Fota Island Resort and Spa Weekend Break Review

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Fota Island Resort Spa 1

Relaxation Room at Fota Island Resort and Spa

No matter how much you enjoy it, we all know wedding planning can sometimes be stressful. (Seating plan, anyone?!) So we can’t blame you for wanting to get away from it all for just one weekend. Saving for a wedding, purse strings might be too tight for a trip abroad, but there are a few hidden gems dotted around Ireland that are just the ticket for a weekend of rest, relaxation and recuperation. We spent a weekend at the five star Fota Island Resort and Spa in Cork – here’s how we got on.

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Fota Island

It’s true what they say – you never appreciate what’s on your own doorstep! Before my trip to Fota Island Resort and Spa, I’m ashamed to say I had never been to Cork before, but I was assured by friends that between the scenery and the friendly locals, I was going to love it. The hotel itself is situated 15 minutes from the thriving city of Cork and with a concierge service available from Kent train station to the hotel, it’s easy to leave the car at home and allow your holiday to begin as soon as you set foot on the train.

Amber Lounge Fota Island Resort

The Amber Lounge

When we arrived, the first thing that struck me about Fota Island Resort was the sheer opulence of our surroundings. Every tiny detail was rich, polished and yet still had a certain homely comfort to it. After checking into our room, with the wind howling outside and rain pounding the windows, (we managed to catch one of the worst weekends of the year, weather-wise), we were glad to settle in beside the fire in the Amber Lounge for a bite to eat and the first few drinks of the weekend. It also gave us a chance to thumb through the various leaflets we picked up at reception for local tourist activities, the Butter Museum in Cork city, a round of golf at the hotel’s 18 hole championship golf course and Fota Wildlife Park, which is right on the hotel’s doorstep, being the top of the list of things to do.

 

Magnolia Suite Fota Island Resort and Spa

The Magnolia (Bridal) Suite at Fota Island Resort

After, ahem, a few Fota Coladas, (Fota Island Resort’s take on the Pina Colada), we headed back to our room – the Oak Suite. To say it was the size of a house would only be a slight exaggeration. As one of the most luxurious rooms in the hotel, it’s located on the top floor, with huge separate living, sleeping and bathroom quarters. As the weather outside worsened we began to think it mightn’t be such a bad thing to be stuck inside for the entire weekend.  The only downside was that the rain didn’t allow us to enjoy the room’s adjoining balcony, which overlooked the surrounding greenery.

 

Fota Restaurant

Fota Restaurant

The next morning, we resisted the urge to order room service and headed downstairs for breakfast. The buffet included everything from smoked salmon to cheeses and grapefruit, as well as the usual full Irish and cereal items. The real highlight for me was the homemade potato bread and eggs Benedict that you wouldn’t usually see on a hotel’s breakfast menu. I can easily say that it was the best hotel breakfast I’ve ever encountered, in terms of both choice and quality.

 

Fota Island Hotel Pool

Fota Island Hotel Pool

After taking our time to read the papers over another pot of tea, we decided we’d make the spa our next stop. As well as the expected heated pool, steam room and sauna, the hotel boasts a state of the art hydrotherapy suite; a pool with nine different areas that are each designed to massage different parts of the body, to relieve stress and injuries. The suite is furnished with huge windows that look out onto the surrounding woods, so it really is a very relaxing atmosphere. The Munster Rugby team were training in the grounds of the resort while were were there, but unfortunately we didn’t bump into any of them in the pool. (What?! A girl can dream!)

 

Fota Island Resort Hydrotherapy including walking river

Fota Island Resort Hydrotherapy Suite

Taking your time to experience each of the facilities, you could easily spend a full morning in the spa, which is exactly what we did. By the time we got to the relaxation room with its heated recliners and complimentary magazines, I could have easily drifted off for another nap. Afterwards, with a weather warning in place, we decided it was best to take a rain check on the tourist activities and spend the afternoon curled up with a film instead.

 

Food at Fota Island Resort

Food at Fota Island Resort

If I was to recommend Fota Island Resort to anybody, it would be to my foodie friends, as fine dining really is a top priority for the hotel, with romantic dinners served to the atmospheric sounds of a live piano player. We ate in the Fota restaurant later that evening and were impressed by the balance struck between presentation and portion size. Nobody was going to bed hungry here!

What impressed me most about Fota Island Resort was the fact that even though I knew I was in such large surroundings, it still had a really intimate atmosphere and although we couldn’t leave the hotel due to the weather, that didn’t impact on our weekend at all. In fact, it made us step back and really relax. Overall, I would definitely recommend a break at Fota Island Resort to stressed-out brides-to-be to be, as a way to chill out and reconnect with their other half.

Have you stayed at Fota Island Resort recently? Maybe you’re planning to have your wedding there? Let us know with a comment below!

For more information on Fota Island resort and Spa, visit www.fotaisland.ie

 

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