Pampering. Humans have never been lacking in that department. From the time when Cleopatra soaked herself in milk baths, while her servants fanned her and fed her grapes, people have been hooked on the idea of "wellness" (sans servants - usually).

If you enjoy spa treatments and you're into health and wellness, then maybe it's time to get off the yoga mat and head out for a real retreat.

And what better place than the rustic, peaceful land of rolling green hills and the wild sea?

We're talking about Ireland - a leading international spa destination with many wellness retreats in scenic, remote locations. There are even spas in Ireland that offer the full "Cleopatra Bathing Experience." (Is grape-feeding included, I wonder?)

There are several different types of spa breaks to choose from, whether you want to live it up during a city break, escape to the Irish countryside and its breathtaking beauty or simply get healthy.

If being pampered is your goal, one of Ireland's luxury resorts or hotel spas is probably right for you. How's this for a dream day out;  a hot stone massage, followed by a gourmet organic feast under the watchful eye of tranquil, rugged nature.

If you’re more of a Spartan, and are looking for guidance and discipline rather than just rest, you can visit one of Ireland’s detoxification spas and dive into an enhancing health and wellness program at a specialized, holistic retreat.

Add the signature Irish warm welcome into the mix, and you can't get a better spa getaway than this.

The Country Getaway

The peace and quiet of the Irish countryside can do wonders for the mind, body and soul.

Taking advantage of this natural amenity, many of Ireland’s spas have designed their facilities around these dramatic and unique natural landscapes, so you can enjoy the landscape as much as the spa treatments. 

You can cozy up in a luxury spa nestled into the foothills of a mountain, or stretch out beside an open sweep of pristine beach. After a stress-busting massage, a leisurely swim or even an adrenalin-pumping hike through forest glades, the spectacular views that surround you are naturally designed to help you relax.

Destination spas typically fit into this category. Destination spas offer accommodation, and its sole purpose is to offer a comprehensive, full service, wellness spa experience for overnight or day guests.  

The City Break

Longing for some rest and respite, but still need the buzz that comes with being at the heart of things? In just a few hours, you can jet into any one of Ireland’s major cities and treat yourself to blissful treatments from top to toe.

Many of Ireland’s top city hotels have included state-of-the-art spa facilities alongside their luxurious suites, so you don’t have to stray far from your room to enjoy first-class treatments.

Typically there are three kinds of hotel spas:

1.     Full-Service Spa – a hotel that also offers a dedicated full-service spa facility

2.     Bijou Spa – a hotel that has a small but well-appointed dedicated spa, offering beauty and spa treatments and some complementary spa services

3.     Leisure Club Spa – a hotel with a leisure club facility in or adjacent to the hotel with  selected spa treatments.

Once you’re done with your treatment, you’re free to discover the urban cool and phenomenal heritage of Ireland’s cities, with shopping, fine dining and great nightlife.\

The Healthy Break

If you need to seriously unwind from the stresses and strains of everyday life, prepare for rejuvenation in magnificent surroundings.

Boasting a range of customized wellness packages, including sensual massage, mud wraps, yoga and refloxology, fresh air, space and, most importantly, time to yourself, spas and retreats can set you on the road to happiness just by crossing the threshold.

Types of specialized retreats include:

1.     Health Farm – A wide range of life-enhancing health and wellness Spa programs for overnight and day guests.

2.     Thalassotherapy Center – Therapeutic marine-based treatments using heated seawater, seaweed and mud.

3.     Seaweed Bath Center – Marine health center offering a seaweed bath experience.

Some tips before you go:

To find the exact spa you’re looking for, browse through Discover Ireland's spa listings.

  • Always enquire beforehand what your treatment entails and follow the therapist’s advice to get the best results. 

  • Always mention allergies, medical conditions and medication when booking a treatment in advance, as this can sometimes affect the types of treatments you are able to have.

  • When you arrive, ask for a tour of the facilities, just in case you may have missed out on something you might adore.

  • Shower before treatments and give yourself as much time as possible before and after your treatment, so you can relax and enjoy the thermal and wet facilities.

  • Wear loose-fitting clothing or a bathrobe with slippers (if provided) or your own flip-flops.

  • Wear a swimsuit or bikini for balneotherapy, thalassotherapy and hydrotherapy treatments.

  • Remove jewelery and make-up before treatments.

  • Leave your mobile phone behind – you and other spa-goers will appreciate this!

  • When your treatment is finished, allow yourself to relax before leaving the spa as you may feel tired or drained.

  • Drink plenty of water and stick to light, fresh foods for 12 hours to prolong the benefits.

  • Whatever your age, shape or size – the therapist has literally seen it all, so sit back, relax and be confident in yourself.

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