Last updated September 2, 2023
Ireland is fast becoming a spa destination to reckon with. Dramatic views. Top-notch service. Highly skilled therapists and divine nourishing treatments. So, without further ado, here are the 5 best luxury spa hotels in Ireland.
The Emerald Island is steeped in culture and home to lush countryside. Some of the most dramatic coastline imaginable is found here. That said, it is hardly surprising that the Emerald Isle houses some of the best luxury spa hotels in Ireland.
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With so many options, it might be difficult to decide which spa hotel you should choose. Without a doubt, wellness escapes to Ireland offer so much for the health-conscious traveler.
Fortunately, you cannot go wrong with any of the choices listed below. Each provides a dedicated focus on wellness while also giving you a taste of Irish culture and heritage. With this in mind, the only real mistake might be not going to Ireland for a wellness trip at all!
Yet, in spite of the beautiful scenery, it is the people that play a role in choosing a luxury spa hotel. Their skills, empathy and care sets these particular places apart.
1. Galgorm Resort — Ballymena, County Antrim
Laidback luxury is the overriding theme at Galgorm Resort in Ballymena on Northern Ireland’s North Antrim Coast.
This 125-room luxury spa hotel is set on 163 acres of lush parkland. The Galgorm Resort offers something for everyone. From deluxe rooms and suites to residences, cottages, cabins… And, the latest addition to the fold: Shepherds Huts.
Shepherds Huts at the Galgorm Resort
The Shepherds Huts nestle in Galgorm Woods. They are close enough to tune into the song of the birds and the sounds of the cascading River Maine. Yet they are far enough away to give that nurturing feeling of total immersion in nature. All in all, these comfortable huts are laidback luxury to the core.
Sheperds Huts are complete with a mini kitchen. The mini kitchen includes a hob, microwave, fridge, etc. There is a bathroom and double bedroom with an impressive sound system. To top it all off, a neat fire-pit and bathtub are located on the terrace. This is where guests love to fully soak in nature’s healing balms.
Though the luxury spa offers a comprehensive treatment menu, it is the Thermal Spa Village that continues to draw the crowds.
The Thermal Spa Village
Featuring salt rooms, steam rooms, numerous cabanas, saunas, private hot tubs and pools dotted throughout the property, the sense of scale is quite remarkable. It’s almost like a mini thermal village of its own.
With various dining options and a fully stocked Gin Library (featuring well over 10 gins), yet again, it’s the people, especially the warm welcome from Maurice and Paul on arrival, that will make your day. And your stay.
2. Hayfield Manor Hotel — Cork
This 88-room manor house and spa, owned and operated by the Scally family, exudes community and charm. A visit here is an experience in itself and is among the top luxury spa hotels in Ireland.
The spa is intimate and beautiful. As for the rest of the hotel, it’s the expert therapists who deliver. The wellness therapists here are all carrying compassion in their hands.
Living by the belief that the most powerful treatment a person can receive is the one that encourages them to slow down and to truly switch off, every treatment brings far more than a typical massage.
The Hayfield Manor works closely with local natural skincare brand GROUND Wellbeing. Each treatment is customized to the client’s needs.
One such example is the CÚRAM & FOLLÁINE (care and wellness) ritual. Using Ground Wellbeing’s powerful aromatherapy blends, this massage-based therapy targets specific areas of the body in most need of care.
Therapists combine hands-on techniques with essential oils to release tension, ease tiredness and aches. This is followed by a glorious scalp and face massage to replenish both mind and body.
3. Cliff House Hotel — Ardmore, County Waterford
Since opening in 2008, guests have gravitated to the Cliff House Hotel which clings to the cliffside in the peaceful enclave of Ardmore for many reasons.
Top of the list at this luxury spa hotel is the perfect setting overlooking the wild Atlantic Ocean. Everywhere you look the glorious sweep of Ardmore Bay stares straight back at you.
And these views permeate throughout. Wherever you are, beauty is all around. The carefully-appointed guest rooms are built over six levels that cascade down to the sea. Guest suites include outdoor baths on the balcony. The edge of the infinity pool. Or, the dreamiest spot of all, the outdoor bathtubs cosseted in mineral-rich warm Irish seaweed.
The Well Spa offers a full menu of treatments. There are massages, hot stones, mud wraps, facials and peat-infused treatments. Peat-infused treatments utilize organic peat. This type of moss reduces inflammation and stimulates blood flow in the body.
The indoor Cote d’Azur-inspired infinity pool is worth a visit. However, the steamy outdoor baths are even better. Especially on icy cold days after a wild Atlantic dip in the rockpool.
The hotel’s commitment to Irish art reflects the interior design. Palettes of marine, blue, aubergine, fuschia and sea-green succinctly capture the essence of the property. The cozy, wool throw blankets on the bed represent Irish textiles. The wingtip armchairs feature the finest Donegal tweed. Both of these bedroom features combined give guests an idea of luxurious Irish living.
Food at the Cliff House Hotel
The food at The Cliff’s multi-award-winning House Restaurant is local and delicious to the core.
