Spa Spy: Muckross Park
This month, we sent our spa spy out to research a fine relaxation retreat in Killarney.
With over 120 hotels and many of them offering superb leisure and spa facilities, it’s fair to say that, in terms of standards, the stakes are very high. The Muckross Park Hotel and Spa scores top marks in our books, not only
in terms of the superbly designed and decorated spa, but the hotel itself is a joy to behold.
The hotel has the most charming staff who really can’t do enough for their clients and work in a very friendly manner that is sometimes lacking in five-star hotels. Maybe its tradition of hospitality that started way back in 1795 allows it to combine history and hospitality perfectly, the modern luxurious facilities with good old fashioned friendlessness
and charm! Muckross, where even the breakfasts resemble banquets, is a paradise for foodies, making it difficult to pull yourself away from the table as I discovered on a recent visit.
Situated in Killarney National Park, the hotel’s location gave us the perfect opportunity to walk off the excess of one meal while building up an appetite for the next! The park, which is 41 square miles of stunning beauty, is home to our tallest mountain range, the McGillycuddy Reeks, as well as the Lakes of Killarney, Innisfallen Island, Ross Castle, Muckross House and farm, roaming red deer, breath-taking walking routes and heaps of history and folklore. Guests can avail of a selection of cycling routes and maps, thanks to the hotel’s complimentary bike hire, along with a number of other activities. We decided upon kayaking and with both of us being novices, we weren’t too sure what to expect, If you had told me we would have spent four hours kayaking, I’m not so sure I would have signed up. But the ‘Killarney Lakes Sunset Kayaking’ was, without doubt, one of the best experiences of my life.
Our guide Nathan, from Outdoors Ireland, was a real pro and made everything seem effortless and most enjoyable. We stopped off at Innisfallen Island, home to the ruins of an abbey dating from 640, where the Annals of Innisfallen were written. Here, Nathan produced a very welcome flask of tea and some chocolate, which we enjoyed in this tranquil setting with only wild deer for company.
After four hours on the lake we were hungry and tired and didn’t feel like dressing up, so dinner in The Jarvey’s Rest pub at the hotel was the perfect end to what had been a great day. Not only did they serve excellent food but there was a great session going on too. The next night, we enjoyed beef and seafood in the gorgeous Yew Tree Restaurant where all of the food is sourced locally. The fish was as fresh as I have ever tasted and the excellent quality beef was superbly cooked. The attention to detail in the Yew Tree is remarkable, with everything, including the vegetables, the
desserts and even the breads, being cooked and baked to perfection. The luxurious Spa at the Muckross is legendary. The vitality pool and thermal area are worth a visit alone but you can’t leave without a Pevonia Botanica treatment, such as such as a massage or facial to leave you feeling completely relaxed and rejuvenated. The Muckross Park is a wonderful hotel in a very unique setting and is well worth a visit.
The five-star Muckross Park Hotel & Spa is located in the heart of Killarney National Park, four kilometres from Killarney Town Centre. Located on the famous Ring of Kerry route in the famous area of Muckross, Muckross Park Hotel is close to all of the major attractions in Killarney, Co. Kerry.
For more information, visit www.muckrosspark.com.
For adventure breaks and activities in the area, visit www.outdoorsireland.com.