Relaxation has a new entry in my dictionary: A visit to the Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Hotel and Health Spa.
The whole ambience of the place induces a sense of escape - from jogging on the winding woodland walkways to indulging in a range of spa treatments or even just vegetating by the impressive infinity pool.
Set against a spectacular backdrop of 1,300 acres of unspoilt countryside on the outskirts of Cavan Town, the Farnham Estate Hotel is one of Ireland’s real hidden gems.
From the very second my wife and I arrived at the entrance of the winding laneway leading to the heart of the luscious estate - which includes an 18 hole golf course - we got a warm feeling that this was just the escape we had hoped for.
And when we first set eyes on the grand old Farnham House - the centrepiece of the hotel complex which was designed in 1802 by the architect behind Dublin’s GPO - we got a flavour of the luxurious stay that awaited us.
We were given a warm reception on checking in to the hotel and were provided with a full run down of the extensive facilities by a very helpful and friendly staff member.
A shuttle bus and an obliging porter were on hand to take our bags to the main hotel complex as the car parking areas are located several hundred yards from the building to ensure the wonderful views of the rolling countryside are not spoilt by a mass of vehicles.
Our suite was quite simply stunning - complete with a balcony which basks in afternoon sunshine (subject to clement weather availability, of course), overlooks a field of roaming cattle, a distant lake and leafy woodland. Apart from the dining room, bedroom, sitting room, two tvs, two toilets, bath, shower and twin sinks, I was also amazed by the provision of a cappucino/espresso/coffee machine. The suite was located in the new part of the building but the surroundings were in line with the sophistication of the original Farnham House which also houses a number of suites.
Indeed there’s a delicate fusion of old and new at Farnham, which has158 bedrooms. The design of the old house draws on the estate’s 400 year-old history while being subtly integrated into a contemporary style complex.
At Farnham, the air of relaxation is fuelled by guests ambling around the complex in fluffy white bathrobes and matching slippers as they make their ways to and from the spa, which is one of the hotel’s biggest attractions.
You can either book your own treatment or spend time in the Water Mint Thermal Suite which all guests have complimentary access to.
Described as a “journey of the senses” the thermal suite has an aroma steam bath, a salt inhalation room, snail showers, hydrotherapy pool, an ice fountain and much more. My own personal favourite were the three individual foot spas - with their jets of hot water which eased the pain in my fatigued feet after a jog around the spectacular estate and an hour of training in the hotel gym.
But that was before being pampered in a treatment room with a full body massage delivered by one of the expert therapists at the spa.
Just lie back and let yourself be pampered, it’ll seem light years away from the stresses and strains of every day life. I emerged completely rested and restored and ready for sleep by the infinity pool, part of which is outside. A full range of face and body treatments including facials, massages and body wraps in the Yon-Ka range are all available. They last from 15 minutes to up to 2 hours for the Secret De Beauté, a totally indulgent head to toe reviver.
From the velvet moss spread underneath the tall trees in the forest to the exhilarating plant-derived scents of the new Yon-Ka products in the Health Spa, inside and out, Farnham Estate is a true playground for the senses.
After a day of pampering, we had dinner in the romantic setting of the Botanica Restaurant which has an impressive menu with a wine list to match. The goats cheese starter was a real winner, followed by a sumptuous fillet steak washed down with a glass of silky, rich Rioja. But the ginger and rhubarb trifle topped with creamy mascarpone custard was a real highlight for me.
The cellar bar is in a class of its own, with exposed brick work on the walls, it gives the real feeling of an authentic country house but without losing any of its charm. It’s warm, inviting and the perfect place to spend the evening.
Breakfast in the Botanica Restaurant was really something to look forward to in the morning. Guests can choose from a range of tasty dishes and treats in the buffet and many will be glad to hear that there wasn’t a drop of grease in sight when I enjoyed the full traditional Irish breakfast.
Open since 2006 and only 90 minutes from Dublin, set in 1300 acres of unspoilt countryside in County Cavan, Farnham Estate Health Spa at the Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Hotel is one of only sixteen Fáilte Ireland designated ‘Resort Spas’ throughout Ireland, reflecting the degree of commitment of staff, the facilities and the range of treatments available, and is one of Ireland’s most popular spa retreats.
With its expansive woodlands, the estate itself can also be said to raise the spirits. There are 7 kms of the most beautifully natural walking trails in the land. Walks range from the more relaxed, shorter routes through to the more challenging, depending on the individual requirements. Along the treks, you will enjoy the incredible range of trees including ancient redwood, cedar, copper beech and Scots pine, as well as wonderful views of Farnham Lake. During our two day stay we covered the lot in our relaxing pre-breakfast forest runs to build up an raging appetite in time for the most important meal of the day.
All in all we found that Farnham truly is an amazing place to take time out from the hustle and bustle of everyday life - the perfect getaway.
To book log on to www.farnhamestate.ie, email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: + 353 (0) 49 4377700 Fax: + 353 (0) 49 4377701.
Ian Cullen stayed as a guest of the Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Hotel and Health Spa.
Residential rates from 190 euro per person sharing (normal rate 270 euro – savings of 80 euro). The rate included overnight luxury accommodation; super buffet breakfast; dinner in the Botanica Restaurant and the Get Beach Ready spa pack. The spa pack includes the includes Gommage Marin Scrub - an energizing Guerande Sea Salt scrub - and Escale Beaute Facial which re-energize and stimulate.
The rate also includes unlimited use of the Health Spa’s Indoor/Outdoor Infinity Pool, Water Mint Thermal Suite Gymnasium, Relaxation Rooms, access to walking trails, daily exercise and relaxation classes. All rates are subject to availability and are valid until August 31, excluding Bank Holidays.