If there’s anywhere finer than Inchydoney on a sunny day, I’ve yet to find it - or a rainy day, for that matter, and on our recent visit we enjoyed one of each. The four-star hotel in Clonakilty, Co Cork occupies a prime location right on the seaside, overlooking the Atlantic and wild West-Cork coastline with its myriad coves and inlets.
The changing colours and views of the ocean are simply spectacular, no matter the weather, and the hotel takes full advantage: every room faces right onto that gorgeous, blue-flag, sandy beach.
The location makes it an obvious choice for surfers – there’s an established surf school on-site – but there’s plenty more to do; everything from whale watching to golfing, fishing, walking and cycling can be found nearby.
You can also explore the colourful little neighbouring villages, or just enjoy doing not very much at all; bad weather put the kibosh on our planned whale watching trip, so we cosied ourselves up in the award-winning Island Spa, instead.
Here, too, seawater is a major feature: it’s pumped directly from the mineral-rich Atlantic and heated, to fill the pool. Numerous hydrotherapy stations are available, from jets to bubble seats to Jacuzzi areas, and we had great craic trying out them all.
Seawater treatments, wraps and scrubs are on offer, as well as the usual fare; I tried a seawater massage shower, while the mister had pressotherapy for his sports-sore legs. This was pretty much as it sounds – light pressure on the legs, combined with a marine leg gel, to aid circulation and improve lymphatic drainage.
My treatment was very soothing - I got to lie back and relax on a heated pad under seawater jets, while the lovely Jennifer kneaded my troubles away.
Against my better judgement, we also had facials in the Couples Suite. While the treatments were divine – my facial, with real gold flakes and diamond powder, was probably the most luxurious I’ve ever tried – the thunderous snoring from himself was less so. Perhaps his Urban Cleanse facial was a little too relaxing, but it did leave his face glowing.
As for the hotel itself, it’s lovely, modern and light-drenched, with a colour scheme inspired by the sea. I filmed a few video clips which, while not doing it justice, might give you a sense of the place.
The bar is buzzing, but if that’s not your scene, the residents’ lounge is a peaceful spot in which to read, or linger with an after-dinner drink. In line with our general experience of West Cork, the food is simply amazing; seafood’s a speciality, and the crab claws in the bar are a must. The 5-course tasting menu in the Gulfstream Restaurant is also superb.
Breakfast, too, is decidedly better than most; along with the cooked or continental options, you can choose eggs any way, a variety of fish dishes, pancakes and more.
Combine all that with the warm welcome and manner of the staff, and Inchydoney is the perfect place to really kick back and relax. They say it’s “for people who value time together”; if it’s quality time with quality people you’re after, get yourself down to West Cork!
Check out the hotel website for more; Fluff and Fripperies was a guest of the hotel.