This Irish lakeside hotel is the secret hideaway you'll love
Floor to ceiling windows, ducks paddling on the shore, boats dotted along the lake, the sound of waves lapping, outdoor hot tubs, hidden nooks and crannies, Foxford blankets...need I go on?
The above outlines just some of the delights Ballina's Ice House Hotel has to offer with the boutique hotel proving a true hidden gem.
After a three-hour trek from Dublin and a rather hectic week, I was more than ready for some down time on this particular Friday.
It sounds like a major cliché to say I felt chilled from the moment I stepped through the doors but it's true. It might have had a little to do with the fact that it was a grey dull day and I was more than ready to seek refuge in a rather Instagrammable hidey-hole.
Anyway, after checking in, it was time to visit Chill Spa for the Voya Heavenly Dreams Sleeping Ritual.
Now, this treatment caught my eye for one specific reason. I don't sleep very well at the best of times and this is designed to ensure you sleep like a baby while also melting away stress, strains and tension.
My hallmark for a good spa treatment is whether I fall asleep or not and during this one I dozed for a few minutes because I was that blissed out. It includes a foot ritual to start, a mini facial and a full body massage using Balinese and Hawaiian techniques. This is the opposite of your deep-tissue, hard-working massage, it's all about relaxing and let's face it, that's not always the easiest thing to achieve.
After the massage, you're encouraged to spend some time in the dark relaxation room which I was lucky enough to have all to myself. It was all I could do to stay awake and ensure my piping hot peppermint tea didn't end up all over my fluffy bathrobe.
The treatment might have been the highlight of my visit but a nod must be given to the airy, spacious, Pier Restaurant. Adjacent to the lake, there are stunning views and it's the perfect spot for an intimate meal where the service is second to none.
If you do visit, have the Monkfish & Black Pudding dish, you won't regret it.
The Ice House is relatively small but if spa breaks are your thing, this is one you absolutely need to try out. It might be a hidden gem for now but I can't see it staying that way...
The Heavenly Dreams Sleeping Ritual is now available at the Chill Spa for €120 for 80 minutes of sheer indulgence and you can check out the various packages at the Ice House Hotel, Mayo here.