Spa Spy: Horse and Jockey Hotel
This month, we sent Marguerite Kiely out to research a fine relaxation retreat in Tipperary.
I recently visited the Horse And Jockey Hotel, which is nestled in the heart of the beautiful Tipperary countryside, and the mid-way point between Dublin and Cork, for some much needed rest and relaxation. On arriving at the hotel I was immediately impressed by the decor which marries the traditional with the contemporary. Considering the hotel has been trading for 250 years, it certainly uses modern, inviting hues such as lime greens and warm aubergines. After checking out some of the vibrant, equestrian themed art in the lobby, myself and my partner headed straight to The Bakery for afternoon tea.
The dedicated bakery in the hotel is a confectionery lover’s paradise. We were treated to an array of delicious delights, from smoked salmon to the most exquisite sweet treats. Pastry chef Jacqueline Lanigan Ryan has transformed the humble scone to something very special, with a toppings such as clotted cream, homemade jam and lemon curd to choose from. Lemon posset, raspberry mousse, chocolate truffles and melt-in-the-mouth brownies were just some of the other sweets to tempt us. I tried to resist asking for a takeaway box, but I just couldn’t leave the brownies behind! The Bakery alone is reason to stop off from the M8 and head to the hotel. The plush suite was spacious, extremely comfortable and the large windows made the room bright and airy. A highlight was a free standing clawfoot bathtub and an amazing jet shower in the bathroom, which was like a minispa experience in itself! After the indulgent afternoon tea, I geared myself up to enter the relaxation zone and made my way to the spa. The hotel has an ample treatment brochure with something to suit everyone but I opted for the Elemis Triple -Tec Anti-Wrinkle Facial with skilled therapist Catriona.
Firstly, my face and eyes were targeted by a lines and wrinkles activator. After this, microcurrent pulses lifted and firmed my skin, which boosted collagen production, whilst light therapy and O2 Infusion help plump and smooth away lines and wrinkles. Catriona was able to pinpoint individual issues with my neglected skin, such as dehydration (spicy food and wine the night before probably didn’t help me) and tailored the facial to my needs.
What I particularly enjoyed about the treatment was the combination of traditional techniques and modern technology, which I had never experienced before. After the facial, my usually leather-like complexion was soft, glowing and that all important moisture had been restored!
Next up was The Beauty Room, the hotel’s salon, offering hair styling, make-up application, HD Brows and many other pampering options. An ‘Occasion Hair And Make-up’ package is available for €48, which beauty therapist Dee told me is particularly popular for wedding parties. My nails were in need of some serious TLC, so I decided that getting a shellac manicure was just what I needed. For anybody who hasn’t tried shellac nails, it comes highly recommended, with the polish remaining completely in tact and glossy for a whole fortnight! My talons were painted blood-red by Dee and I spent the rest of the week admiring them! The treatment also took place on a massage chair, which added an extra touch of luxury to the experience.
Fully relaxed, I decided to take a trip to the hotel’s leisure centre and enjoyed a quick dip in the 21-metre pool. The hydrology jets, jacuzzi & sauna eased away any tensions and left me with an appetite! Myself and my partner had a casual dinner in the Enclosure Bar. Immediately we noticed that the bar was bustling with patrons. The warm, welcoming atmosphere, fantastic staff and a roaring fire was enough to entice us in and keep us there for the evening.
The bar was once a popular meeting place for Wolf Tone’s United Irishmen in the 1790s, and with so many locals and residents enjoying the food and refreshments on offer that evening, it seems that it is just as popular in the 21st Century!
After a delicious meal we retired to the comfort of our room. Following a restful night’s sleep it was unfortunately time to get back to reality. We came away with the feeling that we had discovered a gem, with hospitality and quality and at the heart of the hotel. If you want to treat yourself to a luxury break without breaking the bank, the Horse And Jockey is the perfect place for you!
Horse and Jockey Hotel, Co Tipperary