Evening Herald - December 2008

Weekend Retreat

Luxury Level?

Situated near Aughrim, BrookLodge’s luxury is not in question. What’s more charming about it though, is that it’s unshowy and subtle. From the moment you walk into its tiled reception with sweeping staircases, you’re aware of plushness but it’s rustic and understated – right down to the friendly dogs you’ll find in reception.

Dazzling or Dull?

From standard to superior, the rooms are stunning. The two-floored suite we stayed in was nothing short of plush. Minimally decorated to a high standard, the ground floor consisted of a spacious bathroom, walk-in wardrobe, comfortable lounge, flat-screen television and internet access. Upstairs, a freestanding bath sits in the corner of the bedroom. The grounds are compact and The Store Rooms shop sells everything from organic skincare to wine.

Food – Fattening or Fresh?

There’s certainly something for everyone. Macreddin village offers a self-contained range of food options to suit all tastes. Whether you fancy dressing up or keeping casual, there’s plenty of choice. The more formal Strawberry Tree is Ireland’s only certified organic restaurant. Everything on the menu is either wild or organic and, where possible is sourced from local suppliers. Next door is La Taverna Armento, a friend-family Italian restaurant that offers four courses: starter pasta (I can highly recommend the butternut squash panzerotti), pizza and dessert with tea/coffee for a wallet-friendly €30 per person. Post-food, stop by the lush Waterside Lounge or slip into Actons Pub.

Pamper Factor:

The room service breakfast is hard to beat. Everything, from the juice to the rashers, is organic and the brown bread is some of the best you’ll ever taste. The staff at the Wells Spa is highly trained and friendly and whatever treatment you opt for, it’s difficult not to feel pampered.

For the boys…

Apart from the pool, there is a 160-acre golf course to offload your men folk while you de-stress at the Wells Spa. There is a nearby equestrian centre that offers horse-riding treks for experienced riders or lessons for beginners.

Staff:

From receptions to the restaurant waiters, everyone was extremely pleasant and helpful.

Treatments on offer:

There is a huge range of treatments on offer including Serail mud bath and hammam body exfoliation (for two people!), flotation therapy and a hot stone back massage. The Wells Spa also offers a range of facials, and the Decleor signature facial is incredibly relaxing – it made this tired mammy’s face glow for about four days afterwards. Anyone availing of the bigger treatments or packages can opt for a post treatment swim, use the Jacuzzi and the heated lounger’s poolside.

Prices:

For price details and reservations, contact The BrookLodge Hotel at Macreddin Village, Aughrim, Co.Wicklow on 0402 36444 or visit www.brooklodge.com.

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- Sinead Gleeson.