Note: The Cliff’s sister luxury spa hotel property—Cliff at Lyons—is less than one hour from Dublin. It’s also worth a visit!
4. The Europe Hotel — Killarney, County Kerry
The Europe Hotel sits on the soothing shores of Killarney’s Lough Leane in County Kerry.
As if the coastline isn’t scenic enough, the snow-capped McGillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range frames the property. And the view of Carratohill, the country’s highest peak, is in full view.
The Spa at the Europe Hotel
The ESPA at The Europe Hotel is well-known for its state-of-the-art facilities and expertly-delivered treatments. ESPA contains 16 treatment rooms, 2 express beauty suites and a private spa suite. There are also manicure and pedicure thrones that are so comfy, you might catch yourself falling asleep.
The thermal suites, outdoor vitality pools, shimmering steam rooms, glass-fronted saunas, ice fountains and heated marble loungers are more than just amenities. They make the Europe Hotel a luxury wellness destination. This is a place we often dream about.
You can spend the day in a bathrobe and drift between hot tubs. The ESPA’s skin-nourishing therapies are perfect before snoozing in cozy relaxation pods. Enjoy the pampering as you watch the dreamy sun sink deeper into the mountains.
A setting that is equally breathtaking on cold frosty days as on warm, bright summer afternoons. Places like these are for busy minds to find a little ease.
The ESPA’s menu of therapies and products is the ideal compliment to days like these. Facials, hot-stone massages, scrubs, massages are all expertly delivered with the same warmth that the country is renowned for.
The guest rooms are spacious and comfortable. Some with enviable views and access points. There’s also a range of restaurant options catering to various taste buds.
5. The Merrion Hotel — Dublin
Exuding period charm, award-winning cuisine, exemplary service and one of the best contemporary Irish art collections, the Merrion Hotel continues to rate among the top luxury spa hotels in the world.
Created from four magnificent Grade I Listed Georgian townhouses with a contemporary Garden Wing, The Merrion is walking distance to many of the city’s cultural, shopping and entertainment attractions, including the National Gallery and National Museum and legendary St. Stephen’s Green at the top end of Grafton Street.
Tucked away on the lower ground floor, the soft lighting and neutral color palette of the cozy revamped Spa & Health Club offers a blissful escape from city life. With six treatment rooms, a pool, sauna, steam room, gym and salon (by hairdresser Ciaran Nevin), it is worth factoring in time to avail of these facilities.
Alongside leading British skincare brand ESPA, the spa introduced results-driven Biologique Recherche from France for its specialized rejuvenating, regenerating and lifting facials and combined with the expert hands of the immensely-talented Adriana, your skin will thank you for its new-found healthy radiance.
Be sure to cozy up in an urban Aran blanket in the warm art-filled relaxation room after your treatment.
Wild Card: Dzogchen Beara Buddhist Meditation Centre —West Cork
According to the ancient art of geomancy, the land at the jagged edge where Europe meets the Atlantic on which Dzogchen Beara Buddhist Meditation Centre is built is a “power place” of renewal and healing.
Celebrated Tibetan masters and almost everyone else who visits these simple white buildings on the edge of a clifftop in Ireland’s southern Beara peninsula, comment on the atmosphere of profound peace here and the people.
Dzogchen Beara Buddhist Meditation Centre offers twice daily drop-in guided meditations (both in person and online) along with a growing menu of on-site retreats and in this environment of deep spiritual ritual, compassion comes easily.
Visiting guests can stay either in the hostel or one of the three fully-equipped cottages overlooking the wild Atlantic, from where they can hike or just curl up by a wood-burning stove, watching the ever-changing light on the waves below.
The Spiritual Care Centre offers supported stays for those navigating challenging times and the café, perched on the clifftop, serves some of the best coffee, scones and homemade cakes in the country— and is open to all.
While many of those who travel up the long narrow, windy entrance, flanked by delicate silk prayer flags decorated with Tibetan blessings, may not be interested in Buddhism, something guides them here and they invariably leave feeling more at peace with themselves and the world.
Luxury Spa Inspo: Hot Tubs and Seaweed Soaks
As in many other parts of the world, sea swimming is big business in Ireland, with one of the key draws being the invigorating wild Atlantic Ocean along the western coastline.
Yes, it is cold (even during the summer months), but it never fails to deliver a powerful boost for both mind and body, most especially on those freezing wild winter days. From the instant energy hit and mental clarity, to reducing inflammation and ensuring a healthy dose of mood-boosting feel-good hormones, sea swimming Irish-style is a must.
And now with mobile saunas and seaweed-filled whiskey barrels and seaweed baths dotted sporadically along the shorelines, even the most delicate souls can soak up the post-plunge mineral goodness released by the seaweed to further cleanse the mind while relishing in those glorious untamed views.
Vacayou’s travel concierge team can help you discover, book and plan your next luxury spa hotel in Ireland. We are here to help create a healthier global community through wellness and active travel.