The results are in. From the most lavish spa retreats to leading treatments and innovation, we bring you the winners of the IRISH TATLER SPA AWARDS 2015
Irish Tatler Overall Spa of the Year - Monart Spa
bath at MONART Spa
Reaching and maintaining the tremendous standards of excellence that Monart does, firmly places this destination resort as Ireland’s best spa for the second year running. “Everything from design and service to ambience is conducive to the feeling of being cocooned in an oasis of calm,” said our judge. For this reason, it continues to attract and train some of the best therapists from Ireland and abroad, as well as visiting skincare and fitness experts. The team continues to innovate both by adding to the spa itself, as well as to the treatment list. This year saw the addition of a new salt grotto to the 2,500 square foot thermal suite, which features a newly developed innovative microparticle aerosol salt system, a panacea for respiratory problems. While recently, Monart also introduced the incredible first Age Reversal Facial by Pevonia, an advanced technology facial treatment using plant-cell technology to stimulate the reversal of the signs of ageing. There is no doubt that Monart continues to set the gold standard for spa experience in Ireland.
Irish Tatler Resort Spa of the Year - The Spa at Galgorm
From the offset it’s clear a spa experience at The Spa at Galgorm is like no other. And if the sheer size and luxury of its sleek setting doesn’t impress, the unwavering attention to detail in every aspect of your spa experience will. This year our judges were particularly impressed with the continued high standard in the resort, which exceeds expectations across the categories. From therapist expertise, to innovation showed throughout the treatments on offer, to the array of quality products used – including cult favourites Eve Lom and Aromatherapy Associates – it has proved itself the deserved winner of the Resort Spa of the Year award. Exciting things are to come later this year, in the guise of an all-new outdoor thermal spa village, opening in September, the first of its kind in the country.
Irish Tatler Boutique Spa of the Year - The Dawson Spa
'Heavenly' was the word used by our judge who visited the Dawson Spa. Hidden within the hotel, follow the candlelit walkway to the haven that is this city-centre gem. Experience a feeling of calmness and serenity on entering as noise, traffic and interruptions are forgotten at the door – a welcome contrast to the frantic pace of Grafton Street, just metres away. Expect treatments that reflect a more holistic approach to spa therapies, easing the mind as well as the body – the Dawson Warm Heart Cocoon Treatment is the perfect example of this. Should you require beauty maintenance everything from manicures to threading and tinting is also on offer.
Irish Tatler Hotel Spa of the Year - Oasis Spa at Lyrath Estate
Great customer service is at the heart of the Lyrath ethos. Set on a 170-acre estate, the spa and thermal suite enjoy panoramic views that make this a getaway like no other. The jewel in the crown is undoubtedly the 17-metre outdoor infinity pool, but one must indulge in a visit to the hot tub – technically set indoors, however as it opens up on to the grounds at one side, it is a truly special experience. The treatment list is filled with carefully selected therapies from Elemis and Kerstin Florian which are based on natural resources which work in synergy with the mind and body. In particular, our judge felt the stand out treatment – the Oasis Skin Signature Facial, a skin illuminating facial and designed by Kerstin Florian – deserved a particular mention as it is exclusive to Oasis Spa.
Irish Tatler Best Body Treatment - Lava Shell Relax Body Massage at Spa & Wellness at the Marker
They say the time to relax is when you don’t have time for it, but if there’s one treatment you should make time for it’s the Lava Shell Relax Body Massage at Spa & Wellness at The Marker. Lava shells or Tiger Clam shells come all the way from the shores of the Philippines and are considered the new hot stones in muscle warming therapy. The world’s first self-heating massage tool, these shells can generate heat for over an hour and induce deep relaxation whilst easing muscle and joint pain, allowing for deep tissue work on the feet, legs, back and shoulders. As well as the body, it eases the mind, as stress points are targeted and energy flow unblocked releasing a sense of wellbeing. All of this can be enjoyed in the relaxing surrounds of one of Dublin city’s best spas.
Irish Tatler Best Facial - Sisley Supremya Ultimate Anti-Ageing Facial at SÁMAS at Park Hotel Kenmare
Described by our judge as “the best facial I have ever experienced”, this treatment is like three luxurious treatments in one, so it’s well worth the spend. It comprises a hot stone lymphatic massage to aid the detoxifying process, reflexology and a bespoke facial, tailored to your own specific needs and married with a specific muscle lifting massage, unique to Sisley that plumps and re-contours the face. This is an exceptional facial and head therapist Valene Randles is educated in advanced massage techniques and deep tissue, so clients are guaranteed an incredibly thorough treatment and great results. The expertise and treatment were of the highest possible standard and well deserving of first place title.
