Located just outside Enniscorthy is a calming haven that will make you feel as though you have been transported to an exotic land, where rest and relaxation is the order du jour. Monart Destination Spa allows its guests a few days of respite away from their hectic lives. The hotel is devoid of constant pings from mobile phones (it is highly encouraged to switch them off), there is no WiFi, and it is strictly adults only.
Named as one of the top 3 Spa Resorts in the world by Conde Nast Traveller, be prepared to while away the hours in the spa and indulge in various treatments designed to massage away the stress and strains of modern life. The spa is fully equipped with a sauna, steam room, outdoor Finnish sauna, salt grotto, infra-red pro suite, caldarium, sanarium and hydrotherapy pool. There are 15 treatment rooms ready to whisk you away to nirvana.
It is recommended that you leave at least two hours to enjoy the full thermal suite experience, although it is easy to spend much more time here. There are also light and dark rooms complete with fresh fruits and teas for you to enjoy while you ramble around the suite.
After we checked in and unpacked, we headed down to the thermal suite to make use of the fabulous facilities for a couple of hours before dinner. Also on the agenda for the day was a pre-booked O2 Lift Facial. Using all Image Skincare products this ultra-hydrating facial is perfect to rejuvenate your skin and is full of anti-ageing ingredients that will leave you red carpet ready in no time.
After spending a couple of hours unwinding in the thermal suite I was whisked away by my therapist to have my treatment. The rooms are warm and inviting with soft lighting adding to the calming vibe. I had previously filled out a skin analysis form, and after discussing my goals with my therapist I was pampered into a blissful state of tranquillity.
We retired to our room to freshen up before heading downstairs to the bar for a pre-dinner drink. At Monart the aim is for guests to take a breather, so it’s not uncommon to see guests donning fluffy white bathrobes and slippers in the bar as they sip a glass of wine. If you fancy a more informal affair than the hotel’s restaurant, you can dine in the bar. From the plates, I spied coming from the kitchen the food looked just as tasty as the restaurant dishes.
While we read the menu our waitress served us selection of freshly baked bread; gruyere cheese, sourdough and Guinness. All of which were delicious, and more than one slice of the cheesy gruyere was had. Looking over the wine list, I spotted one of my favourite bottles; 2017 Domaine Bousquet Organic Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina. This elegant wine is 100% Malbec (my grape of the moment), has soft tannins and is rich with flavours of plum and blackberry. It made for a delicious tipple throughout our meal.
My dining companion settled on the Tea Smoked Barbary Duck. Served with a soft boiled quail egg, pak choy, well-cooked soba noodles and an umami-rich shitake mushroom broth. The duck was perfectly cooked with a lush pink centre, I managed to snag a bite or two before it was swiftly devoured
To start I choose the Pink Tail Prawn Kataifi. A delicate basket of crisp noodles encased succulent prawns. On top of the prawns, a vibrant roasted red pepper and apricot tapenade gave this dish a subtle sweetness. A sweep of tangy rose and cardamon yoghurt finished the dish.
Following this, we enjoying a refreshing Basil Sorbet to cleanse our palates before our next course. Picking the main dish was an easy choice for me when I spotted the Pan Seared Venison. Thick slices of meaty venison sat on a vibrant array of red cabbage and a bright orange squash purée. Silky smooth, the purée was a heavenly bite. Hidden beneath the cabbage was a flavourful venison boudin. The entire dish garnished with a nordic berry jus, adding a wonderful tartness to the rich meat.
For my guest choosing the main dish was a much more difficult affair. However upon hearing the evenings special of Pan Fried Seabass the decision was made. Fresh seabass with a deliciously crisp skin was served on a bed rich ratatouille, as well as one of the nicest fishcakes we’ve tried in a long time. Each main course comes with a side of roasted vegetables so you certainly won’t leave the table hungry.
For dessert, we chose Irish Farm House Cheese and Apple Mille Feuille. The former was a nice selection of local cheese with fresh grapes, chutney and crisp homemade crackers. The mille-feuille was a beautifully presented dish, served with smooth praline cream, white chocolate cremeux and salted caramel ice-cream – a sweet ending to our meal.
Following a leisurely nightcap in the bar, we retreated to our room for a wonderful nights sleep in our luxurious King Koli beds complete with duck down duvets. Waking up the following morning in peaceful surroundings was a welcome treat – the buzzing of alarm clocks replaced with the gentle chirping of birds outside. We headed back down to the restaurant for breakfast (if you’re feeling particularly relaxed dining in your robes is the norm). We enjoyed a continental breakfast, including homemade bread, cereals, fresh fruit and pastries before enjoying a hot breakfast served at our table.
Our time at Monart was a welcome retreat and made checking out a challenging task. Staying at Monart is more than just spending a night or two at a hotel. It’s an experience. From the moment you check in until the moment you check out you are treated to the best Irish hospitality you’ll find. Allow yourself to check out of your everyday life, and check in to Monart for a taste of tranquillity to nourish mind, body and soul.
Monart Destination Spa,
T: +353 (0)53 92 38999
REVIEW BY SINÉAD SMYTH