There’s something incredibly grand about staying in a restored country home and Farnham Estate Golf & Spa Resort in County Cavan has all the grandeur of 16th Century country estate combined with the modern and stylish facilities of a Radisson Blu hotel. That, plus 1,300 acres of mature woodlands, picturesque lakes and the most stunning spa – makes Farnham Estate an idyllic escape.
The original country house still forms the main façade of the hotel set in the leafy ancient forests with huge trees dotted around the estate that Lord and Lady Farnham brought back from their travels to exotic climes.
For those into golf the estate boasts an 18-hole golf course with stunning scenery, and a fabulous 40,000 square foot Health Spa for the ultimate in relaxation.
We visited Farnham Estate for an overnight stay, afternoon tea, spa and dinner package.
When we arrived at the hotel the car park is situated a short distance from the hotel itself with a shuttle bus service picking guests up from the car park. My tip for arrival at Farnham Estate is to go to the bus pick up area and press the button to call the bus – then go park your car. It will take a couple of minutes for the bus to arrive and if you’re anything like me – and have just driven 2 and half hours without a stop – you’ll need the loo – press that buzzer first and you’ll be picked up in no time at all. Alternatively you can drive right up to the front door, unpack and the concierge can park the car for you. Make sure bring everything in, as there’s no running out to get stuff out of the boot.
Once inside the hotel we checked in and got settled into our room. We stayed in a standard room that was anything but ‘standard’. The first thing we noticed in the bedroom was that there was a thermostat so you could set the heat in the room. This might seem a bit trivial but having stayed in hotels where the rooms where boiling and then not being able to sleep makes for a hugely disappointing experience, so from the get go we knew this hotel had it sussed. The bathroom was gorgeous with a huge rain shower and a ceramic bath with an interesting little sliding partition, which linked into the bedroom. It might be fun if you’re in the bath and you want to have a chat with your companion in the other room – and it can only be opened from the bathroom side so no peeking through by mischievous pals if you’re on the loo! The huge king-size bed was super comfy with a chic chaise longue at the bottom of the bed, which of course I dumped all my stuff on and completely ruined the sleek look of the room. Girls eh?
Next up was Afternoon Tea. I do love Afternoon Tea and couldn’t wait to sample Farnham’s offering in the beautiful drawing room – one of the refurbished rooms in the original house. The décor in the room is a cool combination of traditional, befitting of the building, and a few quirky touches with funky modern cushions and the high tea stand itself was an Art Deco style curved silver construction – very cool!
Our waiter Brendan was great craic and told us lots of facts about the house and the trees in the estate. He also told us that the Afternoon Tea had just changed from a chocolate heavy selection to the lighter selection we were served. I joked with him that I would have loved the chocolate desserts and he proclaimed “You’re two days late!”. Brilliant personality! Even without the chocolate we certainly weren’t disappointed. I have some food intolerances that were also taken into account, which was “no bother at all”, which always makes you feel instantly relaxed.
The teas served were also fantastic and came with a little 3-minute tea timer and clear instructions not to pour the tea until the bubble and come to the top. So let’s talk food. The Farnham Afternoon Tea includes finger sandwiches including hand carved ham, Wicklow brie & Ballymaloe Relish on soft Brioche, pastrami, rocket & horseradish mayonnaise on sour dough, Boilie goats cheese, cherry tomatoes & pistachio nuts on crusty bread, Irish smoked salmon, cream cheese and poppy seed mini bagel. There are also freshly made, plain and fruit scones with traditional clotted cream and preserve, along with a daily changing selection of patisserie. As I’ve been on a reduced sugar diet for a while I was 100% ready to ditch it and indulge in a major sugar fix (see what I did there?) and boy it was worth it. The jam for the scones was pure joy to my taste buds and the mini Victoria Sponge cakes (I didn’t eat the cream!) were light as air and OMG macaroons. Yum! I then felt like I was little sugar-drunk and declared that I needed to run in the woods with lions and tigers and bears. I restrained myself from such mayhem and went to the spa instead.
