A Last Minute Getaway

Last week, Ian and I decided to make the most of having two days off together, by taking a trip to Wicklow. We were going to go to Cork to see our friends but I knew I would end up just wandering around the shops so we changed our plans. We had passed through Wicklow on the way to Dublin several times. However, neither of us had ever explored the county's offerings before so it was more exciting. 

We started our journey around midday. After an hour or so we had to pull over for some food in a small town in Wexford. Ian had a delicious chicken tikka sandwich and I had a hearty bowl of vegetable soup. We were back on the road by two. It was such a pleasurable drive, as the scenery was spectacular. We stopped off at Avoca on the way to the hotel. Unfortunately we didn't treat ourselves to their famous scones or tea because our tummies were full from lunch. We did however take a stroll around the grounds and down to the stream. It was freezing though and all I could think about was the heat of the hotel that was awaiting us. 

I stumbled across BrookLodge, Wells Spa and Macreddin Village http://www.brooklodge.com while searching for Wicklow hotels and instantly fell in love with it. We usually stay in cities and do the whole city centre/walking distance thing so staying in a gorgeous rural hotel was a real treat and an eye opener. I love shops, museums, zoos, aquariums, access to a selection of restaurants and cafés, so staying in Brooklodge was a huge change for me. Don't get me wrong, I love being in the country too but I just wouldn't think of it as a proper break away. Boy, was I wrong!? The only thing I would change is that we didn't stay two nights (and I didn't take enough photos of the hotel)

I really wish I had photographed the reception area. There were two huge, wooden desks as the reception desks and a big open fire - next time.

The room we stayed in was spotless and beautifully turned out. Everything expected of a good hotel was provided - tea and coffee, iron, television, hairdryer, robes and slippers.

It was brilliant to look out at fields and hills instead of the concrete jungle we normally see when staying in hotels.

The bathroom had a nice big bath with a strong shower. What I really liked about it was tiled floor. It reminded me of being in older people's houses when I was a child. The cold tap water came from the hotel's own Well and was so refreshing.

These products from Damana were so good. Admittedly I took the almost empty bottles home with me, not only to see if I can buy them online but also because I like to smell them. Weird - I know. 

After the unpacking was done, we rang the Wells Spa to check if it was okay  to pop down for a while. There was complimentary use of the Spa area, which was a nice bonus. Now besides the food, this is the one thing I regret not photographing. It was breathtaking - almost magical. There was an outdoor hot tub, indoor and outdoor pool, sauna, aroma steam room, a relaxation room and a Jacuzzi. There were also treatment rooms, flotation rooms and a serail mud chamber which cost a little extra. 

There were four eateries onsite - Strawberry Tree, La Taverna Armento which was unfortunately closed on Tuesday nights, The Orchard Café which was also closed midweek and the Waterside Lounge, where we decided to eat. Ian had one of his best ever steak sandwiches and I had a roasted red pepper and feta tart. The food was mouthwatering delicious. 

Breakfast was served from 7 am until 11 am and again was to die for. There was the usual cereals, pastries and freshly squeezed orange juice and a selection of other organic juices. The hot food was all organic and the portions were generous. 

When we come back in the New Year, we are going to stay two nights, take more photos and not feel uncomfortable doing so, arrive earlier in the day, go for long walks, spend an hour or two in the Wells Spa, eat at Strawberry Tree, the organic restaurant onsite, go horse riding and explore more of this stunning countryside. I am now converted to rural getaways.

After checking out at midday we continued our Wicklow adventure by visiting Glendalough. It has been on my list of places to visit since Ian started driving and five years later I finally got there. We are definitely going to go back in the Spring/Summer but we both agreed that November was a perfect time to visit. The colours of the leaves were spectacular.

Ian having a drink from a small waterfall; he was so thirsty after his full Irish breakfast.

Just look at this little house hidden among the trees overlooking one of the lakes. Imagine living there - amazing!

After Glendalough, we ventured northwards to Powerscourt House and Gardens.

Powerscourt House

View of the the Sugar Loaf and the large fountain

Japanese Gardens

The walled garden

The round tower

To complete our getaway and seeing as we were only 20km from Dublin, my wonderful husband obliged my request; we drove to Dublin Airport to collect my mum who otherwise had to get a coach for three and a half hours to travel home. She was delighted to see us and I loved surprising her. 

So that was a little recap of our night away. Thanks for stopping by.

With Love,

Gem xx

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