This week, I visited the five-star Lough Eske Castle to discover how their Winter Warmer offer is a pampering treat for the face, body and taste buds.
Lough Eske Castle, a Solis Hotel & Spa outside Donegal Town have a wonderful Winter Warmer package this season. The Winter Warmer at Spa Solís, running until March 8th, is a spa and afternoon tea package with incredible value for all the luxury delights you receive.
Guests get their choice of two thermal spa treatments (or both) followed by Afternoon Tea at the Castle.
One mini treatment with Afternoon Tea is €69.00
Two mini treatments with Afternoon Tea is €95.00
I visited Lough Eske Castle at the beginning of February to meet the spa team and sample the afternoon tea – all in the name of research, of course.
Spa Solis, a modern and tranquil hideaway in the castle grounds, is where the Winter Warmer experience begins.
Spa Manager Denise McDonagh told me all about how the mini treatments on the menu create an indulgent warming experience to benefit us during winter.
The Express Eclat Cocoon Facial is a luxurious, hydrating and 100% tailor-made treatment to suit all skin types.
Denise explained: “As part of the Winter Warmer, the element is heat and within the facial you get cleanse, tone, exfoliant, massage, masque and moisturise. For that massage element we incorporate the heated volcanic stones.
“ The thermal element creates extreme relaxation and, with the heat of the hands and skin and the cool products, you have a hot/cold element that stimulates the skin.”
Spa Solis use the premium skincare brands YON-KA PARIS and Anne Semonin, and following a consultation, the spa therapist will choose the products to suit your skin the best. Both ranges are aromatherapy based and will work for everybody based on their sensitivity, requirements and preferences.
The other Winter Warmer option is a Volcanic Thermal Back Massage, which Denise describes as a hugely beneficial heated treatment for tired and aching muscles.
“We focus on back, neck and shoulder – from the nape of the neck to the top of the glute. Massages are also completely tailored. Our guest chooses the pressure, and it is hands-on with the incorporation of the volcanic stones. We target areas of concern including muscle tension, tightness, muscular joint ache and pain,” Denise said.
Denise adds that heat from the volcanic thermal stones penetrates ten times deeper into the muscle than the hands alone.
“It’s much more therapeutic and perfect for this time of year. It’s extremely beneficial to have that heat in the muscles and joints in the last and first quarter of the year because a lot of people, especially those with arthritis or tension, feel it a lot more in the cold weather,” she said.
The €95 Winter Warmer package is the most popular choice for guests who want to incorporate the facial and the massage with the afternoon tea.
“It’s an all-rounder. You’re getting your face, your body and then your tummy taken care of. It’s a nice little pamper package that works for everybody,” Denise said.
Unrestricted and exclusive access to the thermal suite is included in the package, and Denise recommends that guests come an hour before their treatments to enjoy the suite and increase their circulation with the sauna and steam rooms. It’s best to leave the aromatherapy oils on the skin as possible after treatments.
The offer appeals to couples, friends, mums and daughters. It’s a perfect way for groups of ladies to enjoy a day out together, since both treatments are adjusted to suit each person individually.
Once you are finished at the spa, warmed up and completely at ease, you enter the castle for a delightful Afternoon Tea in the lounge or drawing room.
My sister Chloe and I had a fantastic seat by the window overlooking the grounds where visitors and guests enjoyed the winter sunshine.
We loved the rich selection of teas on the menu, from traditional black teas to green, oolong and herbal. I chose the sweet and mild Irish Whiskey Cream tea, while Chloe sipped a Chai Ginger and Orange tea which had lovely autumnal spices.
The Winter Warmer includes a complimentary glass of Prosecco – a welcome sparkling treat. We’ve had afternoon tea in many places before, but little luxuries like having a heated teapot stand and pristine tableware made this experience at Lough Eske Castle even more grand.
Our three tiers of food were all visual and delicious treats. The sandwiches all had a unique bread type and exceptional ingredients. We tucked into brie, walnut and caramelised pear bagel pieces, beef pastrami focaccia, Mediterranean-style chicken brioche and prawns on brown bread.
Moving up through the courses, we had fresh homemade scones before fast-tracking to the dessert plate. Dainty sweets included full-flavoured macarons, chocolate mousse and chocolate creme, a fragrant citrus tart and a French hazelnut financier – a unique and nibbly bake I’ve never had before.
I loved sampling the new creations, with many tea top-ups provided by the ever-attentive staff. As all pastries are created in the castle kitchens, we loved how they are all fresh, fancy and creative.
Sitting in the quiet, elegant and cosy surroundings of the drawing room was a lovely way to unwind, catch up and refuel after a busy week.
If you would like to book your own Winter Warmer package before 8th March 2018, contact Spa Solís on 0749743113 or visit www.solishotels.com/lougheskecastle/spa/donegal-spa-treatments/
Reservations required for both treatments and Afternoon Tea. Subject to availability.