THERE are plenty of reasons why we are all so tempted to flock to the west of Ireland when we get the opportunity to take a few days off.
For some of us, it’s the scenery.
For others, the adventure sports on offer along the west coast.
More often, it’s the ideal destination for avid golfers, surfers and anglers.
But, when it comes to treating yourself to a relaxing, rejuvenating getaway, it seems that the west of Ireland is just the place to make your escape.
Knockranny House Hotel and Spa is a four-star hotel in Westport, Co Mayo. Perched on the outskirts of the bustling town, the hotel is located just far enough away to feel secluded, but close enough to walk into town.
With bedroom views facing the magnificent Croagh Patrick, it was tempting to leave the mountain trekking to the more adventurous and instead soak up the intimate and cosy atmosphere of the hotel.
A handsome Victorian-style manor, Knockranny is vast with numerous rooms, yet still manages to feel intimate and capture a warm atmosphere, which was well-promoted by the friendly staff.
The log fires, vintage-style furniture and old-fashioned charm add to the hotel’s general sense of a traditional Irish welcome.
And it was the extra comforts that helped the huge bedrooms feel like a home away from home – the choice of old paperbacks on the book shelf in the bedroom, the reading chair in the corner, and the wide windows with mountain views.
However, it was the Spa Salveo that I was making a beeline for; in my books, the most essential ingredient to any “relaxing” weekend away.
The award-winning spa encompasses a vitality pool with hydrotherapy stations, an expansive thermal spa suite, various relaxation areas and 12 spacious treatment rooms.
With a range of spa treatments offered, Spa Salveo has a huge array of tempting treats to choose from, with everything from facials and body wraps to manicures and massages.
I opted for the spa’s newest signature treatment – the Wellness and Radiance Ritual, which incorporates a two-hour treatment using luxury products from the Kerstin Florian range.
The ritual includes a deluxe foot soak and de-stressing foot massage, a full-body salt scrub, a wellness back massage and a pro-radiance facial.
To say that I felt rejuvenated afterwards would be a slight understatement.
And, since no pampering weekend is complete without feeding the soul, it was imperative that we made the most of the culinary wonders that were offered by the hotel’s impressive La Fougere restaurant.
With chef Seamus Commons – twice named Best Chef in Connacht by the Food & Wine Magazine Awards – the restaurant itself has earned the title Best Restaurant in Connaught 2011, along with two AA Rosettes, making it worth the road trip purely for the food itself.
Starters ranged from goat cheese parfait to beef carpaccio, while mains included pan-fried seabass, baked Atlantic cod and parmesan gnocchi.
Grapefruit parfait, bitter chocolate tart and Carrowholly cheeses were just some of the desserts to top it all off.
Ideal for a romantic weekend away or a getaway with the girls, Knockranny House Hotel and Spa offer a range of deals for your next ramble to the west.
The two-hour Wellness and Radiance Ritual costs €105 per person, and includes a light lunch.
For further information, see www.knockrannyhousehotel.ie or call 098 28600.