If it's restorative views and rejuvenating treatments you're after, we recently paid a visit to the Ice House Hotel in Ballina and were just a teeny bit appalled (at ourselves) that this was our first time to discover such a perfectly accessible gem. The minute you set foot in your lake-view room, the stress of whatever's ailing you will evaporate before you've even had a chance to set down your suitcase.
Tucked away just a few minutes drive outside of Ballina town, we endured a newfound jealousy for those who live nearby; the hotel and its surrounding vista are postcard-worthy fodder (or Instagram, if you can't remember the last time you actually sent a postcard).
Desperate for a weekend of R&R, the first evening was spent in the complimentary robes, sipping on bubbly as the sun set over the quay of the River Moy. The deepest of sleep swiftly followed. The following morning, after an incredible hotel breakfast - like, the reason it's possible to drag yourself out of the insanely large and comfy beds - it was time to get settled down for a day at the spa.
Quite frankly, you'd easily spend several hours sitting in the amazing outdoor hot tubs that overlook the quay and all of the boats leisurely passing by - lest we forget the cutest little outdoor sauna too; it feels as though you're inside a giant beer keg - but if you're anything like us, you'll have majorly started to wrinkle after your first hour. It's hard to get out but the treatments that await are so worth it.
If you're venturing down here with your fella, there's no need to leave him within arms reach of the telly while you go off to have the massage of your dreams; they offer a wonderful mix of male-oriented treatments that even the most reluctant of men would die for. While I forgot where I was, and possibly even my own name, during the Voya Bespoke Body Banquet, my better half treated himself to the hot towel shave with mini facial combo.
As an avid spa-goer, it really doesn't get much better than Voya and this particular treatment had all of the bells and whistles: a full body exfoliation, hot stone massage (once you go hot stone you'll never go back) and the most relaxing facial I've ever experienced. Worth every single penny and something I urge you to enjoy at least once a year; it'll knock your stress levels for dead.
Top picks for her
VOYA Bespoke Body Banquet 90 mins - A full body exfoliation with VOYA organic seaweed sugar glow, a relaxing hot stone back and neck massage with VOYA organic seaweed essential oils, ending with a mini VOYA facial.
Top picks for him
Hot Towel Shave 45 mins A traditional wet shave with hot towels and face massage, one of the most relaxing experiences known to man! Using an open razor with a new blade for each shave, hygiene and comfort are assured. Add a Mini Facial for just €29.
For us, it was all about the ultimate in relaxation but if you'd like to mix it up with some tourist activity, there are a wealth of options around you. The hotel is a stone's throw from the stunning dunes and beach at Enniscrone, a renowned surfers' paradise, and the pretty coastal village of Easkey is nearby too. You're also super close the Ox and Nephin mountain ranges, for both of which you'll find plenty of trails and hikes. And for us, no trip to Ballina is complete without a stop-off at Foxford, home of the famous Foxford Woollen Mills where we guarantee you'll want to re-mortgage your home to buy everything in sight.
Excellent food, dreamlike treatments, and a view that you'll throw a tantrum about having to leave behind, Ballina's Ice House Hotel has it all.
A photo posted by Ice House (@icehousemayo) on
Caroline was a guest of the Ice House Hotel. For more, see icehousehotel.ie.