The crowning achievement of the $100 million (Cdn) refurbishment of Ashford Castle by The Red Carnation Hotel Collection was the addition of a world-class wellness facility, complete with a state-of-the-art spa, health centre and swimming pool that sits under a glassed bronze conservatory overlooking stunning Lough Coirrib.
Thanks to the luxury upgrades, Ashford Castle has been transformed into a “pleasure palace.”
Just arriving in the fairytale woodland setting, where the 13th-century castle is located, instantly puts guests in a relaxed frame of mind. But the spa staff, under the direction of congenial manager Michelle Ryan, completes the transformation to the world of ultimate bliss with treatments and products specifically designed to ease tension.
Ryan, a passionate advocate of wellness, has assembled a superb team of therapists who conduct lengthy interviews with guests before treatments begin.
The spa features five treatment rooms — including a couple’s room — a Hammam and a relaxation suite where guests look out on the gorgeous County Mayo countryside and Ireland’s second largest lake.
Ryan is most proud of the products used in the spa, especially the organic Irish brand Voya, which hails from nearby County Sligo.
“Voya is a family-run company (the Waltons) which uses seaweed in most of their products and the effects on the skin are quite amazing,” says Ryan.
The spa also features other highly recognized international brands like Elemis — “it was created by an Irish woman,” Ryan proudly points out — and B Africa, a brand that until now was exclusive to Red Carnation’s African properties.
One of the spa’s most popular treatments is the Voya seaweed hot stone massage, where warmed Atlantic leaves of seaweed are layered onto the body and warmed stones placed on top to enhance the penetration of their goodness. The results are amazing, as is the whole wellness experience at Ashford Castle.
By Marc Atchison, Editor-in-Chief,