Me ma retired a few weeks ago (and here was I thinking I’d stop talking about her quite so frequently) and, as part of her retirement “package”, she treated me to a weekend away with my man at The Twelve Hotel. But how did I get there? With short notice, I did some serious internet trawling and came up with a shortlist of places I’d absolutely lurrrrrve to go, namely:
From there, I tried thinking strategically. There was a strong chance that my Mr wouldn’t fancy a weekend spent lounging around in a fluffy robe, so Monart was out; the Cliff House looks incredible but once we’d eaten our fill and I’d been massaged to high heaven, it seemed like there might not be all that much to do (I mean, I like romantic walks as much as the next woman, but I also like choices).
That left Galway and the G, but when I did my research, I came back with a horrifying truth: almost €700 for a two-night stay, B&B, at the Philip Treacy-designed hostelry – which is seriously beautiful (and the afternoon tea is to die for) but a taxi ride outside the city and not really a justifiable expense, at €700.
So I did what any self-respecting journalist would do and contacted the PR team at Host & Company and asked them to fix a sister up. And they did – with a €280, two-night stay at The Twelve Hotel in Bearna, with breakfast and a three-course dinner in the hotel’s incredible West restaurant.
For a couple’s retreat, Galway is ideal, especially during World Cup season – there are so many deadly pubs (favourites include Neachtain’s and The King’s Head), there’s great shopping, the Saturday market is great fun (try the pea curry, so delish) and Bearna brings the added bonus of O’Grady’s, arguably one of the country’s best seafood restaurants. I forked out (ahem) for the half lobster salad, which was the best thing I’ve ever eaten.
Our room was perfect, with a huge shower and a great big bath; the bathrobes wereactually normal human size (why is that so hard to get right?) and I even went crazy and indulged in two incredible Voya treatments in the hotel’s Le Petit Spa, which is basically a spa set up in a suite on the third floor. It’s an incredibly smart and effective use of space, and because there’s no big spa, so to speak, there’s no receptionist and you get a super intimate experience with your therapist.
The one bugbear? Considering they’re saving on space and staff, treatments could be alittle bit more reasonable; I indulged in a detoxifying hot oil massage for €90 and, um, a purifying defence facial (yes, I really indulged) at €115. I would totally have blown €45 on the Twelve’s bath butler, mind you – a person who comes to your room and prepares your Voya bath for you. Mind. Blown.
As you can see, our time was really well spent – totally relaxing while catching up with Lisa Cannon in Irish Tatler (must’ve been in the 30 seconds between World Cup matches!).
PS Yes, I’m back a-blogging. And, eh, doing other things too. Let’s see how it goes, shall we?