I’m all about the idea of a ‘spa break’ and the images of luxury and relaxation the words conjure up.
But when it comes to the actual act of ‘spa-ing’, I’m very… Irish.
(For context, I didn’t take my bra off for a spray tan for my debs, despite having bought a backless debs dress.)
I’m vaguely uncomfortable padding around a hotel lobby in my dressing gown, and the idea of a full body massage elicits a small stomach flip.
Now I’m a great woman for a facial, and I’ll sit in a hot tub with a view all day, so I’m not a moany spa companion, just a dubious one.
Well, one visit to the 5 star Fota Island Resort unearthed my inner spa goddess, and I’ll never look back.
(There’s a reason we recently included it in our 10 Irish Spas You Need To Visit list)
Fota is a place that manages to make you feel special without feeling intimidated – that perfect balance of comfortable decadence.
Nestled in the heart of the peaceful island with gorgeous scenery and stunning surroundings located on an estate of 780 acres, the resort offers guests a true haven of secluded countryside charm while still being close to the hustle and bustle of Cork city.
The breakfast buffet is a hive of activity, with families in robes milling around the toaster, and young couples ordering their coffee to a window seat with a view. You can order a custom omelette and watch it being flipped, and plate up the rest yourself.
The spa feels like its own separate entity entirely from the hotel, a total hideaway.
I couldn’t get over how spacious the area was – in fact, my companion spent a couple of hours exploring the thermal suite without even realising he had missed an entire section.
The hydrotherapy pool has nine different areas designed to massage the whole body, the walking river and the heated pool with a sauna, jacuzzi and relaxation area to relieve your entire body of aches, pains and stresses.
On to the treatment – I was feeling brave and opted for the 60-minute sensuous chocolate massage, the perfect remedy for mental and physical fatigue, promising to leave your skin feeling silky smooth and soft to the touch.
Cacao, renowned for its powerful antioxidant properties is mixed with essential oils, and smoothed over the body while tensions are worked out and skin is revived.
It’s the first time anyone was promising me that chocolate would actually help with cellulite – so I was sold.
The chocolate-ly aromas are intoxicating and texture is lovely and light – no stickiness or sliminess here.
The post-treatment experience is often my favourite part and in this case an indulgent chocolate mousse was the perfect remedy for the cravings I had developed during the treatment.
A selection of teas and smoothies are also provided while you sit back in your lounger and enjoy the stunning garden views.
A take-home teddy for hotel residents, Bia the bear, is a really lovely and unique touch.
If you’d like to try the sensuous chocolate massage for yourself, there’s currently a great package on offer at the hotel.
The Sweet Life at Fota Island Resort package is available from €295 based on two people sharing and includes overnight accommodation with breakfast the following morning, a 60 minute sensuous chocolate massage and a post treatment treat of chocolate mousse.
To book, head to fotaisland.ie