From the minute you arrive at the gates leading into Monart Destination Spa and get buzzed inside to see the sprawling 100-acre grounds surrounded by woodland, you can already tell you’re in for something special.
The 5-star destination spa hotel just outside Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford has won endless awards since opening in 2005; Condé Nast Traveller once named it runner up for the Best Spa Retreat In The World, beating stunning retreats in the likes of Bali and Thailand.
So when I was invited down to try out one of their new spa packages, I absolutely jumped at the chance to experience 24 hours of pure relaxation.
After arriving at the main house, a stunning old building that dates back to 1740, your bags are taken away from you and whisked up to your room while you check-in at the stunning glass reception room, marking the beginning of a stay where basically everything is done for you.
Another great thing about staying at Monart (of the many, many great things) is that the signal here is basically non-existent and there is no wifi apart from in the old house, so you have no choice but to leave your phone away for the duration of your stay.
My unexpected digital detox meant I fully threw myself into the ‘cocoon’ of Monart (as they call it) and stopped worrying about replying to emails and texts. They also only keep newspapers in the main house, so you can completely switch off from the outside world.
I had a quick tour of my gorgeous room, complete with high ceilings and a balcony overlooking the gardens and duck pond below, before changing into my fluffy white robes and slippers, which guests are encouraged to wear for the duration of their stay.
From breakfast to treatments and even on walks through the perfectly manicured gardens, everyone wears their robes for almost the entirety of their stay, which is something I could absolutely get used to doing. The only place they’re not allowed is in the restaurant at dinner time.
A visit to the Monart Spa is absolutely necessary. There are a huge variety of treatments on offer, some of which are specifically designed to infuse your skin with the latest anti-ageing actives such as natural argan and comfrey plant stem cells blended with green coffee, avocado, shea butter and other potent ingredients.
To say I left with baby-soft skin would be an understatement.
After my manicure, it was on to the dark relaxation room with a cup of honey, ginger and lemon tea to unwind before trying out everything the thermal suite has to offer, from Kneipp cure pools to steam rooms to saunas and the stunning hydrotherapy infinity pool.
A full cycle through the thermal suite takes two and a half hours, and although I sadly didn’t have time for that since I had a dinner reservation to get to, I still floated on down to the restaurant after an hour in there.
Monart’s four-course tasting menu is hands down one of the best meals I’ve ever had, consisting of locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients.
The menu changes often, but you can expect the likes of halibut with wild garlic ravioli and roast pepper fondue (my main dish of choice), and chargrilled fillet of beef with pink tail prawn Kataifi, as well as a vibrant vegetarian and vegan menu.
Another thing to note is that after checking out at 12pm the following day (which you can also do in your fluffy white robes), guests can still use the thermal suite until 2pm, so you’ll have plenty of time to take advantage of everything it has to offer.
But that’s not before having breakfast in your robes (a novelty that will truly never wear off), which includes a hot menu that offers all the usual things you want from a hotel breakfast like a fry-up, eggs benedict or omelettes, as well as a continental buffet.
I could, of course, have happily spent several days swanning around the spa resort in my robe, reading in the totally silent relaxation room and getting the most out of everything the spa has to offer. But even after 24 hours there, I felt like brand new - I'm already planning my next visit.
A two-night stay with accommodation in a luxurious room along with a sumptuous breakfast on each morning and dinner on one evening is on offer from €239 per person midweek and €285 per person at the weekend.