Irish Tatler Best Specialised Treatment - Expectant Hydrotherm Massage at the Spa at Aghadoe Heights
An amazing treatment that is designed for maximum comfort when expecting (available from 16 weeks). Warm, water-filled cushions cradle your body, easing strain on muscles, while the therapist reaches between the back and the cushions to carry out the massage on stressed areas. This massage is beneficial throughout pregnancy as it aids the relief of lower back discomfort, supports ligament changes, eases water retention, improves circulation and helps speed the healing process as well as offering the relaxing benefits of destressing touches like scalp massage. Our (very pregnant) judge described the treatment as “unusual, thoroughly enjoyable and extremely comfortable”.
Irish Tatler Best Service Award - Island Spa at Incheydoney Island Lodge & Spa
The definition of good service can vary from person to person, but when a spa wins the Best Service award for the second year in a row, it’s clear that they’re offering something special. From the moment she arrived, our judge found the service at Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa to be exceptional. Friendly, professional, knowledgable and discreet, staff consistently went above and beyond in the name of service. “What Inchydoney lacks in space it makes up for in service, from the moment I arrived the staff could not do enough to make me feel at home, something I observed them also do with every other guest in the hotel. The welcome drink on arrival and complimentary pot of homemade jam on departure was a surprising treat, and reminded me that good service does not need to be excessive to be memorable, it needs to be sincere.”
Irish Tatler Best Therapist - Mona Klofver Conway at The K Spa at The K Club Hotel Spa and Country Club
With 30 years’ experience as a spa therapist, Mona is also specially trained in bio-dynamic craniosacral therapy. But what makes Mona truly special is her cheery attitude which instantly puts you at ease, as she welcomes you to the spa as if she were welcoming you to her home. She has the rare talent, whereby she can impart her extensive knowledge and sage skin (and even dietary) advice while keeping up a fun, natural flow to conversation that still allows the client to take the lead. Mona has the touch of someone with years of experience – confident in her technique, her comfort in her role makes you feel completely at ease, which is why her services have a cult following at The K Spa.
Irish Tatler Innovation Award - Killashee Spa at Killashee House Hotel
This has been an exciting year for Killashee Spa with the opening of a stateof- the-art hydrotherapy suite in January. This suite offers guests a spacious hydrotherapy pool with powerful jets that massage the body at specific points to ease muscles or just enjoy the fibre-optic-lit steam room and large spacious pool deck to lounge and relax prior to their treatments. This is a great addition to Killashee Spa but so too have been new treatments on the spa menu such the Milk and Honey Thermal Trilogy a gentle, effective treatment that uses ingredients such as nectarine, honey blossom and milk and which can be enjoyed by many different skin types even if pregnant.
Irish Tatler Best Package - Samizen at Salveo, Knockranny House Hotel & Spa
An amazingly luxurious Kerstin Florian treatment that is also excellent value for money. It starts with a full body brush followed by a scrub using Turkish salts (a cult-favourite exfoliating product with locals for its skin-softening properties). This is followed by a relaxing 10-minute private jacuzzi bath in camomile oil, followed by a full body hot stone massage which uses a combination of hot stones and hand massage, finished with a mini facial and a divine scalp massage. “I was glowing from head to toe and felt divinely relaxed,” said our judge. “And I did a double take when I saw the cost afterwards – a steal.”
Irish Tatler People's Choice - The Spa at Galgorm, Galgorm Resort & Spa
Perhaps the most sought after award of all, Irish Tatler readers voted in their thousands for their favourite spas countrywide. And this year The Spa at Galgorm at the four-star Galgorm Resort & Spa swept the boards in the People’s Choice category. Ensconced in idyllic grounds along the River Maine in Ballymena, Antrim the spa boasts a top-notch location, thirty minutes from Belfast. The au naturel interior, which is comprised of natural wood, locally-sourced stone and a palette of relaxing colours, sets the scene for a truly serene experience. While the extensive spa facilities include an infinity hydrotherapy pool, an outdoor hot tub and jacuzzi, Laconium, sauna and ergonimically-designed relaxation loungers. To boot, the spa boasts the decadent Paris Suite, a specially designed treatment room for couples that offers side-by-side relaxation taken with strawberries and Champagne.