Ok, so I know West Cork is one of my favourite places in the world, but it’s not without good reason. This weekend I stayed in the beautiful Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa and was spoiled rotten.
We arrived late on Friday night after an after-work drive from Dublin, which takes about 3.5 hours in normal traffic. I’ve never seen the stars shine so brightly in the sky. It was freezing cold outside so the log fire in the reception area was like a big hug. The bedrooms were very nice, cosy, decorated in the maritime theme of the hotel and the bed was so comfortable it almost felt like a water bed, in a good way 🙂 Sleep came quickly after a long drive and a long week.
Breakfast was delicious. Fresh fruits, cereals, pastries, home-made bircher muesli and freshly baked breads. The hot buffet has plenty to choose from, scrambled eggs, bacon, Clonakilty black pudding (of course), tomato, hash browns and mushrooms. In addition there is a full menu offering everything from porridge and pancakes, to poached eggs & fresh fish.
As the name of the hotel suggests, there’s a spa. An amazing spa. I had a seawater massage bath. The seawater is pumped directly from the ocean, heated to 32 degrees and added to the bath. Top to toe massage jets gently warm the muscles to improve circulation and re-energise the body. Very relaxing, it opens the pores and allows the body to take in the nutrients. I visited the seawater therapy pool before the bath and relaxed in the lounge afterwards, which has amazing views of the beach and all the usual treats.
After a brisk walk on the beach in the rain followed by lunch (and possibly the best seafood chowder I’ve ever had) we made a 45 minute trip to a Lough Hyne, a saltwater lake in West Cork , which was Europe’s first marine nature reserve, for some night time kayaking.
This was amazing. After a brief overview on how to kayak, we went in pairs in double kayaks, lead by the lovely Declan from Atlantic Sea Kayaking, a West Cork company who runs this, and many other fantastic tours.
It was almost spiritual out on the lake. The water was calm, the night chorus of the birds settling down for the night, and then…silence. Pure tranquility. With Venus shining brightly. Everyone should try it.
On arrival back at land we were greeted by blazing fires in old washing machine drums, fairy lights around a gazebo and hot chocolate served with home-made banana and seaweed bread. Heaven.
Dinner was served in the hotel’s award-winning Gulf Stream restaurant which has amazing views of the beach. A tasting menu of their finest dishes was served. Sea Bass, Beef, Monkfish and Hake, Scallops, Mussels, Chicken..all the ingredients are locally sourced and are of the highest quality and cooked to the highest standard. There’s an extensive wine list and the service was first class.
Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa has it all. A superb location on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, surrounded by magnificent beaches and scenery. There’s something for everyone. For those who love activities there’s plenty. Surfing, Kayaking, Horse Riding, Walking, the list is endless. For those who just want to take it easy, read a book and relax, that’s perfectly fine too.