GUILT FREE INDULGENCE AT CORICK HOUSE HOTEL & SPA
5th March 2004 may not be a date that many of you remember, or for that matter, even recall what you were doing that day, but for Lynne and I, the day will live (haunt me) with us forever…it’s the day we got married. Now, for those of you who know me well, you will know that I am not the most romantic person in the world, but, when certain occasions come along such as Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Anniversary’s and Family Circumcisions (only joking on the last one, ouch), I do pull out all the stops. So, 2018 sees Lynne and I married for 14 years, almost the same length as a custodial life sentence which is 15 years in the UK. As Mummy and Daddy to girls aged 9 and 3, and now a hyperactive Cocker Spaniel puppy, we don’t often find the time to get away and enjoy an evening to ourselves, so our Wedding Anniversary and a trip to Corick House Hotel & Spa was just the excuse needed to recharge the batteries, a chance to head away for quilt free indulgence….even better than that, indulgence that’s guilt free, child free and pet free!
A LONG TIME COMING
Almost a year ago, I entered a Facebook competition that was ran by Corick House Hotel & Spa, and what a joy it was to receive notification that I had won a spa treatment for two. And here lies my dilemma, I had to decide who to take…the wife and earn brownie points, or Lily-Belle (9yo) and spend several nights in the doghouse….hmmmm, decisions-decisions! Ok, so the sofa is comfy, but the ear bashing didn’t bear thinking about, so I opted to take Lynne. Our 14th wedding anniversary was coming up on 5th March 2018 so I knew this would be a good time to cash-in my prize. A quick phone call to Corick House Hotel & Spa and the room was booked, spa treatments booked and the girls stay at Nana and Granda’s house also booked, bring it on!
NO TIME TO HANG ABOUT
Spa day arrives and we don’t take long in getting rid of the girls, including Rosie the pup, and set off for Corick House Hotel & Spa. Although the journey is around 30 minutes tops, due to Corick House Hotel & Spa’s location, you feel a million miles away from civilisation, which isn’t a bad thing, right? To try to give you an idea of the day, it was raining cats and dogs (as it does regularly in Ireland) and we were running a good hour behind schedule. It was 2.30pm by the time we checked in and I had pre-booked the spa treatment for 3pm, so a quick introduction to the receptionist, key received and a mad dash to the room.
Seriously no time to relax, the overnight bags are thrown on to the bed. As I take in the rooms stylish decor, in typical fashion, all Lynne is interested in is putting on her complimentary spa slippers. On with the dressing gowns and it’s a short dash to the spa. Our Deluxe room is situated in the new wing of Corick House Hotel & Spa, the room meets our expectations and is spacious, modern and comfortable.
HEAVEN IS A HOTEL SPA
Now, the last time Lynne and I had a spa treatment together was 14 years ago, on honeymoon at Komandoo Island Resort in the beautiful Maldives! A quick trip in the lift and we step out to the delicate, not overpowering; spa aromas of sandalwood and jasmine. The delicate smells take us straight back to the serenity of the spa at Komandoo Island Resort. At the Spa Reception we are greeted by Rachel (Spa Manager) and given a short tour of the Spa and Serenity Suite. The Serenity Suite is a private area in a secluded corner of the spa with an outdoor hot tub and private steam chamber, definitely on the list for our next visit. The ambiance and decor are exactly as you’d expect of a spa, and calming music plays softly in the background…have we entered heaven? Rachel informs us we have around 10 minutes before our booked treatment, so a quick dip in the electric blue plunge pool is all we have time for.
SKINNY DIPPING IS DEFINITELY NOT ALLOWED
The blue tinge of the plunge pool is an automatic chill-out device. By self-confession, I admit wholeheartedly that I’m a ‘stress head’ and it takes a lot to relax me, but the pool, the music, indeed the whole experience, was definitely doing the trick. The spa is a child free zone; something that we don’t normally like as we love to include Lily-Belle and Matilda in (most of) the things we do, after all, we are a family; but on this occasion it is a welcome positive. Straight away we note how quiet the spa is and we have the plunge pool to ourselves, happy days!
TREAT ME NICE, TREAT ME GOOD
Our treatment time arrives and we make our way to the waiting area as previously instructed. The treatments are individual and Lynne and I are led to separate rooms. I selected a 30 minute full back, neck and shoulder massage and I wasn’t disappointed, my shoulders had more knots than a child’s shoe lace. My only regret was not getting the 60 minute treatment, but I’ll definitely avail of this next time. Lynne’s treatment was a head, neck and shoulder massage and again, she wasn’t disappointed. After our fantastic treatments, we were led to a relaxation room and offered tea, there are 3 young ladies in this area, each looking as relaxed as the next. Somehow, even though it’s a quiet room, we strike up a conversation and it turns out they’re on a hen-stay (a hen-do but on home soil) and waiting for the Bride-to-be who was still in having a treatment. The ladies should have been in Budapest, but due to extreme cold weather and snow in the UK, their flights were cancelled and so a last-minute change of venue brought them to Corick House Hotel & Spa. The Bride-to-be arrives looking very relaxed. Lynne and I leave and allow them to enjoy the room by themselves, we’re kind like that. The plunge pool was still empty so in we go, followed by a visit to the sauna and steam rooms, absolute bliss! We need to do this more often!
DRINKS AT THE BAR
It’s a little after 5pm when we left the spa and made our way to our room, the room that we had so far spent all of 10 minutes in. Although our spa treatment was free, when booking, I decided to stay overnight and paid for the dinner-bed-breakfast package. It was a little before 6pm and as I was ready, I had a choice to make, either wait at least an hour for Lynne to get ready or go to the bar…clunk…that’s the sound of the bedroom door closing behind me, bar it is! You may recall I mentioned we met 4 lovely ‘hen’ ladies in the relaxation room, well, they were sat having an evening meal in the Blackwater Grill & Bar area, I asked the waiter to take their drinks order and sent them a drink over to say congratulations, then I sat quietly, vino in hand, and waited for Lynne, who eventually arrived around 6.30pm, less than an hour after I left the room, must be a new ‘Lynne Getting Ready Record’.
