If there's one small positive to come out of the whole horrible economy crashing down in an untidy heap business, it's that salons and spas are falling over themselves with great offers recently. So if you do happen to have a few spare quid to chuck about, now is a great time to treat yourself.
Here are two deals I thought were particularly note-worthy this week - I've been in both of these spas and would very happily go back for more lovely - and cheap! - pampering.
Espa at the Europe
Located outside Ireland's spa capital, Killarney, the five star Europe hotel was renovated last year and is just stunning. Understated, elegant and incredibly comfortable, it has the most relaxing views over the lakes. And I haven't even told you about the spa yet (above). Amazing, people, amazing: 16 treatment rooms, male and female thermal suites, a private suite (bigger than my flat), a gym, Pilates and Tai Chi studio, relaxation rooms with lake views, an indoor infinity pool (you can swim from inside to an outdoor one) and three outdoor pools as well as a Spa café with fab food.
Espa is the product of choice here and right now you can take advantage of the Girls’ Day Spa Package, €225, a full day of treatments, relaxation and yum food-snaffling. Start with an in depth consultation and skin analysis followed by a facial or an aromatherapy massage, with a mani and pedi (Leighton Denny is the product of choice) with massage using an oil specially selected for your needs being the next treat on offer. After that it's off for lunch, and then you can laze about in the thermal suite, relaxation areas and pools, and once all that's out of the way, finish with a Cosmopolitan cocktail (what else?).
Does it represent a saving on their regular prices? Yes, it seems so - Espa signature facials are from €115, aromatherapy massage starts at €115, a mani is €40 and a pedi €60. Plus lunch? Uhuh, not bad. Going on a hen weekend? Bingo, so - the offer is on-going until 30th March 2009.
Mandala at the La Stampa Hotel
I'd never been in the Mandala Spa on Dawson Street (above) until just before Christmas and it's a little city gem. While nothing in Dublin can compete with the sheer scale of spas in out of town locations - real estate being on the hideously expensive side in the city - this bijoux day spa still manages to combine a bit of eastern magic with relaxation, lovely products and a full treatment menu.
Right now they have a good offer on: The Monthly Maintenance special is designed to take care of all those essential beauty jobs and includes a Sundari mini facial, eyebrow threading, a half leg and bikini wax plus a mini manicure. You'll be preened and pruned for an hour and 45 minutes and here's the best bit: the damage for that little lot only comes to €140. Not bad, I think you'll agree, considering a full-length Sundari facial here costs from €120.