A WOODLAND SANCTUARY IN CORK
Location: The Maryborough Hotel & Spa
So picture this. You are on your dream romantic getaway with your other half. Both of you have spent the morning cocooned in the luxury suite of a Georgian hotel, treated to a romantic couples massage in the hotel’s spa and now you can enjoy a tasty lunch from the hotel’s award-winning restaurant in the comfort of your spa robes. What dream destination am I describing; Paris, Rome? This is exactly what Paul and I experienced when visiting The Maryborough Hotel & Spa. Surrounded by magnificent woodland, just 15 minutes drive outside Cork City, the Maryborough is set in one of the most romantic, secluded settings in Ireland.
Location and Rooms
The Maryborough is one of those natural beauties, the serenity of the 14 acres of woodland plays a big part in the relaxing vibe that you will find at the hotel. That and the exceptional staff who greeted us on arrival with a smile. You really feel like you are a much cherished guest. The Maryborough is a beautifully renovated 18th century old world mansion that has a country-house ambiance with the reception, lobby and lounge rooms in the original house dating from 1715.
This is what the countryside life is truly about. A country-house ambiance, rich interiors and a warm fire in the hotel lobby. We stayed in a Junior Suite on top floor of the Old House. With original exposed wooden beams and surrounding views of the woodland, the rooms were idyllic and had an attractive decor, I could have spent a week here easily. I truly recommend this hotel if you’re looking for a really romantic, or special retreat away with a loved one.
Food and Drink
The perfect couples retreat involves a destination that caters to your mutual interests. Paul and I are both foodies and let me tell you, the food and service in Bellinis Restaurant in The Maryborough is a dream. The hotel’s Bellinis Restaurant has been awarded an 2 AA Rosette for the quality of its cuisine and we can see why; the food is incredibly delicious.
For starters I ordered the Textures of Wild Mushroom dish, whilst Paul tried the colourful Pan Seared Atlantic Scallops (he’s always far more adventurous with food than me!). They were both delicious, presented beautifully and just so vibrant and colourful on the plates. Our waiter was so attentive and quick to help with everything we needed.
Moving onto mains, I moved onto Fillet of Hereford Irish Beef served with White Bean Cassoulet, across the table Paul chose the Pan Seared Cod with Ravioli Stuffed with Swiss Chard. Both meals were so beautiful, cooked wonderfully and arrived promptly.
It’s hard to choose a favorite dish but if I had to – the Peanut Butter and Jelly Baked Alaska for dessert was what my dreams are made of. The menu in Bellinis Restaurant doesn’t overload you with options, but keeps it short, sweet and selective. Only the best will do. The mouth-watering food, intimate feel of the restaurant and our fantastic waiter made it the perfect place for a romantic meal.
The Couples Massage – a new treatment from The Maryborough Spa that allows you and your other half to experience the tranquility of a massage together. Greeted by the sound of free-flowing water which I later discovered was a lovely rain-like feature pouring down outside the glass corridor. Before our couples massage we went for a dip in the jacuzzi in the leisure centre and despite it being a weekend, we had the entire jacuzzi to ourselves.
We’re led into a private room, where the music is peaceful and the towels warm. Before the massage begins, we are asked to choose between six different essential oil blends, relaxing, fitness, restorative, soothing, detoxifying, resistance or energising – designed using slightly different oils to give varying experiences. Scents picked (Unknowingly, we both chose the same one: relaxing); As the kneading begins, I can feel the stress lifting from my entire body. Our couples massage left us feeling stress-free and relieved a few of my niggling back aches and pains. I thought it might be awkward getting a massage with someone else in the room but it was romantic and an amazing experience to share together. We enjoyed a tasty light-lunch in the spa’s dining area while lounging in the comfort of our spa robes.
What to Expect
Everything about the hotel, the spa and the restaurant is completely calming and peaceful. If you need a breather from the chaos of everyday life, this is the place. One thing that stood out to me was the incredible staff at The Maryborough. The staff are out-of-this world, seriously, amazing at what they do. I have never experience the attention-to-detail that they give their guests. They really know how to make your trip extra special.
I would highly recommend The Maryborough to couples in their 20’s and 30’s who appreciate more traditional elements, exceptional food and a relaxing spa experience. And of course those in the older age brackets, as I truly think the beauty and relaxation this hotel offers, extends to the majority of ages. I totally fell for this place!
Thank you so much to The Maryborough for letting us stay, Cork for being so beautiful and to Jean and all of staff at the Maryborough for being the most helpful and wonderful host! We cannot wait to return!