Our 1 night escape includes a 4 course dinner in the newly refurbished Carleton Restaurant, As we enter we are greeted by Jean-Lucca, our Italian waiter for the evening. Lynne chats freely (in English, languages are not Lynne’s forte) and receives a few tips for our future Italian holidays. It’s Sunday evening and we are the only diners in the restaurant. The menu is extensive and has something for every person and every palate. Antipasti (starter) for me is Donegal Scallops, Cauliflower and Chorizo, with Black Pudding and for Lynne, Fivemiletown (local area) Goats Cheese, Gingerbread and Hazelnut Crumb which brings us to Confession…we were so hungry and the starters were so delicious, we neglected to take a single photo…epic Blog fail! Lynne comments how nice it is not to be hand feeding Matilda under the table, her chosen dining place of late is under the kitchen table and pretending to be a puppy, Matilda, not Lynne! The food was divine, not overcooked, not undercooked, just perfection in every bite. Bring on the mains!
When it comes to food Lynne is quite predictable, and as usual, for her main course (portata principale) she opts for the steak; a Pan Seared 10oz Dry Aged Sirloin with Roast Carrots, Tomato and Onions and encourages me to ‘have something different’ for the Blog, no problem for me, I am happy to try most delicacies. Roast Loin of Venison served with Kale celeriac Puree and Jus it is for me then. As we sit chatting, waiting patiently for our main courses, the restaurant manager, Mimi, approaches and strikes up a conversation. Let me tell you, Mimi is such a joyful man, full of craic and romantic gestures; in our honest opinion, he should be the new Maître d’ of channel 4’s First Dates, what a character, we can see clearly why Mimi has previously received accolades of AA 2 Rosettes. Food arrives and Mimi departs. This time we took photos before we tucked in, and once again, the food was exceptional. Seriously unsure if there’s any room left for dessert but we order one anyway.
We mentioned to Mimi we were staying at the hotel for our 14th Wedding Anniversary and we got a lovely surprise when he arrived at our table with a beautiful ‘Happy Anniversy’ dessert, candle included, what a beautiful gesture from such a lovely gentleman. We were beginning to regret ordering a dessert (dolce), but nonetheless they arrived. For me, Panna Cotta with Berries and Granola Honeycomb, and for Lynne, a Pistachio and Chocolate Parfait…pure indulgence on a plate! One word…delicious! We were stuffed and took a moment to quietly reflect upon a wonderful day of treatments and food. Fetch the wheelbarrow!
TIME FOR AN EARLY NIGHT…AYE RIGHT!
After our wonderful meal Lynne and I venture into the Blackwater Bar where the ambience is relaxed and cosy with its open log fires. Once again we meet the ‘Hen-Stay’ girls at bar. Chat, as well as drinks, flow freely and we share (scare) stories of weddings, honeymoons and life as a married couple. I just hope we haven’t put the Bride-to-be off marriage. The night rolled on and the craic and banter was, in all honesty, brilliant, and the girls, whom we now know as Nicolle, Grace, Isabel and Siobhan (Bride-to-be), stay in our company until the small hours of Monday morning and then we part ways. If we haven’t put Siobhan off marriage, maybe we’ll get an invite to the wedding, who knows?
BREAKFAST IN TWO HALVES
Morning arrives and Lynne has already preempted that I wouldn’t be attending breakfast. I would much rather lay in bed for an extra hour than faff about getting a morning feed. So our romantic night away for two leads to Lynne dining alone at breakfast. Luckily for me, after Lynne consumes her own breakfast, she arranges with Mimi to have Bacon on Toast sent up to the room, lush. Bags packed, and it’s time to checkout and return home to the girls. This stay was far too short, maybe next time we’ll stay a little longer and indulge in extra spa treatments.
WOULD WE GO BACK
Of course. Corick House Hotel & Spa is relatively close to where we live, yet we don’t seem to attend as often as we maybe should. We would like to try out the food in the Blackwater Bar & Grill and Afternoon Tea is a must, something Lily-Belle and Daddy often indulge in. If you’re looking for a rural retreat where the world seems like a distant memory, then Corick House is the place to go. Chic, stylish, and away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
I’m not impressed, why couldn’t I get to have a treatment and Mummy stay at home. (only 9 and the attitude of a stroppy teen already)
MATILDA (age 3) SAYS
Can I take my tablet to Nana and Granda’s? (normally limited to 30 minutes a day, but if it keeps her happy and allows us to sneak away, then yes)
tip: book treatments well in advance, Corick House Spa is very popular.
tip tip: keep an eye out on Corick House Hotel and Spa’s media pages for great midweek discounts.
Corick House Hotel and Spa: www.corickcountryhouse.com
Date of stay: 4th March 2018
Package: 1 night escape (includes overnight accommodation, 4 course evening meal in the Carleton Restaurant, use of the spa thermal areas, full irish breakfast) – £150.00 per room
Tel: (0044) (0)28 8554 8216
Spa treatment: free (facebook competition prize)
Spa: treatment list and spa pricing
Carleton Restaurant: menu
Read about our FUTURE TRAVEL plans and see what’s next on our agenda.
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All information, currency and prices are correct at the time of publishing.
All views, opinions and experiences are that of The Callaghan Posse and are correct at the time of publication.
All photos, unless credited, are taken by Andrew Callaghan for use and distribution by Around The World In 18 Years.