Mid moving madness, himself and myself were more than thrilled to accept an invitation to visit the charmingly named Horse & Jockey Hotel, in the town of the same name, in Thurles, Tipperary. I confess that this was the first time I’d heard of this particular spot, despite it boasting a spa, pool and even a bakery – some of my very favourite things.
The vibe is comfy, country chic with an eclectic mix of furnishings from antique to contemporary, and a strong horse racing theme throughout. It’s not luxurious, but it is friendly, welcoming and manages to feel cosy, despite being on the large side with absolutely loads of facilities on site, including a pub, restaurant, various seating areas, gift shop, conference centre and hairdressers, along with the spa and leisure facilities mentioned above.
The spa was also enjoyable; I tried the Elemis Biotec facial, which is pretty special - The Spa at The Shelbourne is the only other place in Ireland you’ll currently find it. The treatment combines Elemis products with a very high tech machine, which can deliver a combination of therapies for a really tailored experience: my facial focused on resurfacing the skin, targeting blemishes and marks for a more even skin tone.
I was delighted with how bright and glowy my skin was afterwards, and went all out by having a bouncy blow dry before dinner - Mr Fluff had to practically peel me away from the bathroom mirror.
The food is another bonus: we didn’t try the restaurant, but enjoyed good pub grub, hearty breakfasts and a really tasty afternoon tea. Some hotel bars can feel curiously devoid of atmosphere but this place is the opposite: it’s obviously loved by residents and locals alike, and if it’s craic you’re after, you’ll find plenty of it here.
Any downsides? The wifi is a bit patchy and there’s not much to do in the surrounding area but to be honest, the hotel is so packed full of amenities you won’t feel the need to leave. It’s a good pick for unwinding with your pals or your other half, offering great value particularly for girlie getaways: one current offer includes one night’s accommodation with breakfast, a Voya or Elemis facial, blow-dry in Q Salon and afternoon tea in the Courtyard Cafe Lounge. The damage? A very reasonable €115 per person. If you have any special occasions coming up or just fancy a break, you won’t find better value (and if you do, be nice and share the details!).
One final note: do not miss the chance to browse the treasures in the gift shop. We picked up some lovely bits and pieces for the house including these pineapple book-ends that are identical to the ones featured here.
Find out more on the hotel website; Fluff and Fripperies was a guest of the hotel.