One hour from Dublin is the hotel that's a home away from home
An instantly welcoming air and a homely feel means you're at ease as soon as you enter Johnstown Estate.
That was my first experience on visiting the hotel recently and I'm glad to say the atmosphere didn't falter once.
It has a country house vibe with ornate mirrors (the floor-length one that greets you is beyond dreamy) and upholstered chairs, yet its facilities are modern and cater to every need.
The open fire, detailed doors and decorative ceiling make for an inviting reception area that differs from the traditional hotel lobby.
Johnstown has undergone a massive refurbishment in the past eighteen months and now boasts 126 bedrooms in addition to a brand new restaurant, Fire and Salt, a spa and luxury leisure centre.
A visit to the spa was a must having heard great things about the signature massage and I have to say, it lived up to recommendations.
If visiting yourself, try and get an appointment with Emily. A therapist with ten years experience at Johnstown, she went over and above to help tackle my chronic lower back and pelvic pain. Using products such as Elemis Rose Balm (swoon) and lying in a room looking at twinkling stars allowed for a few blissful minutes of rest. The relaxation room is extremely cosy and you'll want to hang around for some added chill time.
Dinner at Fire and Salt was enjoyable and the restaurant staff were extremely attentive to every table. They couldn't do enough for guests and everything was carried out with a smile which is something that sticks with the hotel guest long after the stay is over. A word of warning, leave room for the melt in your mouth chocolate gateaux.
You can also choose from the Couch House Bar for a cosy chilled-out meal, the Atrium for afternoon tea and if you so wish, there are private dining options available in the Willow Room and Burgundy Room.
The Lady Margaret Suite is beautiful and can only be described as fit for a princess. From the light fittings to the double king-sized bed, it's a luxurious experience from start to finish.
The decor is nothing short of stunning and I'll be dreaming about the breath-taking interiors for the foreseeable future, whilst attempting to recreate the atmosphere at home. It's been described as the 'most special room in the house' and as you'll see below, it's truly stunning.
It's very easy to settle into this cosy spot, so much so that it's extremely difficult to leave and return to the real world. A 50-minute drive away from Dublin, it's the perfect escape for any capital city dwellers who want a relaxing break without venturing too far.
A special mention must go to the people working at Johnstown. From the front of house team to the restaurant crew, nothing was too much trouble and in my opinion, hospitality, or lack thereof, can make or break the hotel experience and often decides whether you'll return or not.
It's important to note too that anyone I've spoken to about the hotel says the same which is another indicator of its impressive reputation. Now to plan a return visit...