I was booked in for a treatment at 5pm so I had a bit of time to explore the pool area and the Water Mint Thermal Suite. The thermal experiences had some interesting treatments including foot spa, which you step from section to section with various temperatures and bubbles as you go. The star of the show is undoubtedly the indoor-outdoor infinity pool with views out across the estate. The concept of bringing the outdoors indoors has been executed with incredible beauty. There were lots of loungers all around the pool and in a relaxation room with floor to ceiling windows looking out into nature.
I must mention the reception area for the Health Spa which houses a fab retail area stocking everything you could possibly think of including things like protein shakes and energy bars which were a welcome purchase for my fitness fanatic hubby who had decided to go for a run around the estate while I was having my treatment. There were also lots of jugs of water filled with cucumber and mint, or slices of lemon, and stacked glasses so you could serve yourself to keep hydrated. My therapist Gayle greeted me at reception and took me through to the treatment room via a light-filled atrium at the center of the treatment area. The pristine white décor and natural light really did make the place feel like heaven!
I had the Soins Velour’s full body treatment, which started off with a full body exfoliation with a salt scrub. I love using salt scrubs at home but it’s usually a couple of stroke and then it’s showered off. To have a salt scrub as a treatment was a revelation! Where you might scrub up and down your leg twice – Gayle just kept working it in with smooth, sweeping strokes until I was polished within an inch of my life! I then popped into the shower and rinsed off the scrub, which in itself was a fabulous experience with the aromas from the gorgeous Yon Ka oils filling the shower. Then it was back up onto the treatment bed for a full body application of nourishing body oil. This part of the treatment was absolutely divine! I didn’t want to get up. Gayle let me gather myself in my own time, get wrapped up in my robe and brought me to the relaxation room to chill out at my leisure.
Gayle asked how I felt and I said “like a fluffy floating cloud!” I think I was still a little sugar drunk from the afternoon tea! Lolz! The relaxation room in the treatment area is a warm cosy space, dimly lit so you could drift off for a little nap if you wanted.
It would actually be lovely to just slip into your comfy bed back in your room and go to sleep after such a relaxing treatment but I had to shake myself and get ready for dinner.
With a restaurant named Botanica we had high expectations of local botanical ingredients and we weren’t disappointed with local, seasonal produce on the menu. The vegetarian options sounded amazing and there were also great Vegan options on the menu too. As I shouldn’t eat dairy the waiter was very accommodating advising on alternations to anything on the menu that might have dairy in the mix. I had a delicious Tofu starter, hake for main and lots of perfectly cooked green veg (with no butter!) and they even made up a dairy free Eton mess for me with just strawberries and meringue – it was scrumptious!
After a great nights craic we had the most fabulous night sleep – no 4am wake up calls from the cat! With all sorts of good intentions to go back to the spa in the morning – we totally slept in and got up at our leisure to go and have breakfast. You can’t beat a hotel buffet breakfast and at Farnham Estate they have gorgeous fresh fruit, pastries and the usual yummy fry! They also had a selection of freshly baked breads that smelt so good. There were plenty of herbal tea options and of course, fresh coffee to wake up sleepy heads.
Back to the room to pack up and check out and then a final walk down to the lake to breathe in the fresh air and connect with nature.
If you love to walk you’ll love Farnham Estate as there are several nature trails of various lengths and most are ‘on the flat’ as my mum would say, so great for older feet and also for baby buggies. Farnham have a little Nature Trail booklet with details on all the walks as well as time estimates and tips. The walk routes vary from about 45 minutes to 2.5 hours. There’s also a guided nature walk if you pre book where you can get all the info on the various trees and wildlife on the estate.
We’ve been to several spa hotels and Farnham Estate received the ultimate compliment from hubby when I asked him what he thought of the stay. He’s a man of few words so when he said ‘We’ll definitely be back!” there’s simply no higher praise!
Overnight stays begin from €134.50 per person sharing midweek and from €165.00 per person at weekends including breakfast, dinner and Afternoon Tea.
For further details and to book treatments, consultations and packages please contact on 049 437 7700 or email email@example.com.