb infused cool water and the ever vigilant assistant as previously mentioned.
The whole area was well laid out in a circular shape with a bespoke pedicure/foot massage at its heart. It also had some nice touches such as glossy magazines, fruit and herb infused cool water and the ever vigilant assistant as previously mentioned.
When I could take no more relaxing, I headed upstairs to the dimly lit, cocoon-like relaxation area, where I wrapped myself in the cosy blankets, had an herbal tea and then nodded off for a few minutes (I had a very early start that day).
My lovely therapist came in to greet me and escort me to the treatment room area where I was to experience their 'hero treatment', a signature ESPA Back, Face & Scalp Treatment. It just so happens that I am going through a rough time in my personal life at the moment and on that particular day, it was all still very raw. To my eternal shame, I began to cry when talking through what my treatment should focus on. My therapist was wonderful and made me feel completely at ease. She also explained when choosing her essential oils that we should aim to use the comforting and uplifting blends rather than the deep relax blends, which wouldn't be recommended for someone already feeling quite low.
I tend to shy away from full body massages as I don't like my legs and feet being targeted, so this treatment was ideal for me. It focused on my intensely knotted shoulders (a combination of stress and weight training); it gave my face some TLC (and I passed the dreaded blue light test!) and for the first time in weeks, it made me fully relax and feel calm.
I floated back to the changing room, dreading heading back to the real world. And the icing on the cake? When my wonderful therapist popped down to the changing room to give me a hug and wish me all the best and give me a gift of some of the uplifting oils that we had been using during the treatment. It's that type of attention to customer care that made this spa stand out to me above many others. It's also a great example of the true Irish hospitality that has somewhat gone by the wayside in some establishments.
All I can say is bravo to the team there on creating not only a lovely space but also on cultivating such a professional and friendly team. I would be happy to highly recommend a visit and as Arnie would say, 'I will be back'.
Jessica was a guest of The Heritage Killenard Spa; more details can be found on their website.