The leafy suburb of Castleknock might not be the first place that springs to mind when you’re planning a spot of urban pampering. But the 4-star Castleknock Hotel & Country Club is literally on Dublin's doorstep, and an ideal place to escape to the next time you're stressed in the city.
You can tell that the hotel is much loved and used by its community: the comfy lobby area is buzzing with people having coffee and chats, the restaurant is kept busy with birthdays and special occasions, and the afternoon tea is clearly another popular choice.
Served in the elegant navy and cream Park Restaurant, the new Summer Afternoon Tea menu has been inspired by the nearby Strawberry Beds, a historic stretch of countryside once popular with Irish honeymooners. Having rather enthusiastically sampled the menu I can confirm it is delish: served up on a bed of faux grass, the three-tiered stand contains dainty titbits including poached salmon on Guinness bread, and a very tasty banana bread scone.
Strawberries obviously feature heavily, including Strawberry Victoria Sponge and Strawberry Bakewell, and the whole shebang is reasonably priced, too, starting from €21 pp or €32 with a glass of champagne.
If that’s not quite enough pampering for you, may I recommend a visit to the on-site Tonic Health & Day Spa? It offers a full menu of treatments and facilities include an 18-metre swimming pool and thermal area.
Using the pool is a real pleasure – so much so that, when we visited, Allsun bought her Dad a gift of membership. It’s surrounded by glass, so you get lovely and restful views out over the surrounding golf course and countryside – and when it’s sunny, the light bounces off the water in the prettiest way. It’s also heated to a really nice temperature which we particularly liked – and the Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room are the icing on the cake.
Tonic Health & Day Spa at Castleknock Hotel & Country Club offers the complete Summer Pre Package from €110 at the weekend and €95 on weekdays. Add an overnight stay with dinner from €110 per person at the weekend and €99 per person midweek. See the hotel’s website or Facebook page for more; Fluff and Fripperies was a guest of the hotel.